Descent Into Darkness
Preface: This story has strong violence in it and death, please do not read if you are offended by such things. I have rated this story 17 and over only.

Chapter One: The Dark Mist and the Beginnings of Destiny

Gaius winced in pain as he saw himself enveloped in an ominous black mist. For each second spent in the mist, Gaius could feel the points of a thousand knives, digging into him and cutting at his skin from every direction. He struggled to break free, but was unable to reach beyond the black veil. Each attempt to break free seemingly brought the mist tighter around him, now entering his mouth and nose. Gaius started to gag and he found it hard to breathe, as the mist was traveling down into his lungs and throughout every fiber of his body. His eyes started to lose focus, and as he was about to fall to the ground, a shadowy claw-like hand shot out in front of him, emanating from the mist. The hand wrapped its pointed fingers around Gaius' neck, lifting him up and tightening its grip on his throat and trachea. Gaius tried to scream, but the hand kept squeezing tighter and tighter until his life flashed before his eyes...

Gaius came from Pendragon, a small town in the Southern region of the Kanto region, a little ways Northwest of Pallet Town and Southwest of Viridian City. Pendragon wasn't known for much, except for an odd weather phenomena that not even the top meteorologists could explain; nine months out of the year, dense cloud cover hovered over the quaint village, obscuring the sun twenty-four hours a day. For hundreds of years crops and plants were a luxury that could only be grown for a fourth of the year.

That was, until eighty years ago, Charles, Gaius' grandfather, developed the town's first indoor greenhouse; it allowed crops to be grown year round, regardless of the fog or even snow. Charles's immense profits from both selling crops and constructing indoor greenhouses for other farmers provided him with enough money to buy a large tract of land on a hill overlooking the village. He then built a large family mansion and greenhouse which dwarfs all buildings in the small hamlet. His immense wealth brought influence and he and his family quickly rose to the top of the town elite, the family frequently throwing lavish buffets and parties open only to those they deemed worthy. Little had changed in the past eighty years for the family Britannia, as Charles' son Magnus carried on his father's passion for the extravagant, and tried to pass the same predilections to his own son, Gaius.

From the time Gaius was born, he never wanted for anything as his family’s wealth ensured he had everything he ever wanted. Although he always had whatever he needed, Gaius never felt any challenge out of life. When he was a child, the young boy idolized his parents and tried to spend every waking moment with them that he could. However, due to his father’s business and extravagant nightlife, and his mother’s need to accompany him in these ventures, he was frequently left alone or with babysitters.

Gaius never knew much about his mother, other than that she was a Pokemon trainer. Marianne tried to fill his life with Pokemon as much as possible, from children’s movies to basic lessons and explanations on how Pokemon lived. Although Gaius never took much of the information to heart, he still enjoyed the experience of spending time with his mother, whenever she was not entertaining guests with her husband.

Hoping to ferment his interest in Pokemon and expand his knowledge, she insisted, to her husband’s displeasure, that their son be sent to a Pokemon themed pre-school. After searching for several weeks, she found the school Poke-kids, which offered itself as a friendly and playful learning environment for young children who had an interest in Pokemon. Marianne hoped that Poke-kids would allow her son to experience the same kind of love and enjoyment that she felt with Pokemon since she was a child.

Gaius quite enjoyed his time at Poke-kids. Each day was spent covering a basic concept of Pokemon life, moves, or type differences, with each lesson accompanied by a small, three question quiz at the end of the day. During recess, which lasted for about an hour or so every day, consisted of letting the students play with various forms of Pokemon with teacher supervision. Most of the available Pokemon consisted of baby forms of popular Pokemon, such as Pichu, Cleffa, Smoochum, and Magby. Recess was the highlight of young Gaius’ day, as he loved interacting with all types of Pokemon that he was learning about, as well as telling them to practice moves on target dolls which were sometimes used in lessons.

One Pokemon soon stood out during the young boy’s time at Poke-kids, a small Pokemon that arrived a few weeks after Gaius started classes there. The Pokemon had two large, cone shaped ears on top of its head; two large eyes, a light blue upper body with a tan mouth, and tan patch on her stomach. Gaius could also see small points or spikes at the bottom of its body, and similar looking points at the end of its hands. The Pokemon also had small tan feet with white nails sticking out from the front, which were only visible when the Pokemon walked across the playground. Gaius learned that the Pokemon’s name was Munchlax, and played with that Pokemon every day that he could.

Munchlax also seemed to enjoy the young boy’s attention, as most of the other students were interested in playing with other Pokemon, leaving the Normal-type Pokemon feeling rejected when not being played with by Gaius. The large Pokemon began to eventually seek the young boy out during playtime, the act of which caused Gaius’ bond with the Pokemon to deepen. As the months went by, another young boy began to take an interest in the portly Pokemon.

The boy’s name was Joey, and, at first impression, he was kind and friendly. Joey was slightly shorter than Gaius, with light blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. The boy already owned a Pokemon, which was uncommon for someone as young as the preschool student. Joey’s parents had given him a Rattata that they had found in the backyard. The rat Pokemon continuously ravaged the family’s garbage and disrupted their outdoor activities, so Joey’s father, Lawrence, decided to capture the Pokemon so it could be controlled. Once captured, Lawrence had no use for the Normal-type Pokemon, so he decided to give it to his son so Joey could learn how to take care of Pokemon on a firsthand basis even while at home.

Joey and Gaius regularly played with Munchlax, and each other, during recess. They become fast friends over a short amount of time, with Joey being Gaius’ first real friend. Gaius soon made another friend at Poke-kids, a taller, darker-skinned boy named Brandon. Brandon came from the Hoenn region, his parents having recently moved to Kanto because of some kind of internal problems where they were living. Brandon never spoke much about his homeland to his friends, or those in Kanto in general, only saying that there was a conflict occurring there which made his family flee.

Brandon also happened to have a Pokemon that he owned, however his Pokemon was much more than a common Normal-type Pokemon like Joey’s Rattata. The dark-skinned boy had a Torchic, which he had gotten from that region’s professor before he was forced to flee. Normally, he wouldn’t have received a Pokemon until the age of ten, however, the professor granted a special exception to Brandon as he knew that the young boy’s family would be leaving for Kanto soon. Even though he had a Pokemon to call his own, Brandon’s parents were the official owners of Torchic, and would remain so until Brandon’s tenth birthday.

The trio continued to have fun together as their first year at Poke-kids dragged on. Each day brought them something new to do, or something else to learn about Pokemon. As Gaius spent more and more time with Munchlax during recess, he began to dream of one day being able to capture a Munchlax of his own. He hoped that he would be able to even raise one into a big Snorlax, as the young boy thought that the large Pokemon would be a fun playmate just like Munchlax was.

A tragedy struck in Gaius' life when he was just four years old, near the end of his first year at Poke-kids. His mother, Marianne, had been driving the family car back from a long distance drive to Celadon City, when suddenly the car spun out of control and hit a guard rail. Magnus was able to pull his son from the car, but, Marianne was not as fortunate, and she died seconds after impact.

After Marianne’s death, Magnus enrolled Gaius in the most elite elementary school in the region, Tomorrow’s Leaders. He hoped that the school’s upper-class atmosphere would instill in Gaius the family's love for the extravagant, as well as make him move past the horrific car accident. The school was reserved for only heirs, heiresses or the children of other famous celebrities, such as Pokemon professors or actors. While in school, Gaius excelled at all of his classes, attaining the highest marks out of his class every year. He was even advanced a grade ahead due to his high I.Q. and near perfect test scores. Despite all of his academic success, Gaius felt that there was a piece missing from his life, and he sought to discover what it was.

Several years passed from his mother’s death and Gaius’ life still felt as empty as it had the day after her death. His search to find his place in the World seemed to be in vain, as his time at Tomorrow’s Leaders seemed wasted. Instead of truly challenging himself or doing anything of note, he merely went through the motions of the school, completing assignments and attaining high marks in all of his classes. During his free time at home, the young boy tried to do his best to make his father happy, as he partially blamed himself for his mother’s death. Magnus seemed not to notice much of the boy’s efforts, as he delved into the social nightlife like never before in an attempt to drown his own sorrow over his wife’s passing. As time went on, Magnus began to ignore his son completely, instead tasking various servants to interact with Gaius in order to limit his interaction with his own son, as well as trying to find ways to keep his son out of the home as much as possible.

Gaius discovered his life's missing piece during the first year of his schooling at Business Tech, a private live-in high school for the children of wealthy business owners who sought to train their children to follow in their footsteps. Magnus had decided to send Gaius to Business Tech as soon as he was able, allowing himself to effectively completely rid himself of the responsibilities of fatherhood. Gaius, though quite hurt at his father’s decision, decided that the only possible option would be for him to excel as his father wished him to. The young man began an intense school study regime, which allowed for very little free time. While his schoolwork allowed him to learn and retain a wide amount of information, he shunned off the community of his peers, rejecting those who would be friends at his school.

Although he was proficient at math, Gaius still had no interest in his family's fame or fortune. Instead he wanted to make a name for himself, believing that attaining success would be the only way for him to attain his father’s love and respect. On his fourteenth birthday, his father sent him two gifts, an expensive digital watch and a state of the art smartphone. Rather than simply enjoy his gifts for what they were, Gaius decided to put his brain to the test to challenge himself.

Business Tech had a sophisticated computer network that restricted anything that the school staff deemed "unnecessary for education". Such restrictions included video games, movies, and especially Pokemon. Gaius of course knew what Pokemon were, as he had interacted with them in his childhood, and had seen maids or butlers use them at his estate from time to time. However, his father felt Pokemon only led to lack of discipline and folly, and forbid Gaius from becoming a trainer or even playing with Pokemon after Marianne died.

Gaius took apart his digital watch and cell phone and jury-rigged the microchip from the watch into the cell phone to increase the phone's processing power. He then designed a bypass of the school's computer network using the secondary chip to create a wireless hotspot even though his phone lacked the capability. Using his enhanced phone, he was able to freely search online without any filters whatsoever.

At first, Gaius looked at the latest video games, which he knew he would never have time to play, and then he looked at all of the movies and TV shows coming out that he would never have time to watch. Finally, he decided to search for the one thing he had not been able to experience firsthand since his childhood: Pokemon.

The screen quickly filled with dozens of pictures, professor's reports, and links to buy official breeders handbooks, battling guides, and encyclopedias on each Pokemon in the Kanto region. Gaius' eyes grew as he read more and more. Evolution guides, Pokemon league rules, where to locate specific Pokemon; Gaius immersed himself in it all and kept reading.

Gaius then logged onto Poketube, the premier video streaming and uploading site for all things Pokemon, and typed in "Famous Pokemon Battles". The top search result was listed as "Latest Championship Challenge", and the video was posted a month ago. Intrigued to see the latest strategies, Gaius clicked the link.

The screen then filled with a video, which Gaius watched intently.

The two trainers were located in a large open room, with slate or stone flooring, and a large statue of an orange dragon with blue wings situated behind the Champion. The challenger was a young girl, about the same age as Gaius, wearing a pink blouse, grey skirt, and a small straw hat on her head. The champion, clad in a black cloak and blue shirt, sporting red hair and a fair complexion, made the first move.

"Go, Dragonite!" He shouted, grabbing a Pokeball from inside his cloak and throwing it onto the battlefield. A large orange Pokemon with a yellow stomach appeared from the Pokeball. The Pokemon also had small blue wings affixed to its back, a tail protruding from its back, and two odd antennas poking out from its forehead. The trainer then waited for his opponent's Pokemon.

She looked at the large Pokemon in front of her, and contemplated her move. "You're the first Pokemon I caught, so I might as well send you first!" She yelled, beaming with energy. She reached to her belt, pulled off a Pokeball and threw it. "Go Munchie!" She yelled, as the ball hit the floor and a small blue Pokemon appeared.

Her Pokemon had a large, portly blue body with a tan circle in the middle, two large, oval shaped eyes, and a wide gaping mouth. Gaius could also see two round, ears on its head, and short stubby arms on each side of the Pokemon’s body.

Gaius’ mind quickly flashed back to his time in preschool, where he frequently played with Munchlax. The young man smiled as he watched the normal type Pokemon enter the battle. ‘I’ve never actually seen a Munchlax in battle, I wonder what they’re capable of.’ His eyes became glued to the screen, watching intently as the challenger began to speak.

"Munchie, Thunderbolt the Dragonite!" The young girl exclaimed. "Then follow up with an Ice Beam."

Gaius watched the video as the blue Pokemon ran across the field at a surprising speed for his large size, keeping a distance from the large flying Pokemon. Munchlax then closed its eyes, and a bolt of electricity shot out from his body towards his opponent, who was circling the field.

The trainer cloaked in red finally gave his first command "Dragonite, dodge the electricity and counter with a Hyper Beam!"

The large orange Pokemon quickly flew upward with a flap of its wings, completely avoiding the electric shock of the Thunderbolt attack. He then landed in front of his trainer, and small orange and yellow particles gathered in front of the dragon Pokemon's mouth.

"Oh no, Munchie, cancel the Ice Beam, and aim a Solar Beam right at Dragonite's face! If we time it right we could cancel out or overpower his Hyper Beam!" The girl ordered her Pokemon, as Gaius could see her starting to feel the stress of facing such a strong opponent.

"Munch......" The large blue Pokemon muttered, as green particles started to form in front of its mouth.

Both Pokemon launched their attacks at the same moment, both powerful beams of green and yellow met in the middle of the arena, and a large explosion radiated from where the attacks struck each other. The camera that had been recording the battle had apparently been knocked over by the force of the blast, as the picture in the video turned 180 degrees, and then faded to black.

Gaius was surprised that Pokemon could be that powerful, especially with how the smaller Munchlax was able to go toe-to-toe with a Pokemon three times his size. "If I ever have Pokemon have strong as those two, I might finally gain my father’s respect and admiration," Gaius thought aloud, "if I ever am able to go out on a journey of my own, I'll be sure to catch Pokemon as strong as Munchlax and Dragonite, no matter what it takes." Gaius sighed, pondering this possible future, and the wish that one day he could control Pokemon as powerful as those that he had just witnessed.

For several weeks Gaius kept on studying and reading everything he could about Pokemon near his hometown, from how to raise them to be strong, to even the ancient legends of legendary Pokemon. His new field of study eclipsed his schoolwork, and after a month of learning and contemplation of what he wanted out of life, he made an important decision. With a new purpose for his life and new-found determination, Gaius purposely flunked out of Business Tech so he could be sent home where he hoped new possibilities awaited him beyond the school's doors.

Once home, Gaius was verbally lashed by his father Magnus, who spared no limit to show his disappointment in his son. Gaius was stripped of most of his personal belongings by his father, and was forced every day to clean, from top to bottom, four large rooms in the mansion as punishment for his academic failings. Despite the physical and emotional abuse, Gaius continued to hope and dream that one day he would be able to get a Pokemon of his own, and that one day he would be able to make his own path in the world, and finally leave the shadow of his father and his family name behind.

Gaius knew that if he ever wanted to amount to anything with his life, he would have to forsake that which had been handed to him since his birth. He pledged to himself that he would abandon his father’s gluttonous ways of overindulgence and partying.

For months Gaius saved whatever minute amount of funds his father saw fit to give him, and worked any odd jobs he could find to earn him money: from waiter to bike messenger to pizza deliverer. All of the various jobs were an extreme annoyance to Gaius, as he would have rather been out of his small, quaint town and on his own journey. After three months of working, he was able to afford a Pokeball from the Poke-mart. Once he returned home, he decided the bright red and white coloring did not suit his style. He worked for another month to save up enough money to buy metallic paint supplies, and painted his Poke-ball completely black. Gaius looked down at the pitch-black ball, happy in the knowledge that the item represented the first step of him achieving his dream.
Even after he possessed his first Pokeball, Gaius had yet to obtain a Pokemon of his own. He looked high and low for a Pokemon to capture, surveying a large grass-covered field on the edge of town, searching for any signs of movement.

He saw several Rattata and a flock of Pidgey, but without any way to weaken them, they all escaped his ball. He needed his father's signature to obtain a trainer's license and a starter Pokemon from Professor Oak, and he knew his father would never consent to his dream. Faced with this knowledge, he started to grow disheartened, until what started as a regular July morning ended up changing Gaius' life forever.

On July Fourth, Gaius awoke dripped in sweat. He had just experienced the most horrific nightmare of his life, in which he was surrounded by a dark veil which was slowly killing him.

"Wow…what was that?" Gaius thought to himself "I've never had a dream like that…it was so didn't think I would ever get out. Thank god it was only a dream." As soon as Gaius rose from his bed and his eyes focused on the world around him, he could tell something wrong was. He quickly scanned his surroundings to see if he could determine what was amiss. His room was all in place, all four large bookcases against the far wall, books seemingly undisturbed, all of his school accolades and awards were still neatly hung or placed on his dresser.

"What could be different," he thought as he scrutinized the room in more detail. Despite the appearance of normality, Gaius still had an odd sense in the back of his mind, that something was off, and that something was very, very wrong. Finally, Gaius sniffed the air, and his nose flooded with what could only be the scent of a burning fire.

"What's that smell?" He pondered. "It smells like a bonfire, but we only have those at night during the summer months, there's no reason for father to have one at ten in the morning." Gaius quickly ran a comb through his long black hair, threw on his black t-shirt and grey jeans from the previous night and walked across his large, grey-colored room to reach the doorway. As his hand touched the doorknob, his hand felt intense heat, as if the knob on the other side was engulfed in flames. Incredibly startled by this sensation, he jumped back several feet, and quickly examined his hand. At first glance his hand had no visible damage, and he felt no damage or breaks in his skin after running his fingers against his palm.

"The doorknob felt as hot as a stove or iron," he exclaimed aloud. "There is no way my hand could touch a surface that hot and not be severely burned. Something strange is going on, and it's going on right on the other side of that door!" Determined to figure out what could cause such an oddity, Gaius gripped the hot doorknob and turned it, slowly opening the door and revealing what was on the other side.

As Gaius peered through the open doorway, he could see the master living room was in flames. Streaks of fire rippled across nearly every inch of the walls and ceiling, covering his father's coveted artwork and tapestries and surrounding the priceless chandelier that hung on the raised ceiling. Upon further inspection, none of the objects seemed affected by the blaze. The paintings were perfectly intact, the wallpaper undamaged, and the chandelier still precisely attached above the room. Curious, Gaius reached out and touched the nearest wall to examine the nature of the fire. While hot to the touch as he expected, his hand remained undamaged, just as it did when he grabbed the door knob.

"Something must be causing this...some delusion or trickery or something…there is no way this is a natural phenomenon," Gaius thought aloud, "I must find my father, he should be able to deduce the cause, or at the very least put a stop to this madness." The young man quickly ran across the living room and opened a door that led to his father's hallway, his study and his adjacent bedroom. Gaius tested the fire as he entered the hallway and noticed no change in its behavior or appearance. He quickly went to the study, and looked around. The room was also aflame, with various papers and ledgers strewn about the floor. A quick check of adjoining bathroom proved fruitless, as Magnus was not there, either. Gaius then went down the hallway to his father's bedroom, the only other likely place his father would be.

Gaius opened the bedroom door, quickly looked around the room. All of his father's valuable trinkets and jewels were out of place, and the expensive Arcanine fur rug looked matted and stained black, as if someone had spilled a beverage. A seemingly empty bottle of "Indigo Pride" wine was tipped over at the edge of the rug. He finally could see his father knelt down on next to his bed, trying to stuff wads of cash and other valuables into a small suitcase. Gaius again searched the room, trying to see if he could deduce the cause of these events, but could find no cause. At hearing the door open, his father closed the suitcase and turned to look at his son.

"I…oh Gaius," Magnus exclaimed, "our home must be haunted by vengeful demons who are jealous of our wealth and success. We must flee and have an exorcist or some other mystical figure drive these monsters away!" Magnus wailed, still clutching the stuffed suitcase and holding it against his chest. "I've gotten what I can, and I was going to wake you as soon as I was done here," Magnus explained, "I'm so glad you were able to wake up and help me. Here, take this suitcase and I can try to load another one before we leave. I want to get the Johto china from the main dining room if we get the chance. You know I paid a small fortune for that stuff, it's coated in real Mt. Silver silver, and that stuff doesn't come cheap."

Gaius looked at his father, he slowly hung his head and looked towards the ground. A minute passed before he began to speak. "You've only cared about the money, haven't you? Success, wealth, fame, that's all you ever cared about, right?" His voice slowly deepened, and he opened his eyes and looked at his father.

Magnus looked up, hoping to explain himself to his son, but what he saw shocked him more than any fire ever could. Gaius' eyes were pitch-black, instead of their normal bluish-grey. There were no pupils or corneas, just simply a pure black coloring that covered his entire eye. "Son, you know I love you. You're everything to me, and I want you to be successful so that you can lead the family business when I retire. Now, there is obviously something strange going on here...with the fire...and with your eyes, but I'm sure we can get it all fixed. Just come with me and we'll take our things and go to a hospital to get you checked out."

"Father, you seem to think there is something wrong with me, or that the fire and my eyes are connected somehow," Gaius chuckled "you're wrong, on both accounts as well." A wide smile spread across Gaius' face, and a dark aura slowly emanated from his body. "You and your parties, and your buffets, and your lavish lifestyle, they were never about caring for me, or even running the company which you claim to love. That was all just for increasing your own profile and making everyone like pathetic you are and how far you have fallen from the great man you could have been. If only you had not eaten half the city on a weekly basis." Gaius sneered and slowly raised his right hand towards his father. "You know, what we have here isn't even a demon, father, it's something much simpler, mere trickery at the hands of a bored passerby. Reveal yourself or perish!" Gaius screamed, seemingly at the air. Within a few seconds, a Gengar appeared a few feet in front of his father, and Gaius laughed at the sight of the ghost Pokemon. "See father, what you were foolish to think as sorcery or a demon was a simple Pokemon. If only you had studied them at all during your life, you would know what ghost Pokemon are capable of. Illusion, misdirection, that's all common to them. Sadly though, this one will have to learn his place in the world." Gaius clenched his fist, and a black aura surrounded Gengar.

The ghost Pokemon shuddered, seemingly under immense pain from the field that encircled him. Gengar looked wide-eyed at the standing human. In all of his travels haunting the Kanto region he had never seen such an occurrence, and would think such an action impossible. The Pokemon tried to phase through the floor, but he was seemingly paralyzed, unable to move an inch or use any of his powers. The flames began to flicker slowly as the ghost Pokemon felt immense strain and pressure. The field seemed to drain his energy, and it was a struggle to stay conscious, let alone to continue to project the fire illusion. After several minutes of trying to move to escape from the strange human, the Pokemon collapsed, and his fire illusion vanished.

"Wonderful, now that he's dealt with we can finish saving our belongings...and get you to a hospital," Magnus weakly suggested to his son.

"You are mistaken to think that I need a hospital father, though I am not sure if the same can be said of you in a few minutes," Gaius playfully retorted.

"Son, something is obviously wrong...this...what you can do...this isn't natural...this has to be some virus or disease or need help," Magnus pleaded hoping for a rational response from his son.

"Not natural? You couldn't be any further from the truth. If you only knew what was truly going on, but, I do not think you are ever going to find out," Gaius laughed playfully. "Before I deal with you though, I have to take care of something first." Gaius reached into his pocket, and pulled out the black Pokeball he had bought a month earlier.

"Pokemon?" His father asked, obviously confused by this development as well
"Since when do you have a Pokemon?

Gaius threw the ball at the collapsed Pokemon, and after three seconds it made a low beeping noise. "Since now," Gaius replied, "and now to deal with you, father," Gaius slowly paused, examining the situation, "whatever are we doing to do, huh?" He asked, not actually expecting a reply. "You, who tried to force me to become a carbon copy of yourself instead of letting me fulfill my own dreams, you, who sent me off to a boarding school because you could not be bothered to be a real father, as counting your money was more important...well," Gaius paused again, and a smirk crept across his face "well you're just going to have to die I guess. No way you can live after seeing me like this. You'll go blabbing to all your party friends on your phone the second I leave the room, and I just can't allow that to happen."

"Son, no one has to know about…about your special gift," Magnus begged, "please, whatever you do, don't do something that you'll regret for the rest of your life, this can be our little secret."

"Sorry father, but watching you spill your secrets after being plied with drink makes me doubt you could keep such a bargain. Besides, even if I did want to accept such an offer...ending you is much more fun, and certainly no less than you deserve!" Gaius raised his hand, and an identical black aura engulfed his father Magnus, causing the man to twitch violently and grip at his chest. "They'll just this is a heart attack, caused by your immense fear of the fire that Gengar caused. The authorities will never suspect this!" Gaius laughed, reveling in his father's pain.

"Gaius, please, don't do this. This isn't you!" Magnus pleaded, feeling his heart racing and burning from the inside-out. "I sent you away, and that was wrong. I was just worried, and scared, after everything that happened...about what happened to Marianne..." His voice trailed off, not wanting to remember his wife's tragic death. "What I did wasn't right, I know that…we can fix things, and be a proper family again, just...please stop." Magnus looked into his son's eyes, hoping to see a glimmer of light, of the son that he once knew. However, he saw only pure blackness.

"Too late to fix things now father." Gaius playfully waved his finger in disapproval. "You can't expect one fake heart to heart speech to erase everything you've done. The time to make you pay for your pathetic waste of a life is now!" Gaius clenched his fist tight and Magnus, still twitching in pain, began to move less and less, until he finally lay still on the floor. Gaius' eyes cleared and returned to their normal blue-grey coloring, and then he collapsed onto the floor.

When Gaius awoke, he was in a blue-lit room, with white walls, peach colored ceiling and plain white tile. There was a window to the right, and Gaius could see the town of Pendragon, distinguished only by its unique weather pattern. He tried at first to get up, but found the task too difficult, as the room started to spin the moment he moved his head. He tried to move his hands, but numerous IV’s and medical leads hindered his movement. He could feel that he also had several cords linked to monitors on his chest, and even some on his forehead. "Hello?" He weakly questioned. As he spoke, he could feel immense throat pain, almost as if someone had ripped it out and then put it back intact. Gaius closed his eyes and laid his head back to rest. Memories of the fire swirled around in Gaius' head, however he could not remember how he made it out, or what caused it. The last thing he could remember, he walked into his father's room and...whatever happened after that was a blank. "I must have collapsed and my father brought me to the hospital to make sure I was ok...yeah," he paused, trying to think in order to make sense of the situation, "that's the only thing that makes sense." Gaius could weakly hear a pair of feet walking towards him, causing him to open his eyes and look at the visitor, an older man dressed in a white lab coat and beige pants. The man had pure white hair, which was parted down the middle and slightly forward, as if trying to hide the start of a receding hair line. He had deep wrinkles in his face and around his slightly slanted brown eyes, and thick black glasses hung on a strap around his neck.

"Hi, I'm Doctor Woo" the old man spoke softly "it seems like you were involved in a disturbance. Can you tell me your name?"

"Who?" Gaius asked, confused by the man. After a few moments he collected himself and responded. "My name is Gaius, Gaius Vi Britannia," Gaius replied weakly, still feeling pain in his throat. "Where is my father? Is he all right?"

"Well, first we need to figure out what happened, Gaius. The paramedics found you on the floor of your home. One of the house workers called after the fire department after reportedly seeing the house on fire. When the local Blastoise patrol got there, however, there was no fire and the building seemed in perfect shape. The paramedics found this on you," the doctor reached into pocket and pulled out Gaius' black Pokeball. "We sent this to the Pokemon Center for analysis, and there seems to be a Gengar inside. Do you own a Gengar, Gaius?"

"No, I don't, at least, I don't remember catching it" Gaius slowly replied, trying to put the pieces together. "I must have found out a wild Gengar was making a fire illusion, and somehow I was able to capture it, or, maybe my father somehow captured it in my Pokeball and gave it to me. Even though I know he has never had any Pokemon of his own, but that could still be a possibility. What does my father say happened? Surely you have already talked to him."

"Well, Gaius, I have some bad news, but stay calm now, ok?" The doctor gently pat Gaius' leg, trying to calm him and console him for the horrific news that he was about to tell the young man. "Your father is dead. He seemingly had a massive heart attack, probably brought on by the stress and anxiety of what that Gengar did to your home. Now, we checked the capture time-stamp, so we know it was un-owned when it used its illusion powers. If you can't remember catching it, then perhaps your father did for you, but that strain proved too much for him...” the doctor's voice trailed off, unsure of what to say next. "There's someone who wants to see you, he says it's an important matter about your home and your family estate." The doctor slowly turned and walked away from Gaius' bedside, and motioned for another individual to enter the room.

Gaius lay there in the hospital bed, mouth gaping open as he quickly tried to process all of this information. " could he be dead?" Gaius thought, "He was perfectly fine when I last saw him. This seems...too impossible to be real. How could something scare him so much that he died of fright?" Gaius closed his eyes and bowed his head down, still trying to process the series of events that had just been presented to him. He then heard a second set of footsteps enter the room.

The new visitor slowly entered the room. The man looked to be in his sixties, wearing an official-looking suit and tie under a brown trench coat, his outfit completed with a matching brown hat on his head. "I'm Mr. Grimsly, do you remember me Gaius? It's been a few years since we saw each other, if memory serves."

Gaius thought for a moment, knowing deep down that the name sounded familiar. After a second or two of pondering, it came to him. Mr. Grimsly was his father's personal attorney as well as his financial adviser. His suggestions were what enabled his father to invest money in various stocks to maintain the family's great wealth. "Yes, Mr. Grimsly, I remember you. You worked with my father on matters of business and finance."

"Yes, that's right Gaius" Grimsly replied "under normal circumstances, I would wait until you were fully recovered to meet with you, however, your family's extensive property and finances need an immediate consultation with their new owner, you."

"Me?" Gaius replied, at first unsure at the prospect of owning the family estate. "Surely there is someone else that father named in his will?" The more Gaius contemplated owning the family home and running the family assets, the more he felt disgusted. He had always tried to distance himself from his family's wealth and position, but now it seemed as if it was all forcibly thrust upon him, and that there was no way he could pass it off.

"No, no" Grimsly replied, "you are the sole heir to the Britannia legacy. Your Uncle passed away several years ago in Unova, not that your father and he kept in contact much after your mother passed. The burden falls to you Gaius to run the family household, and I will be here at your side, that is, if you desire me to be, to help you with this transition and to carry out your will, whatever you see fit.

"Whatever I see fit, really?" Gaius thought, slowly forming a plan on what he wanted to do with his family's estate. "Sell everything in the home apart from the furniture and any items in my bedroom or items that belong to me. Donate the proceeds to Pokepals, the charity that brings friendly Pokemon to sick children in hospitals so that they can play and enjoy what good time they have left."

"But, really, are you sure?" The old man replied nervously. "It took years for your father to assemble that collection of artwork, sculpture, tapestries woven from the finest Caterpie silk known to man, and some of the works date back even to your grandfather Charles' time. Are you sure you want to just sell it on the open market?"

"Yes, I am sure," Gaius coldly replied, "Those trinkets and monuments to vanity are of the past, and it is my desire to carve a new path, to the future. Instruct all maids, gardeners and other manor staff that they may continue to receive pay, but that they need only clean on a weekly basis. The manor will also be unoccupied for a length of time, so please install security cameras immediately in case any employees get the wrong idea about an empty house."

"Unoccupied...but...where will you live?" Grimly stammered, "surely you can't expect the family business to run on its own, that would be madness."

"I plan on starting out on a Pokemon journey as soon as I am fully recovered and released from the hospital. I am sure the board members that father trusted can run the company in my absence. I will give you permission to speak on my behalf, and as soon as the lump sum of the family fortune and investment portfolio is moved into my name, you will be able to invest the remainder as you see fit on behalf of myself and the Britannia estate."

"A...a Pokemon journey?" Grimsly replied, flabbergasted, "are you sure that is how you want to spend your time, after all your father has done for you and this town, after all his father before him has done?"

"Yes," Gaius replied, "my mind is made up. Any attempt to change it or sway me from my goal will only result in the termination of my family's business contract with you and your firm. Do I make myself clear Grimsly?"

"Yes, yes of course...sir" Grimsly cautiously added the last word, now finally recognizing Gaius' authority over his most lucrative business venture. "Is there anything you need me to do while you recover?"

"Just bring me a list of what the local Pokemart sells, and of course any relevant legal documents I need to sign in the wake of this...situation." Gaius laid down and closed his eyes as Grimsly left the room. Over the next week, he slowly regained his strength and completed a stack of legal forms two feet high, signing the majority of the family assets to charities, while only keeping a large, yet small by comparison, sum for himself.

When Gaius was released from the hospital, he first ventured over to the local Pokemart, so he could pick up several new additions to his team. "I only have Gengar right now," Gaius thought, "If I want to start strong I'll need some serious firepower. Thankfully this shop sells Pokemon as well as healing items and Pokeballs. If I remember correctly, they even have some rare and top of the line Pokemon. Thankfully, for me, money is not an issue."

As Gaius strolled into the store, he looked first at the left wall. Various healing potions were displayed, then several forms of Pokeballs and other various items that trainers may need on their journey. His eyes quickly shifted to the right side, where individual Pokemon were available for purchase inside their Pokeballs.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" A young man asked as he rose from the floor behind the counter. "Sorry about hiding, I was just checking on our Super Potion supply," the man chuckled and awaited a response.

"Yes, I understand you sell Pokemon here. Is there any you recommend for a newer trainer starting out on a journey? I have some money, but as of yet haven't really caught a Pokemon of my own."

"Well," the clerk replied, pointing to the left side of the right wall. "We have Pidgey, Rattata, Bellsprout, Oddish, Jigglypuff, Caterpie, and both forms of Nidoran in our new trainer section here." The clerk then pointed to the middle section of the wall. "We also have Machop, Sandshrew, Spearow, Mankey and Growlithe in our intermediate trainer section here." The clerk finally motioned to the far right side of the wall. "Of course, this is our advanced trainer section, but since you're new I'd recommend only choosing from the first two groups."

Gaius looked at the wall, slowly analyzing his choices. "While all of those basic Pokemon seem great and all, I'd like more of a challenge. I already have a Gengar, so perhaps something on that level? What's the best that you have for sale?" Gaius' eyes became transfixed on the advanced section, waiting for the clerk to answer.

"Wow, really?" Then I guess you're not that new then, even if you only have one Pokemon. The best we sell here are Tyranitar and Dragonite, although they are probably out of your price range. They're more expensive than almost the entire store combined."

"Oh really, how much are they?" Gaius inquired, "I've seen Dragonite battle in some online videos and it seemed to be an excellent Pokemon. Would you agree that they are both powerful Pokemon?" Gaius' memory flashed back to the championship battle he had witnessed several years prior, how the champion's Dragonite displayed such raw power in the battle, and knew it was a Pokemon worthy of his collection.

"Of course they are," the store clerk enthusiastically replied, "but I'm pretty sure they are out of your price range. They're 100,000 dollars each. No offense, but I doubt someone in their late teens like you has that much money. Besides, we only accept cash, and I doubt anyone would have that much on them out of the blue, those two are mostly just for display as very few people have that much money to spend."

Gaius could feel anger slowly building inside his body and slowly pulled out his checkbook and began writing. "My name is Gaius Vi Britannia. If you know anything at all about this town, then you know that this check is good." Gaius reached into his pocket and showed the clerk his Kanto region ID with his name and address listed, as well as a recent picture. "If you choose not to sell me those two Pokemon, I'll be forced to go to some other Pokemart and give them all of this money for whatever they have. Do you really want to explain to your boss that you let $200,000 walk out the door over a measly store rule?"

" course not," the clerk sheepishly replied. "I'm sorry for the confusion Mr. Britannia, of course we will accept your check here, not a problem." The clerk hastily collected Gaius' check and got a ladder from the back to climb to the top row to retrieve the purchased Pokemon. He then set the two Pokeballs on the counter and put the ladder away, this time returning with an additional Pokeball. "I just had a quick call with the owner, and he would personally like to offer you this Beldum as a sincere apology for my foolishness, in the hope that you will continue to visit our store when in town. Beldum may not look like much now, but he'll grow into a strong Metagross after some training."

"Thank you for your cooperation, and for the free Beldum," Gaius replied slyly. "You can tell the owner that I will gladly patronage your store, despite the bumbling of one of its employees." Gaius paused, letting out a chuckle. "I think I just saved your job, you should be happy about that. Next time, remember who your customers are and treat them with respect." Gaius quickly collected his three new Pokeballs, affixed them to his belt and left the store.

"Hey wait!" The clerk called out.

Gaius turned, he was not no more than ten feet from the door when the clerk came out after him. "Yes, is there something else? Did I forget to sign the check or something?" Gaius asked, puzzled by the clerk's action.

"No, nothing like that." The clerk replied. "The check's fine, but I do have a little bit of advice. Although you have several Pokemon, you don't have a Pokedex or an official starter Pokemon from the Kanto region professor, Professor Oak of Pallet Town. I'm not sure if he'll give you a Pokemon, since you already have four, but you could at least ask for a Pokedex to keep track of who you have caught and which Pokemon you see in the wild.

"Thank you," Gaius replied smiling. "That's the most useful thing you've probably said all day." Gaius sneered and walked away, leaving the clerk in the street to tend to the shop. The new trainer was eager to get underway to Pallet Town and quickly walked onto the main road out of town. After walking for a few miles, Gaius found a large green field with a gigantic tree in the center. He then decided that the tree was a peaceful place to take a long nap.

Gaius awoke shivering and with a cold sweat and took in his surroundings. He was lying under a large oak tree, most likely a century old, with branches and leaves sticking out this way and that, almost as if its job was to try and blot out the field from the sun.

There was a cool breeze in the air and he could see the wind part the tall grass of the field with each gust. "It was just a dream," Gaius reassured himself aloud, "I'm ok, exactly where I laid down at, and it’s a regular August day..." The dream had haunted the young man at least once a week since he set out on his journey, approximately one month ago. Gaius stood up and thought about how much had happened over the past four weeks, from his father's death, to his own recovery and starting on a Pokemon journey.

"'s surprising to think all of that happened in just four weeks, huh," Gaius mused aloud. He looked down at his four Pokeballs affixed to his belt, decided that his rest was over, and that it was now time to catch some new Pokemon. He stood up and started down the path to Pallet Town, knowing he probably only had a few days or less left on his trip. Gaius reached down on his belt, pulled two Pokemon loose and opened them. "Gengar, come out and go up ahead in stealth mode and report back if you see any rare or powerful Pokemon. Beldum, stay with me buddy. You're pretty new to battling, so just stick close, I'll see if I can find a Pokemon for you to battle, alright?" Both Gengar and Beldum appeared from their Pokeballs in front of their trainer.

"Gengar!" The ghost Pokemon smiled a toothy grin and leapt forward, turning invisible after a few steps.

"Beldum Beldum" The steel Pokemon replied. It hovered at eye level a few feet to Gaius' right side, keeping pace as his trainer walked down the path.

After twenty minutes or so, Gengar reappeared in front of Gaius. "Gengar...Geng," the Pokemon pointed his arm forward towards the left side of the road.

"What, you found a nice Pokemon over there Gengar? Let's go after it and capture it!" Gaius exclaimed. He quickly ran about fifty feet down off the road into an open field. He could see tall, green, grassland dotted with small bushes and various flowers.

Gengar motioned for Gaius to keep walking, and then put his fingers to his mouth in almost a "shush" motion.

Gaius knelt behind a bush, and he saw a small, yet obese Pokemon. It had a blue body, a yellow patch on its stomach, yellow mouth, and points all over the bottom of its body and two points on top of its head. Gaius immediately recognized the Pokemon as one of the ones he had watched years ago online, as well as being the same Pokemon that he played with as a child. "That's a Munchlax, let’s see what’s going on Gengar," he whispered to his Pokemon. The Pokemon was in front of a young male trainer, who was a few inches shorter than Gaius, was wearing a blue shirt, baseball cap, and tan cargo shorts.A backpack was also slung over the boy's shoulders. The boy held a Pokeball in his hand and seemed to be commanding the Munchlax. . The young man had a sense of purpose about him, and a look of fierce determination was present on his face.

"Go Munchlax, use Ice Punch!" The young trainer yelled, commanding his Pokemon to attack. "I know we can beat Brandon this time, so give it your all!"

Gaius looked to the right of the boy and his Munchlax, and saw another young man, and another Pokemon. The second boy had a tan complexion, and was wearing a red shirt with long black pants. The young man had a slightly fit physique, with firm arms and a toned

The new Pokemon was a large chicken-like biped, with clawed hands, yellow-orange feet, a red body, and smooth, white, flowing hair on top of its head that reached halfway down its back. The Pokemon also had two points that protruded from its forehead, and had two yellow eyes on its face, below the points.

Gaius wasn't exactly sure what type of Pokemon this was, which was quite a surprise, as he had studied all of the Pokemon that could be found in this area of Kanto region. Perhaps this Pokemon was newly discovered, or perhaps its trainer was from another region and had brought this foreign Pokemon with him. Gaius slowly inched forward, trying to get a closer look. "I think this is a Pokemon battle, let's see what these Pokemon can do." Gaius told his Pokemon.

"Come' on, Blaziken, we've beaten Joey at least ten times before, I doubt this time will be any different." The second trainer, whose name apparently was Brandon, yelled to his Pokemon. "Blaziken, use Sky Uppercut. Launch it into the air and then follow it up with a devastating flamethrower attack!"

The bird-like Pokemon responded to his master's command. It quickly raced, almost too fast to be seen to the human eye, towards his small opponent. Blaziken leaned down and swiftly punched Munchlax in the gut, lifting it up several dozen feet in the air, causing the small Pokemon to flip end over end as it began to fall back towards the ground.

"Munchlax, don't let that attack rattle you, use Solar Beam on Blaziken before you hit the ground!" Joey yelled to his Pokemon, hoping it could carry out the attack before it was once again vulnerable to his opponent's Blaziken.

Munchlax stabilized his body about twenty feet from the ground, and a bright green beam shot from its mouth, aiming towards the fire Pokemon.
"Use your flamethrower now, Blaziken! Don't let that Solar Beam touch you!" Brandon shouted to his Pokemon.

Fire spurted out from the bird-like Pokemon's mouth, colliding with the Solar Beam attack in mid-air. A large explosion of smoke and dust resulted from the collision of the attacks, and neither Gaius, nor the Pokemons' trainers, could tell what had happened.

As the smoke cleared, Gaius could see Blaziken, slightly injured and breathing heavy, bending over trying to catch its breath. The Munchlax, however, was face down on the ground, and appeared to be knocked out.

"Munchlax, get up, you can do it!" Joey yelled to his Pokemon. "We need to beat Brandon at least once!"

"Sorry Joey, but that's never going to happen." Brandon chuckled, and grabbed a Pokeball from his belt, ready to recall his Pokemon. "I don't think your Munchlax has any strength left, you better recall it now before I actually have to hurt it beyond repair."

Joey sighed, and reached into his backpack, retrieving a small, yellow diamond-shaped object. "Munchlax, I'm going to make you all better, ok?" He then opened his Pokemon's mouth, and tossed the object inside. "I would have been able to beat you Brandon, if only I hadn't sent my prized Rattata to my cousin in Johto. He was in the top percentage of Rattata, and was the best Pokemon I ever had."

Within a few moments of eating the diamond-shaped item, Munchlax rose from the ground and smiled at its trainer. "Munchlax...Mun," the Pokemon said enthusiastically.

"Munchlax, return. I'm sure we'll get Brandon next time." The first trainer reached into his pocket, and pulled out a Pokeball. He pushed a button and the ball opened up, shooting out a red light that engulfed the blue Pokemon. The Pokemon then vanished and was sucked inside the ball.

With the battle now over, Gaius felt like it was the right time to reveal himself. He rose from behind the bush and approached the trainers. "Wow, that was a nice battle, and you have nice Pokemon, although I'm not sure I would have used Solar Beam on a fire type Pokemon, but that's just me."

"Who are you?" The pair of trainers asked Gaius simultaneously

"The name's Gaius, I come from the town of Pendragon, it's a bit north of here, though you probably have never heard of it. It doesn't get many visitors, except scientists."

"Oh, ok. Hi, Gaius. My name's Joey," The pale trainer replied, now looking down at the ground, as if he were ashamed of his actions in the battle. After a moment of looking at the new arrival, the shorter boy’s eyes lit up and smiled at Gaius. “Wait, did you say your name was Gaius?” The trainer paused, as if he was contemplating something. After a moment of thinking, he began to speak again. “I knew a Gaius once, I think, a long time ago. Brandon and I went to a Pokemon-themed pre-school together and we always used to play with Gaius and a Munchlax there. After I turned ten, I went back to the pre-school and asked what they did with the old Pokemon that they didn’t keep around anymore. They told me that they released the Munchlax into the wild, so I began to try and track him down. It took a few months, but I was able to find him. I battled the Munchlax with my Rattata and used Super Fang to whittle down its hit points enough for me to capture it. This is the same Munchlax as the one that Brandon and I played with when we were kids.”

Gaius tilted his head as he looked at Joey and his small, blue colored Pokemon. After a few moments, memories began to filter back into Gaius’s mind as his two friends stood in front of him. Although he had always remembered Munchlax, his friends on the other hand had slipped from his mind as the years went on. He had not seen them for over a decade, but it soon felt like he was back there with the two of them. The young trainer nodded and began to speak. “That was me, I’m Gaius Vi Britannia. You went to Poke-kids, right, that was the name of the preschool?”

Joey’s smile widened as he listened to what Gaius had said. “Yeah, that was it, Poke-kids.” The trainer paused and looked at Gaius. “Wow, I can’t believe it’s you, Gaius. I haven’t seen you in forever. After the first year at Poke-kids you kind of just vanished, not even the teachers would tell us where you went. We just figured you moved or something. What happened to you man?”

Gaius prepared to respond, however Brandon quickly began to speak. "How are you?" The tan boy said enthusiastically. "Did you see my Blaziken kick Joey's butt in the battle? That's not really much of a surprise though, I always beat him and his silly Munchlax. To be honest, I thought about trying to go back and capture our old friend as well, but Joey beat me to it. Either way, I’m quite happy with my Blaziken. It’s the fully evolved form of the Torchic that I had when we were kids. So, what do you think of my Pokemon?”

"Well..." Gaius thought for a moment, unsure of what to say. "Your Blaziken was nice, yes, but I'm sure my Pokemon could beat it without much trouble." Gaius sneered, waiting for a reaction. "The same could be said of your Munchlax, Joey. It is a powerful Pokemon, but with your poor choice in moves, I doubt it will ever be able to live up to its true potential. It should have an expert trainer that can help it be strong, not some pathetic Rattata-loving weakling like yourself." Both friends looked hurt and angry over Gaius’ words, but Gaius preferred to always speak the truth, instead of masking honestly behind tact and lies.

"Now…why would you say something like that?" Joey shouted at Gaius. “I remember you being our friends, and friends aren’t rude like that for no reason. What would ever possess you to be so cruel to someone who was once your best friend?” The young man looked down at the ground as he began to clench his fists. “Gaius...what ever happened to you? You, the old you, never said an unkind word at all.”

Gaius shook his head and lightly laughed. “If you only knew what happened to me Joey. I didn’t just drop off the face of the planet, you know. The reason I never came back for the next grade was that my mother died! As soon as she was gone, my father, who hated Pokemon, decided that I shouldn’t be around Pokemon anymore as my mother was a Pokemon trainer. He forced me to go to business schools for years until I finally decided I had had enough of spending my time doing something which meant nothing to me. I decided to take my life into my own hands and left the school. My father himself passed away last month, which finally allowed me to live my own dreams of going out on a Pokemon journey. While the two of you were allowed to live your dreams starting at age ten, I was forced to waste most of my life!” Gaius sighed, and then glanced at Munchlax. “Joey, you said you captured that Munchlax when you were ten or so, right? I’m surprised that it hasn’t evolved into a Snorlax by now. I only wish I had actually been able to capture it. At least then it would have been able to evolve.”

Joey looked up at Gaius as the young Munchlax owner’s eyes welled up with tears. “I’m…I’m really sorry all of that happened to you. I wish your mother didn’t die, so that you’d still be able to follow your dreams like she wanted you to. I’m sorry your father was so harsh on you after she passed. You’ve had quite a hard life, and neither of us ever even knew about it. I wish we could have been there to help you, ya know. We all were the best of friends, and I hope that we can still be so. However, you can’t keep being rude to people when you’re frustrated or upset. Doing so will only push people away who are trying to help.”

Gaius loudly laughed and placed his right hand onto his forehead. “You think I want your foolish pity or your useless sorrow? No amount of care or feelings can ever actually fix what happened. The only option for me is to move past it and strive to be the best that I can be, even if that means having to use weak trainers such as yourselves as stepping stones towards the Pokemon League. You two have been trainers for how many years now, right? Do you even have any badges, have you ever even been to the Pokemon League? It’s sad to think that people who I used to regard so highly in my youth have become complete failures. Do you even have more than one Pokemon, or was your starter and Munchlax the only things you’ve been able to pick up?”

Joey slowly looked at Gaius and smiled, willing to test out his Pokemon in battle. "I bet I can take you on right now and wipe the floor with you and whatever Pokemon you have. You have no right to talk to anyone like that, especially someone who you used to think of as a friend!"

"Yeah," Brandon replied, "I bet Joey and I can beat you in a two on two battle. Two of your Pokemon versus one each of ours. Whoever wins has to admit that the other is a better trainer!"

Gaius mused the challenge for a moment, and then smiled gleefully. "I accept your challenge, the two of you versus me. However, I'll only need one Pokemon for this battle. If you can knock him out then I'll apologize to you both, agreed?"

The two young trainers looked at each other and then nodded. "I'll be sending my Munchlax, it should be all better with the revive I gave it earlier." Joey reached back into his pocket and pulled out a Pokeball.

"I'll use my Blaziken, but I'm going to give it a Super Potion first to heal it up." Brandon reached on his belt and pulled off a small red and yellow spray bottle. He then slowly sprayed it all over Blaziken, until the battle wounds disappeared.

"A Fighting/Fire type, and Munchlax is a Normal-type Pokemon, right?" Gaius thought aloud. "Then I know just who to use...come forth, Gengar!"

Gaius' Gengar emerged from the bushes in which he had been hiding, and stood in front of his trainer. The ghost Pokemon quickly floated in zig-zag patterns around Blaziken and Munchlax, waiting their move or his trainer's command.

Gaius contemplated his situation, and then spoke. "Since I'm at a disadvantage, I'll make the first move. Gengar, use Shadow Ball on Blaziken!"

The ghost Pokemon weaved back and forth above the ground, circling the fire Pokemon. A black and purple ball started to grow between Gengar's hands until a large ball had formed. The Pokemon then quickly hurled the ball at Blaziken, striking it in the chest, causing the fire Pokemon to be knocked backwards.

"Go Blaziken, use Sky Uppercut on Gengar!" Brandon commanded.

The fire Pokemon ran in close to Gengar, and delivered a fierce punch of his fist to the ghost Pokemon. However, instead of the punch connecting, Blaziken's fist phased through the ghost Pokemon and left Gengar unscathed.

"Oh no! I forgot that Fighting type attacks don't work on Ghost Pokemon!" Brandon exclaimed. "Blaziken try a flamethrower attack, see if you can burn him up!"

"You're deluded if you think of yourself as a skilled trainer, Brandon. If you cannot even remember basic type effectiveness, you should go back to Poke-kids! Maybe they’re take you back after all these years!" Gaius sneered, taunting his old friend. "Go Gengar, use Psychic on Blaziken!"

Joey, who had remained silent up to this point in the battle, finally decided to act. "Munchlax, use Rollout on that Gengar. That attack should still work, even though it's a ghost type," The young trainer commanded his Pokemon, as he watched the Gengar and Blaziken exchange blows.

Munchlax curled itself into a ball and started to spin rapidly on the ground, readying itself for a Rollout attack. After a few seconds of charging its attack, the Pokemon launched itself into the air, aimed directly at Gengar.

While Munchlax was flying in the air, Gengar's eyes glowed a bright blue, and Blaziken's body became outlined in a similar blue color. Gengar then lifted Blaziken off the ground and started to slam it repeatedly into the ground.

With Gengar distracted with Blaziken, Munchlax's attack was able to hit Gengar on the side of its body, causing the ghost Pokemon to lose its focus with the Psychic attack and Blaziken fell, damaged yet still conscious, to the ground.

Blaziken slowly stood up, and its body began to glow bright red.

"I think that's Blaziken's Blaze ability," Brandon yelled, overjoyed, "now all of his fire attacks do more damage! Blaziken keep going with Flamethrower!"

The blaze Pokemon began to gather fire in its mouth, which it then shot out in a bright red-orange stream towards Gengar. The attack hit Gengar directly on its face, damaging it greatly. After impact a small ring of fire encircled Gengar, which seemed to deal repeated amounts of damage every few seconds even after the Flamethrower subsided.

Gaius started to breathe faster as he watched his Pokemon endure two hits in a row, unsure of how he could successfully fend off two Pokemon at once with only one of his own. He could feel anger building inside him, as well as a strong fighting spirit that desired only to win. Suddenly, Gaius' eyes turned completely black, and a purple-black aura slowly surrounded him.

"Hey, Gaius, are you ok?" Joey asked, unsure of what had happened to his opponent. "If you're sick or something we can call off the battle, it's ok. I'll even forgive you for being mean to me earlier."

"Yeah, if something's wrong we can just stop battling, I don't mind either." Brandon chimed in, agreeing with his usual rival. "I wouldn't want to put you through a loss if you aren't feeling one-hundred percent."

"A loss?" Gaius asked, his voice dropping several octaves from his normal tone, becoming dark and ominous. "What makes you worthless fools think I'd ever lose to you? The both of you are no more than ants beneath my feet, and now it's time to grab the magnifying glass!" Gaius shrieked, with a mix of insanity and sheer joy. "Gengar, it's time to end this permanently. Use Psychic on both Blaziken and Munchlax. Slam them into each other until they are both unconscious. Use your Psychic attack to keep the trainers' mouths shut, as well, so they cannot issue commands."

Gengar turned around, looking at his trainer before performing the attack. He knew that using Pokemon attacks against humans was frowned upon, and was surprised to see this purple aura around his master again, the same kind he first witnessed when Gaius killed his father a few weeks prior. "What is this odd power master Gaius has," Gengar wondered to himself, "how can a normal human possess such extraordinary abilities?" The Pokemon waited, unsure of if he should follow his trainer's command.

"Gengar, follow my orders!" Gaius yelled, scolding the Ghost Pokemon. "Carry out my will or you shall once again feel immense pain and suffering by my hand. This is your only warning, from now until the end of time. Obey, or die, the choice is yours. I suggest you make it quick, I don't want to wait around much longer."

Gengar began to panic, as memories of the day of its captured continued to flow back into his mind. Gaius had severely hurt the ghost Pokemon on that day, more than any normal Pokemon attack ever could. Gengar had never been in so much pain its whole life, and had no wish to relive such a painful sensation. Gengar closed his eyes, and followed his master's orders.

Blue lines appeared first around Blaziken and Munchlax, and then around their trainers as well. Both opposing Pokemon were lifted off of the ground, and Gengar used his Psychic attack to cause them to collide repeatedly in the air. The attack continued for several minutes, while the Pokemon were repeatedly slammed into each other, until they both were near fainting.

During the attack, both Joey and Brandon were rendered helpless by Gengar's Psychic attack. Neither of them could speak, as they could not part their lips at all nor allow any words to escape their mouths. Both trainers were too stunned to even move or look away. "How could someone do this?" They thought, "is this even possible, is this even allowed for Pokemon to act like this?"

"Good, Gengar," Gaius said, praising his Pokemon's decision to comply with his orders, "I'm glad you came to your senses. I wouldn't want to have to replace you with someone else, although I will do so if it ever becomes necessary." Gaius then turned his attention towards the two trainers. "How does it feel to be helpless, to be unable to aid your Pokemon as you watch them get attacked over and over again? It must hurt, right? Well, fortunately for you, you won't have to live with it much longer. Or," Gaius paused, thinking of how to phrase his next sentence, "should I say, you won't have to live with anything much longer." Gaius stopped speaking for a moment, so he could witness the horror that grew in Joey and Brandon's eyes. "After you're gone, I'm going to take your Pokemon and their Pokeballs. They should not be doomed to failure at the hands of weak and pathetic trainers such as yourselves that will only hold them back and stunt their growth. I will make sure they are raised into powerful Pokemon, stronger than your wildest dreams. Gengar," he turned to his Pokemon, issuing a command, "I think Munchlax and Blaziken have had enough, release them. We don't want to kill them, we're going to acquire them, instead."

Gengar released his Psychic attack on the two Pokemon, both of which immediately fell to the ground, both completely knocked out. Gengar kept his lock on the two opposing trainers, however, as he knew Gaius did not order him to release them, only their Pokemon. Gengar began to worry if this was how his master was going to handle all off their Pokemon battles together. "Will Gaius always just use his strange abilities if he's starting to lose?" Gengar thought, "I wish I knew what was happening, and if there was any way to help him."

"Now, to finish off the two of you," Gaius cackled, musing at his options on how to kill the two trainers, "I could either have my Pokemon kill you with their attacks, I could snap your necks, or I could just destroy your bodies all at once, which would leave no evidence. Hmm," Gaius paused, as if he was trying to decide what he should eat for an everyday meal, "what am I in the mood for, this time? Last time I just faked a heart attack in my father, but this time I'm feeling a bit more...creative. I'm going to break every bone in each of your bodies, then I'm going to get rid of the evidence. Pooh, this is gonna be fun." He then addressed his Pokemon. "Gengar, keep your hold on them, I don't want their screams to draw any more, people." Gaius laughed as the last word exited his mouth.

Gaius waved his hand, and dark auras appeared around both Joey and Brandon. Slowly, with each motion of his hand, Gaius could see another bone in each trainer's body break and twist inside them. He relished seeing his victims in pain, and wanted to extend this sensation as long as possible. Within a few minutes, the trainers' bodies looked grotesque and unrecognizable as human beings, with bones poking out where arms or ribs would normally be. "I think I've had enough fun for now, time to wrap it up."

When Gaius waved his hand once more, what once was the trainers' necks snapped, ending their lives. Gaius then closed his eyes and clenched his fist, causing both of his victims' bodies to seemingly vanish into the ground. After a few moments, Gaius' eyes returned to their normal blue-grey color, and he looked at the two Pokeballs on the ground.

"Hmm, I wonder what happened," Gaius could not remember how the battle had ended, but saw neither trainers in the area. "I wonder why Joey and Brandon took off. I know that I was a bit rude to them earlier and then we battled, but I have no idea why they would leave their Pokemon behind. Let’s see if I can try and find out where they went. But, first, I need to recall their knocked out Pokemon. I guess I won the battle.” He picked up both Pokeballs and started to recall Blaziken and Munchlax. However, when he looked towards the Pokemon, he saw Munchlax resting to regain his energy. Gaius recalled Blaziken into its Pokeball, but, when he turned to recall Munchlax, the Pokemon had woken from its rest and was nowhere to be seen.

"Great, where did Joey’s Munchlax go?" Gaius thought aloud. He then quickly looked around and saw a small hole in the ground. "Hm, it must have used Dig to travel in the ground. Beldum, come out and dive into the hole, follow it until you find Munchlax. I'll follow from above on Dragonite." Gaius quickly recalled Gengar and threw Dragonite's Pokeball, and the large dragon Pokemon appeared. "I need to ride you so I can get a Munchlax back. Fly low and follow Beldum who's underground." Gaius jumped on Dragonite's back, held on tight, and commanded the Pokemon to take off.

After twenty minutes of following Beldum, Gaius came to a small wooded area with apple trees and various other fruits. He could see Munchlax trying to climb a tree to reach food at the top. "I guess he's hungry," Gaius thought, "I guess we may have to battle him to get him to come back into his Pokeball. I really wish we didn't have to, but, it may be the only way for us to recall him. Beldum, return to your Pokeball. Dragonite, you come back as well." Gaius was unsure which Pokemon would be best suited for this matchup, so he decided to hide and wait to see what Munchlax did.

The Pokemon tried to use its clawed hands and feet to pull himself up the branches, but kept falling down after a few seconds on the bark. After several unsuccessful attempts to climb the trees, the Pokemon began to ram his head into the tree trunks, in an effort to try and shake the fruit loose from the trees so that they fall within reach on the ground. After a few attempts at ramming into the trees, several fruit fell in front of the fat Pokemon, who then immediately started to consume them whole.

Gaius slowly approached the Pokemon, waiting for the right moment to strike. He knew he had to knock out the Pokemon quickly, before it could escape, although judging by the size of that Pokemon he could not get very far if he wanted to, even though he had managed to escape earlier, Gaius had the element of surprise on his side. Gaius readied Dragonite's Pokeball and threw it. "Go, Dragonite, use Dragon Tail!"

The dragon Pokemon quickly emerged from its Pokeball and swung its large tail towards the obese Pokemon. The attack hit the creature, but it quickly recovered.
"Munchlax! Mun!" The Pokemon yelled. As soon as it saw Gaius, a look of terror spread across its face, and it immediately looked around for an opportunity to flee. As soon as it saw the large dragon-type move towards him, he curled its body into a ball. He then started to spin his body, accelerating faster and faster, before finally launching himself at the dragon Pokemon.

"Dragonite, dodge and counter with Aqua Tail," Gaius shouted. "I thought it was a normal type, but it may be a rock type, since it seems to be using Rollout!"

The dragon Pokemon tried to fly out of the way of the oncoming attack, but Munchlax hit him in the middle of his chest. Dragonite winced in pain, but then swooped down once his opponent had landed and swung its tail, now covered in water, at the other Pokemon.

Munchlax appeared hurt, but started to wave his fingers back and forth. "Mun, Mun...lax, lax," he slowly spoke. Suddenly, a large beam of ice shot out from its mouth, heading right towards Dragonite.

Gaius paused for a second, lost in thought. "It seemed to be a rock type, but, now it can use Ice moves too. I've never heard of a Pokemon like that! It could be possible the hand gesture was some sort of ability that allowed him to use an ice attack, but think, what attack lets you use other attacks?" He quickly ran through the options in his head. "It's not mimic, and that wouldn't make sense since my Dragonite doesn't even know Ice beam. There's only one other move I can think of." Gaius calmed himself and readied his command.

"Dragonite, that Pokemon is using Metronome to access Ice Beam! Dodge now or you could be down for the count!" Gaius yelled to his flying Pokemon. “Get out of the way and finish it off with Hyper Beam!"

Dragonite nodded, and dipped down to try and avoid the Ice Beam attack. He flew low, but not low enough. The beam struck the edge of Dragonite's left wing, rendering it completely encased in ice. Dragonite started panting, feeling immense pain from even the glancing blow of the Ice Beam. He landed on the ground, now unable to fly or even dodge, but still willing to try and fight. Orbs of energy started to grow in Dragonite's mouth, as it prepared to unleash one of its most powerful attacks.

The obese Pokemon stood there, unsure of how to react or where to run, or if running was even a possibility from such an immense attack. He slowly turned around and tried to flee, but with his short legs and large body, he made it only mere feet before Dragonite attacked.

"Dragooo!" The dragon Pokemon shouted, as a wide yellow beam with orange streaks shot from its mouth, aimed directly at the fleeing Munchlax. The blast hit the Pokemon in the back, and continued after the obese Pokemon fell to the ground, leveling trees in its path for at least a hundred feet.

Munchlax slowly tried to rise off of the ground, but was too weak from the Hyper Beam attack to even move.

"Good job Dragonite, return!" Gaius shouted, praising his Pokemon for its success. "Now, you're mine!" Gaius reached into his belt and threw Muchlax's Pokeball. He then threw the Pokeball at the weakened Pokemon, and watched it get sucked inside. "Yes, Munchlax is now back in its Pokeball! Now the only thing to do is find Joey and Brandon." Gaius smiled wide, proud of his achievement, and, even more so, proud of his Dragonite.

Gaius safely stowed Blaziken and Munchlax’s Pokeball in his backpack and then surveyed the area. ‘I had to chase Munchlax for a while, so I don’t know if the guys even went in the completely opposite direction as Munchlax did. The only real option I have is to backtrack to where I was battling them at, and then try to look for any clues.’ The trainer looked towards his Dragonite, who was still panting and sweating from the force of the Ice Beam attack. ‘I guess flying back there is out of the question, then.’ He then recalled his injured Dragonite and let his Beldum out of its Pokeball so it could guide him back towards the battle site. After about twenty minutes of following underground path with Beldum’s assistance, he found the clearing where the battle had taken place.

The trainer then looked around the area, trying to find any indication of where Joey or Brandon might have gone. Gaius could find no discernable trail to follow, no sign of a struggle or fight or any other sort of disturbance. Puzzled, the young man continued to search the area, fanning out in a circular pattern from the battle site, hoping that he would be able to find some clue or indication as to their whereabouts. The search continued for several hours as Gaius expanded his search radius again and again, but ultimately the search proved to be fruitless. ‘I don’t know where they could have gone, but I can’t spend forever trying to find them. I’m sure that they’ll turn up eventually, and, for the time being, I should probably just hold onto Munchlax and Blaziken until they turn up. I’m not sure exactly where they live or where they normally store their Pokemon, so hopefully I’ll run into them sooner or later.’ The trainer smiled as he opened his backpack and looked down at the two Pokeballs. ‘Might as well get a move on, then.’

"Let's go guys, onto Pallet Town!" Gaius shouted gleefully. He checked his backpack and on his belt, ensuring that all of the Pokeballs were in place. He then began to walk in the direction of his next destination, hoping that new adventures awaited him along the way. The young trainer knew that although his first battle was a success, the road ahead would be fraught with increasing difficulty. He also knew that if he kept his faith in the strength of his Pokemon, he would never fail.

CC: 80k~
Writing: For $
Chapter 2: Perchance to Dream/A Quick Fishing Stop

Gaius looked down at his newest Pokemon and smiled, glad that the capture of Munchlax was successful. It had been several hours since Gaius had captured the big eater Pokemon, and although Gaius had planned to be in Pallet Town by now, wild Pokemon and rest breaks for his new capture had significantly slowed down his pace. "I know you don't like being in your Pokeball, Munchlax, but you didn't have to eat it." Gaius sighed, reflecting on the events of the last few hours.

After catching Munchlax, Gaius had decided to give himself and his Pokemon a nice afternoon rest for them to recover their energy. He found a nice meadow right on the border of Route 1 and released his Pokemon from their Pokeballs so they could enjoy the rest along with Munchlax.

Dragonite laid down on his stomach, still slowly recovering from the Ice Beam attack he suffered in his battle with Munchlax

"It's ok, Dragonite, as soon as we get to Pallet Town I'll have Professor Oak check you out, and I'll take you to a Pokemon Center if there is one in town." Gaius breathed deep, taking in the fresh air, and started to watch his other Pokemon mill about.

Gengar slowly floated around the field, and started to play tricks on Gaius's other Pokemon. He hid under the ground and phase up behind Beldum, Tyranitar, and Munchlax and tap them on the back. When the Pokemon turned around, he would turn invisible or phase through the floor, and then re-appear behind them again and repeat the process.

Tyranitar was not amused by Gengar's antics, and each time he felt a tap on his scales, he would try to quickly turn and Crunch the ghost Pokemon. He was too slow to catch the Pokemon, and after several pranks, he screamed at the sky "Tyraaaaan!!" After being fed up with Gengar, he sauntered off and sat next to the resting Dragonite. With Tyranitar obviously not in the mood to play, Gengar started to play with Munchlax.

Munchlax seemed to enjoy Gengar's playful nature, and tried to chase after the ghost Pokemon using his short legs. Gengar enjoyed the chase, and even slowed down his movements to give Munchlax a chance, although he was still always faster than the Big Eater Pokemon. After twenty minutes or so of chase and hide-and-seek between the two, Munchlax grew tired and began to slow down and breathe heavy. The obese Pokemon suddenly fell backwards and started to sleep, regaining his energy.

With his newest playmate resting, Gengar then went over to Beldum to see if the iron ball Pokemon wanted to play. Beldum seemed at first confused by Gengar's antics and he tried to attack the ghost Pokémon. He tried to hit Gengar with Take Down, but Beldum's metallic body passed through the shadow Pokémon's body, leaving the steel Pokemon frustrated as it continued to attack Gengar to no avail.
Gaius smiled while he witnessed his Gengar's playful nature. He leaned back, confident that he could sleep without worry. As Gaius dozed off, he slowly began to dream. Gaius found himself in a small city, dotted with small stores and homes. The town looked utterly abandoned and unkempt, as weeds were slowly poking through the concrete roads and the buildings looked dilapidated and starting to crumble, as if they had not been used in years.

Gaius started to explore the buildings, trying to find some clue as to where he could be. One of the buildings he entered seemed to be an abandoned Pokemart, which seemed oddly familiar to him. "I've been here before" Gaius thought, "I know I have...but when?" Gaius suddenly saw a shadowy figure of a young man behind the counter.

"Wait, this can't be!" Gaius exclaimed, turning away from the newly appeared figure. "This cannot be Pendragon, I left merely two weeks ago. Such degradation would have taken years!" He turned back towards the figure, about to question how such a thing could have taken place, but as he looked towards where the figure had been, he only saw empty space. "What is this?" Gaius shouted in confusion, "people cannot appear or disappear at will. This does not seem like some sort Pokémon attack either!" He sighed, trying to find a way to make sense of what he was seeing. "I need to go to the manor, perhaps there is someone is there who knows what is going on." As he left the Pokemart and headed up the road towards his manor, he could feel an ominous feeling in the pit of his stomach.

As Gaius neared the Britannia family manor, he could see that it suffered immense damage. He ran closer to the building to see if any part of the manor survived. The main entrance was severely burnt, with most of the walls and all of the interior destroyed. The ballroom was burned to the ground, reduced to cinders, and the rest of the house didn't seem to fare much better, except for a few walls partially standing. Gaius's room seemed to be partially intact, so he quickly ran there, hoping he could find some evidence of what happened to the manor, and to Pendragon itself. As he was about to reach his room, Gaius saw a figure cloaked in a black hooded robe standing in what used to be the hallway. "Who are you? Do you know what happened here?" Gaius shouted, hoping that this mysterious figure had some clue as to what could have caused such a disaster.

"Who I am is of no importance, nor is what happened here." The figure replied in a deep, gravelly voice. "What only matters is the accumulation of power. Those who lack the strength to survive are unfit to live in the new world that I have created. Somehow you must have escaped the dark purge, but no matter. I will now correct this error in judgement." The figure slowly raised his hands, outstretching them towards Gaius.

"Dark purge?" Gaius asked, confused, "what are you talking about? Are you responsible for what happened to Pendragon? Where are all of the people? What happened!" He shouted, exasperated at the figure's ambiguity. "Just tell me what is going on, who are you?"

"All who were deemed unworthy by the New God were purged, their bodies were ripped apart like dust in the wind. Those who possessed enough strength to survive were spared, as long as they swore an oath to the New God, promising that they would live the days they had left serving in his name, and bowing to his will." The figure paused, seemingly glancing up at the sky. "Ah, here comes a servant now," The figure chuckled, watching a figure move across the sky, which slowly started to come in for a landing.

Gaius could see a large object flying downward, readying to land on the ground. As the object neared, Gaius was able to make out what the object was, a very large Dragonite. It was at least twice as large as his own. The dragon Pokemon had holes in its wings and several large scars across its head and chest, as if it had been through numerous grueling and horrific battles. Gaius was shocked that a Pokemon with such injuries could stand, let alone even fly. "If that Dragonite belongs to you, you should take it to a Pokemon Center so it can recover from its injuries, they look pretty bad," he implored the figure cloaked in black. Gaius once again focused on what the figure had said. "So, are you this New God you spoke of, or is he someone you work for, or some metaphysical being that you worship? Who would ever condone such action and brutality, especially pushing Pokemon way past their limits!"

The figure sighed at the oblivious young man before him. "Haven't you been listening fool, there are no more Pokemon Centers! If people and Pokemon cannot survive on their own they have no place in this world! Those pathetic hovels of weakness were among the first things I leveled when I assumed my mantle as God. I forced all Pokemon in the world to fight to the death, and only those who were able to overcome all foes were granted the privilege of survival under my rule. I then waged war on humanity with my army of loyal Pokemon, and though few in number their power rivaled that of human armies! None could stand in my way, and soon, what was left of humanity, those whom I had graciously allowed to survive, worshiped me as their God. Enough talk petty human, your life shall now end, as I flay your flesh from your bones."

Gaius could see dark energy emanating from the figure's hand, energy that began to encompass Gaius and close in tight all around him. The energy manifested into black sand, which started to quickly swirl around Gaius in a funnel pattern. The sand began to cut into Gaius's clothing, tearing it to pieces as the sand cyclone increased in speed with each passing second. The young man could feel the sand and wind tearing into his flesh, leaving small cuts and nicks up and down his body where his clothes had already been destroyed. He tried to move forward to escape the damaging wind and sand, but he was unable to even move an inch of his body, completely being left at the mercy of the hooded man. "Wow, what a homecoming," Gaius thought, "I leave for two weeks and come home to find some mad man has killed most of the could such a thing happen?" The wind and sanded ripped deeper into Gaius's body, creating huge bleeding rips and gashes deep into his skin. He could feel his skin being peeled away layer by layer, and he knew he only had a few seconds until...

Gaius awoke, dripped in sweat and clutching at his heart. "Oh god," he thought out loud, "that was too real. It was as if my body was being ripped apart, and I could feel every cut, every nick, every gash that I suffered there." Gaius quickly ran his hands across his body, making sure that he was uninjured, and that it was just a dream. After the quick examination, he seemed perfectly unharmed, except for an aching headache. "Wow, I seem to be ok, but, I have never experienced a dream that intense before, not even the other nightmare was this bad." Gaius reached down, ready to recall his pokemon to their Pokeballs.

As Gaius moved his hand toward his Pokeballs, he could only feel four of them. Perplexed, Gaius looked down to see which Pokeball was missing. "Gengar, Beldum, Dragonite, Blaziken...that much mean...Munchlax!" He recalled his four Pokémon whose Pokeballs he had, and quickly started searching for Munchlax's missing Pokeball.
After twenty minutes of searching, Gaius pulled out his smart phone and loaded his Pokémon application, which had details about his items on hand, his Pokemons' moves, and a feature that allowed Gaius to track his Pokeballs using a chip that Gaius had installed inside each of them.

When the application loaded, it signaled that Munchlax's Pokeball was close. As the trainer started looking again, with the application active, the signal strength increased if he began to walk in the direction of the Big Eater Pokémon. When Gaius moved closer to his Munchlax, the signal increased even more, until the signal was at maximum strength when Gaius was standing directly over his Pokémon. Gaius looked under his Pokémon, and in the immediate area surrounding it, but both searches proved fruitless, leaving the Pokeball unable to be found. Gaius began to think that his application was malfunctioning, until the answer finally dawned on him.

"Munchlax," Gaius yelled, angrily shaking his Pokémon, "did you eat your Pokeball?"

"Munch," the Pokémon replied, seemingly oblivious to the question. Munchlax then opened his mouth, asking for food and allowing Gaius to take a look inside.

"Hmm," Gaius muttered as he peered inside his Pokemon's mouth, "I can't see your Pokeball in there, but it could already be in your stomach. It's a good thing that Pokeballs are tougher than they look. I think that Professor Oak in Pallet Town should be able to help me retrieve your Pokeball, and, since you don't seem to be in any pain it's not an emergency by any means. We should be in Pallet soon, so just don't eat anyone else's ball, ok?"

"Munchlax!" The Pokémon cheered as soon as Gaius finished speaking. After twenty seconds of standing still, the normal Pokémon started to wander off, most likely looking for something to eat.
"Never mind, Munchlax." Gaius sighed, as he watched his Pokémon walk away. "It's not like you are just going to start listening to me, so I seriously don't know why I bother to try and get through to you." Gaius then thought of a way to placate his Big Eater Pokémon, even though it would be a total fabrication. "Hey Munchlax, I hear Professor Oak has tons of gourmet Pokémon food, and that he loves giving to Pokémon just like you. So, the faster we get there, the faster you can eat. Does that sound good to you?"

"Munchlax!" The Pokémon yelled, excited by the mention of unlimited food. He then ran back to Gaius, and quickly started following his master once again.

"Good Munchlax, I thought that would sound good to you. Be sure to follow me and keep up, I know you can't walk fast with a full stomach, but I'm sure you have motivation to try." Gaius started back on the path towards Pallet Town, with his Munchlax obediently following behind him.

The pair walked in the direction of Pallet Town, stopping only when Gaius noticed a small river that ran horizontally in front of him. The area around the river looked peaceful and at ease. Gaius walked closer to the river and looked down into the water. The water was a pure color of blue, allowing the trainer to see his reflection perfectly in the water. 'This area looks so peaceful,' Gaius thought. There was a small bridge for trainers to cross, but the young trainer decided that this spot would be perfect for Munchlax and him to take a rest. The trainer sat down and laid on his back, watching white, puffy clouds effortlessly float overhead. After twenty minutes of resting, Gaius remembered something that he had packed, although he had not had a chance to use it yet.

The trainer quickly stood and began to rifle through his bag. He sifted through a few sets of clothes, several empty Pokeballs, some cans of food and soda that he had stowed for his brief trip to Pallet Town, and, finally, he found what he was looking for at the bottom of his bag. Gaius reached down and pulled out a small, collapsible fishing rod. 'I bet there has to be some water type Pokemon that are in this big river, I should see what kind of Pokemon I can find.'

Gaius slowly cast the fishing rod into the water, patiently waiting for a bite as Munchlax stood next to his trainer, waiting to battle any Pokemon that happened to appear. The young man waited several minutes, while no indication of any Pokemon in the river nor a tug on his lure occurred. After five additional minutes, Gaius pulled back his rod, moved down the river, further from the bridge, and recast the line again. 'I really hope I at least find some kind of Pokemon while fishing. I know I'm not much of a fishing expert, but I don't think fishing is this hard.' As ten minutes passed by at the new fishing spot, Gaius felt a hard tug on his fishing rod.

The trainer began to wind in his line while pulling hard on the fishing rod, hoping to yank his first catch out of the water with one tug. However, whatever that was on the fishing line had a different idea. Gaius felt his line being resisted as the Pokemon that he had hooked began to thrash about underwater, causing his fishing line to jerk erratically back and forth. The trainer then slacked his pull on the fishing line for a moment, before quickly trying to pull his catch up above the water. After over a minute of fighting with the Pokemon on the other end, the novice fishermen succeeded in bringing the Pokemon to land.

The Pokemon that Gaius had reeled in had a small, round, blue body with two frail looking legs at the bottom of its circular body. In the middle of the Pokemon's stomach, there was a white circular patch, with a black swirl pattern that curved in on itself until it reached the center of its stomach. Gaius noticed a tail that extended from behind the Pokemon's body that was quite large compared to the Pokemon's body. The tail was colored several shades of blue lighter than its body and it seemed to be able to propel the Pokemon very fast in the water. On top of its body, the Pokemon had a small pair of pink lips, with a small pair of eyes located above the lips. There did not appear to be any sort of nose or ears on the Pokemon, which made Gaius wonder how such a Pokemon could receive commands from a trainer, or hear the cries of other Pokemon.

"Hm," Gaius mused as he examined the Pokemon, trying to surmise what species of Pokemon he was dealing with. "Small, blue round Pokemon, probably water type. You also have a white pattern with a black swirl. I'm pretty sure I've looked up your information before, you must be a Poliwag. Your final evolution is either Poliwrath when exposed to a Water Stone or Politoed if you're exposed to a King's Rock found in Johto. Your branched evolution path would give me a choice of which Pokemon I would want more based on the other types on my team. I'm sure you would be useful to me, as I don't have any water type Pokemon yet." The trainer smiled and prepared to issue commands to Munchlax.

"Munchlax, use Chip Away!" Gaius hoped he could end the battle quickly, so that he could move on to Pallet Town. 'I know Chip Away deals continual damage, hopefully my Munchlax will be able to wear down Poliwag's stamina until I can capture it.'

The normal type Pokemon ran towards the small water type and began to claw at the Pokemon's body with its claws. The assault continued relentlessly for thirty seconds of consistent attacks. After the attack was finished, Munchlax stepped back, waiting for his trainer's next command.

Poliwag looked damaged from the attack, but the Pokemon seemed that it was far from finished. "Wag, Poliwag," the creature yelled, while readying an attack. A stream of bubbles shot out of the water Pokemon's mouth aimed directly at Munchlax. The big eater Pokemon seemed slightly hurt from the Bubble attack, but not nearly enough for Gaius to recall his Pokemon.

"Munchlax, that Bubble attack shouldn't have damaged you too much. Counter-attack with Metronome." 'I know Metronome is unpredictable, but let's see what kind of luck I have today!' Gaius patiently waited for his Pokemon to attack.

The normal type Pokemon slowly waved his fingers back and forth. His fingers began to glow as he kept moving them, slowly chanting its own name. "Munch...lax, Munchlax," the Pokemon muttered. After twenty seconds of preparing for an attack, Munchlax's fingers stopped moving. A strong stream of water shot from the Pokemon's mouth. The stream of water was aimed directly at Poliwag's face.

The Water Gun attack struck Poliwag, causing the Pokemon to fall backwards for a moment before the Pokemon regained its composure. The attack seemed to not damage the wild Pokemon that much. "Poliwag!" The Pokemon yelled as he rushed towards Munchlax. Poliwag turned as he neared Munchlax, slapping the normal type Pokemon twice with its large tail.

Munchlax seemed slightly damaged by the attack but was still ready to continue battling. Gaius looked towards his Pokemon, hoping that the battle would end soon. "Munchlax, try to finish off Poliwag. It's time for a Tackle attack! I know that you have more powerful moves in your arsenal, but you have to remember to only severely weaken the Pokemon, but not knock it out."

The normal type Pokemon ran towards Poliwag and jumped into the air, its body aimed towards the water type Pokemon. Munchlax struck Poliwag with its body, causing the Tadpole Pokemon to be knocked back several feet. Poliwag appeared to be quite injured from the latest assault, as it began to wobble back and forth barely able to stand.

"Yes,' Gaius exclaimed, happy at seeing the wild Pokemon's weakened condition. "It's time to try and capture you. Pokeball, go!" The young trainer reached into his bag and pulled out an empty Pokeball. He then threw the ball at the weakened Poliwag and watched as the Pokemon got sucked inside. The Pokeball shook for several seconds, until a small clicking noise could be heard, signifying the Pokemon's capture. "You're mine now, Poliwag," Gaius exclaimed.

As Gaius moved forward to pick up his newly acquired Pokemon, the Pokeball suddenly shrunk back to its miniature size. The trainer picked up the Pokeball and tried to enlarge it, however the Pokeball did not respond when he pressed the button for it to enlarge. He then noticed that there was a bright red light on the button of the Pokeball, something that his other Pokeballs did not have. 'Hm, I forgot that Poliwag would be my seventh Pokemon and that trainers are only allowed to have six with them. I guess I'm unable to use Poliwag until I find somewhere to store my excess Pokemon at. Oy veh, I'll see if Professor Oak or someone in Pendragon can look after my Pokemon for me.'

"We might as well get going to Pallet Town, Munchlax. The sooner that we get there, the sooner you can get your Pokeball removed." Gaius packed up his collapsible rod and stuffed it back into his pack. The trainer picked up his backpack and hoisted it onto his back, preparing to depart the river and make his way to his next destination. The trainer began to walk across the bridge that separated the banks of the lake, until he heard an odd splashing sound behind him. Gaius turned backwards and saw another Poliwag that had jumped out of the river.

The second Tadpole Pokemon began to look around the side of the river that Gaius was fishing on, as if he was looking for something that he had lost. Seemingly not finding what it was looking for, the water type Pokemon continued to walk back and forth along the side of the river, occasionally saying its name every few steps.

Gaius quickly ran back to the side of the bridge so he could get closer to the second Poliwag. He crept close to the riverbank where the Pokemon was walking, making sure to not make a sound until he was only a few feet away from the wild Pokemon. 'If I can capture this one, as well, I'll have a pair. That will allow be to train both a Poliwrath and a Politoed, expanding my Pokemon collection even more. "Hey, Poliwag," Gaius yelled to the wild Pokemon. "What are you looking for?"

The Pokemon quickly turned and looked at Gaius. "Wag, Poli, Poliwag-wag. Poli!" The water type Pokemon looked angrily at Gaius and moved closer, almost as if the trainer had what the Pokemon was looking for. Poliwag began to look like it was getting ready for battle as it continued yelling its name at Gaius.

"Oh, I think I know what you might be looking for," Gaius slyly replied. The trainer quickly pulled out Poliwag's Pokemon and waved it in front of the wild Pokemon. "I captured another Poliwag a few minutes ago. Was that one your friend, or something? If you two were close or something, then I'm sorry, but he's mine now. Nothing you can do will free him from my Pokeball. I can't even open it myself right now, since he's my seventh Pokemon."

The wild Pokemon looked downcast, as if it was sad when it heard the news about the other Poliwag being captured. The second Poliwag began to draw closer to Gaius, wanting to see its imprisoned friend. The tadpole Pokemon began to yell its name, "Poliwag, wag, wag, Poli!" When Gaius did not move or let his friend go free, the Pokemon began to cry.

"Now, now, Poliwag. You don't have to be sad. It's true that I captured your Poliwag friend, but you two can still be friends. If I was able to, I'd at least let your friend come out so he could see you before we had to go, but I can't. Look at this, Poliwag, you'll see it's impossible for me to show you your friend." Gaius reached down towards Poliwag's Pokeball and pressed the small, red button. When nothing occurred, he showed Poliwag the Pokeball and pressed the button again. "Ya see, I can't let your friend out to say goodbye, but, I might have another arrangement that might make you happy. If you want, you could come along with me so that you and your friend can still be friends and be together. Although I'll probably only have one of you on my team at a time, whenever both of you aren't with me, you can stay and play wherever all you want. I know that you weren't really looking to become a trainer's Pokemon, but that's the only way for you guys to stay together. So, what do you say?"

The Poliwag looked down towards the ground, seemingly thinking over
Gaius's proposition. The Pokemon then paced back and forth for several minutes as it continued to think. After more pacing and contemplation, the wild Pokemon turned back towards the trainer. Poliwag walked close to Gaius and began to nod its head, signifying that it had accepted the trainer's offer of staying with his friend.

Gaius smiled wide as he pulled out a Pokeball. "Good, I'm glad that you decided to accept my offer. I'm sure that you and your friend will be having fun in no time. We just have to get to Pallet Town, and I'll see if he can keep my Pokemon for me while I'm on my journey. It shouldn't be too long til we're there, so you can just rest peacefully in this Pokeball til then." The trainer pulled out another empty Pokeball from his bag and threw it at the wild Poliwag. The ball wiggled back and forth three times and then a clicking noise was made, indicating the Pokemon's capture. The second Poliwag's Pokeball stayed shrunken and a red dot appeared on the Pokeball's button, just as it had on the first Poliwag's. "How excellent," Gaius said joyfully, "I've gotten two Pokemon in under twenty minutes and I didn't even have to battle one of them. I should seriously congratulate myself, I had no idea that I could be that persuasive. Until I pick up another powerful water Pokemon, I'm definitely going to be keeping one on my team, so the Poliwag play-date may have to wait for a long time." Gaius smiled and turned to his Munchlax. "Come on, let's get to Pallet Town. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can find a way to remove that Pokeball in your stomach. You do want it removed, don't you?"

"Munchlax," his Pokemon yelled, seemingly agreeing with its trainer.

The pair walked towards Pallet Town, with Gaius's Pokemon collection increased by two.
Chapter 3: Tales in a Blank City

After an hour past their capture of the two Poliwag, Gaius found himself on the outskirts of Pallet Town, where he could see various farms and ranches, each apparently with their own specialty or focus. "I'd love to be able to check these ranches out in more detail, but right now I need to get Munchlax to Professor Oak's," Gaius muttered aloud in disappointment, "I only wish this Pokémon would actually listen to me. None of my other Pokémon, some of whom are even much more powerful, have been this much trouble to deal with."

"Lax.....Munch...." Munchlax looked up at its trainer, its pace beginning to slow and his head began to tilt towards the ground. Munchlax was once again tired, desiring to take a rest.

Gaius looked down at his big eater Pokemon, and sighed. "I know you don't like to walk that much, Munchlax, but since you ate your Pokeball, you don't exactly have another option here. If only you did not eat your own Pokeball, then you'd just be sitting comfortably inside your ball while I actually did all the walking. I'll let you rest for a while, but then we really have to pick up the pace. Honestly, I could use a bit of a nap myself." The trainer looked around, and found a nice patch of grass to the right of the road. 'This place looks about as good as any,' Gaius laughed. 'I guess that's one of the perks to being out in the wilderness, being able to sleep wherever you want.' Gaius slowly laid down, using his backpack as a pillow to rest his head. Munchlax then joined his trainer, laying on his backside several feet away from the human.

Gaius soon fell asleep and, thankfully for him, he was not plagued with any bad dreams. When the young trainer awoke, he could tell that several hours had passed as the sun had moved from its directly overhead position to far off to the right side of the sky. 'Wow, I wasn't really intending to sleep that much, but, I guess, with all of my bad dreams that I've been having, I'm a bit sleep deprived.' The trainer then noticed his normal type Pokemon, who was still lying on its back, fast asleep. 'Hm...what's a fast way I could get this Pokemon to wake up,' Gaius mused.

"Come'on Munchlax, time to wake up. I have food for you. The sooner you wake up and get to Pallet Town, the sooner I'll ask the famous Professor Oak to make you some Pokemon food made specifically for your Pokemon type. So, I'd get there fast, if I were you." Gaius reached into his pocket and put a small handful of Pokemon food in front of the Big Eater Pokemon.

As Gaius mentioned the word "food", Munchlax's eyes flew open. As soon as he saw the bites of food that his trainer was offering, Munchlax began to drool from his mouth, waiting, as if he were a trained dog, for Gaius to tell him it was time to eat.
"Okay buddy, dig in." Gaius yelled, allowing the Pokemon to consume the meal.

Munchlax devoured the serving of Pokemon food within seconds, a feat which would take a normal Pokemon at least several minutes to complete. After the food had quickly vanished, Munchlax looked up at his trainer, eagerly waiting another meal. Over the few days that Gaius and Munchlax had been reunited, the trainer had tried to teach Munchlax that it did not actually need to consume as much food as it liked to, citing an online report that Munchlax suffer from a form of PWS, in that no matter how much Munchlax ate, they never felt full.

"No, no," Gaius scolded Munchlax. The Pokemon looked as if it were awaiting scraps from a dinner table. "You have enough food for a few hours. If we get to Pallet Town by dinnertime, I'll see what I can do about the special Pokemon food. So, let's get going." Gaius began walking back the way he came, back towards the path to Pallet Town. Even though his diversion for a quick nap turned into several hours, there was only a short walk left until they were close to Pallet Town.

That was good, considering his Pokemon's appetite. Despite the small diversion, the sky was beginning to get dark. Gaius was unsure how late Professor Oak worked at night, so he decided to find some temporary lodging once he got into town. Gaius glanced at his Pokeballs and remarked, "I'll feed you guys when we get to Pallet Town. I know you all aren't as hungry as Munchlax is."

Within thirty minutes, Gaius could see the outlines of buildings in Pallet Town. He quickly hurried, and in a few minutes he found himself on the main road in the city. There were numerous houses up and down the main residential street, each home having a small front yard that allowed for a few inches of space for gardens or other small objects.

As Gaius continued down the dirt path, he saw a large building, with a sign sticking out above the door. The sign read "Pallet Town Inn." Gaius walked closed to the building, and noticed a small plaque next to a red door on the front of the building. Gaius read the plaque aloud, "a perfect place to rest for those starting their journey, or those heading on to Cinnabar Island." Gaius had heard about Cinnabar Island, but had never actually went there himself. Gaius pondered openly. "Hm..maybe I'll go to Cinnabar Island for my last badge. I hear the Gym Leader there is quite challenging. His name's Blaze, or something like that, if I remember my gym research properly."

After a moment of dreaming about his gym battle, Gaius entered the Inn, leaving his Munchlax outside while the trainer checked indoors. Behind the counter in the inn, there was a young looking woman, about Gaius's age. She was currently looking over a paperback book, while also reading a large textbook. It had seemed like she was not expecting any guests at this hour, so Gaius decided to take a few moments to examine her and his surroundings before he would make his presence known.

The woman had long black hair, that seemingly ended midway down her back, pale green eyes, and a fair complexion. She appeared relatively thin, compared to most girls and their average body weight, and was a few inches shorter than Gaius. The young woman was wearing a bright yellow sundress, which was casual, however it also had an air of sophistication about it, as if it was part of some inn uniform. Gaius quickly noticed a reflection of light, which his eyes led him to a bright bronze-colored name-tag on the woman's chest. On the name-tag, "Melody" was inscribed, with the words "Reception/Maid" placed underneath the name.

Gaius quickly glanced around the room, trying to see if there were any other signs of life, or other workers he could speak to, if this, "Melody" was too busy to help him get a room. He noticed a flight of stairs to his right, that presumably led to several guest rooms which were available for rent. There was a small bulletin board to to Gaius's right, on the wall next to the reception desk. The board had various fliers or posters attached. but Gaius was too far away to be able to read the details of any of the fliers or other paperwork. In front of Melody, beyond the two books which she was currently reading, there lay a large book, seemingly for guests to check in and request a room.

After finishing his surveillance of the reception area, Gaius politely coughed, hoping that Melody would get the message, look up, and assist him in obtaining a room. However, after Gaius's loud cough, Melody seemed unfazed, as if she had not heard anything at all. Gaius waited a few moments, seeing if Melody had a delayed reaction to his cough, but still, she stood, there reading two books at once. The trainer decided he would have to be a bit more direct to get Melody's attention."Hello," Gaius said loudly, his voice booming, "I'd like to get a room for the night, if that's possible."

The young woman quickly looked up from her books, and smiled. A small blush started to form on her cheeks, as it seemingly dawned on her that Gaius could have been waiting for several minutes. "Hi, I'm Melody. Welcome to the Pallet Town Inn. If you only need a room for one night, it's free of charge, assuming you have a Pokemon with you." Melody paused, and her eyes looked left, as if she was trying to remember something that she forgot to explain. After a few seconds, she began to speak again. "The Pallet Town Inn is funded by non-trainer guests, or Pokemon trainers who stay more than one night. Because of this, we can give weary Pokemon trainers a free place to stay if they only need a brief respite from their journey. Are you a Pokemon trainer, or how do you plan on paying for your stay?"

Gaius lifted up the bottom of his black jacket, revealing the Pokeballs he kept attached to his belt. "I assume proof of owning Pokeballs is enough to get me a room?" Gaius hoped he wouldn't have to go through much in order to get a free room. Granted, he had enough to pay for a room. In fact, he probably had enough to buy the whole inn, but still, Gaius was trying to be as frugal as possible. Gaius stood in front of the counter, waiting for the receptionist's response.

"Oh, so you are a Pokemon trainer?" Melody asked, seeing Gaius's Pokeballs on his belt. "Since you only want to stay for one night, the room is free of charge. If your Pokemon are tired or need healing, we have a Pokemon healing machine located at the back of the main lobby, to the left of the reception counter." Melody pointed to her right, indicating where the machine was. "May I ask your reason for stopping in Pallet Town? Are you just starting your journey, are you on your way to Cinnabar Island, or are you just in the neighborhood?"

Gaius thought for a moment, and then responded. "I just started my Pokemon journey a few weeks ago from my hometown of Pendragon. I got a recommendation to stop by in Pallet Town to see Professor Oak, so he could possibly give me an official starter Pokemon. Along the way, my Munchlax ate its own Pokeball, and I can't seem to find a way to remove it, and I don't want to wait until it comes out naturally. I hope that the Professor has a way of helping me to retrieve the Pokeball." Gaius paused for a second, and then he continued speaking. "Actually, do you know if your inn's healing machine can work to remove the Pokeball from Munchlax?"

"No, unfortunately our machine just heals Pokemon that our inside their Pokeballs. However, I'm sure Professor Oak can do something to help. He's one of the region's best Pokemon experts. Normally he's asleep at this time of night, but I'm sure you can see him tomorrow. Tomorrow happens to be the day when new trainers get their first Pokemon, so I bet his doors will be open bright and early for all of the new eager trainers. You might be able to get a Pokedex from him, even though you already have several Pokemon." Melody paused, and then bent down behind the counter. After a few seconds, she arose, and Gaius could see she was holding a small brown key in her hand. "Your room is up the stairs, and is the second door on your left. Breakfast is served at 8 AM, and our Pokemon healing machine in the lobby is open twenty-four hours a day. I hope you enjoy your stay at the Pallet Town Inn." Melody then placed the key on the desk, and went back to reading.

Gaius stepped forward, his Munchlax in tow, and picked up the room key. He disliked the idea of staying in a homey inn, but at least he had a nice bed to sleep in. Gaius wondered what it would be like if he could actually sleep in a normal trainer's rest spot. 'I'm surprised they don't have a Pokemon Center or something in town, like we do. I guess they're too small to bother with.' Gaius then followed Melody's instructions and headed up the stairs, and used his key to open the second door on his left.

When Gaius looked into the room, the first thing he saw was a quaint twin bed that was tucked in the far right corner of the room. The room's walls were robin-egg blue, and the floor was clad in cream colored carpet. At first look, the room appeared clean, although Gaius could see several red stains at various locations on the carpet. The twin bed had a dark maroon comforter and two pillows near the head of the bed. There were angel white pillowcases that covered the pillows, and, as Gaius lifted up the comforter, he could see that there was a dark grey sheet on top of the mattress. Gaius's eyes once again looked towards the red stains on the carpet, and his eyes finally drifted upward, towards the ceiling. The ceiling was a shade of azure blue. Gaius could also see a pair of dark brown oval-shaped water marks on the ceiling.

'Wow, I can't see how anyone would willingly want to stay here. At least it's free'. Gaius noticed a small desk with several drawers in the far left corner of the room. The desk had a small television set sitting on the left side, and a small table lamp on the right side. Thoroughly bored, given that he could not do any training or battle practice while in his room, Gaius decided to turn on the television. He decided to select a Pokemon news and battle channel on the television's remote control. 'Even if I can't train, I can still try and see if I can learn anything interesting,' he thought, as he sat on the bed to watch the television.

Currently, the channel seemed to be covering a special league battle between a Gengar and a Nidorino. The Nidorino seemed to try a Tackle attack on the Gengar, and then the pink Pokemon followed up with a Horn Attack. The ghost Pokemon easily avoided both normal type attacks, and jumped on the Nidorino's head, seemingly trying to make fun of the other Pokemon's lack of success. Gaius looked away from the television and shook his head, almost ashamed for Nidorino's trainer. 'Wow, I wonder why Nidorino's owner didn't use a poison type attack. Any decent trainer at all would know normal type cannot hit ghost type Pokemon. I guess Gengar's owner is going to have an easy victory.'

When Gaius once again looked at the battle, he could see Gengar using a Hypnosis attack, which quickly put Nidorino to sleep. Nidorino's trainer then raised its Pokeball, and recalled his Pokemon. As the trainer was about to choose another Pokemon to send into the battle, Gaius sighed, and turned off the television. 'No thanks, I don't want to see what pathetic Pokemon you send out next. With your first choice in moves, I'll bet you'll send a Tauros into battle.'

Gaius sighed again, feeling annoyed that there was nothing worth his time on the TV. He walked back towards the bed and collapsed, back first, onto it. The trainer had not even cared to get under the blanket. His Munchlax sat on the floor, leaning against the foot of the bed, and started to sleep. Gaius began to follow his Pokemon's lead, as the trainer closed his eyes, slowly drifting off into sleep. When the trainer awoke, he could hear the sound of three loud birds cawing, as if to signal the dawn of a new day.

Gaius stretched as he exited the bed, and began to change his clothes for the day. After he was changed, and the rest of his morning routine accomplished, he grabbed his backpack and walked downstairs. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, Gaius saw Melody casually sitting behind the reception desk, eating some scrambled eggs and a few pieces of bacon. The trainer waited until the girl had her mouth free of food before he revealed his presence and began to speak. "Hello, I'm going to check out today, thank you for the free night." Gaius smiled slightly, and then continued speaking. "However, you should really clean the carpet and ceiling of the room I stayed in. It looked pretty gross with the stains everywhere. You're pretty lucky I wasn't a paying guest, otherwise I'd demand a refund." As he finished speaking, Gaius quickly turned, his Munchlax in tow, and exited the inn before Melody had a chance to respond to his critique.

The trainer then headed down the main road in Pallet Town, and could see in the distance a large building situated on a hill. As Gaius continued on the path, he could hear the sound of yeling and running behind him. He turned, and saw a young boy, no older than twelve, running towards him. The boy was clad in a pair of light green pajamas that featured a yellow stripe down the middle of the shirt. As the young boy ran towards Gaius, the runner almost collided into the trainer, causing him to jump back several feet to get out of the boy's path. After the near collision, the boy turned, stopping to address Gaius.

"Hey," the young boy said, "you should watch where you're going. Don't just go standing in the middle of the road. I could've ran into you, and I can't let anything stop me today!" The young boy turned away from Gaius, preparing to continue his run towards the building, when Gaius spoke up,

"You know, since it was you who almost ran into me, perhaps you owe me an apology. Furthermore, why are you in such a hurry anyway, I'm sure whatever you're doing doesn't have to be done at extreme speed." Gaius shook his head at the young boy, surprised by his lack of courtesy. 'Whatever he's planning on doing, he should learn to slow down.'

"Oh, yeah," the young boy responded, acknowledging his mistake, "I'm sorry about that. My name's Ash Ketchum, and I live here in Pallet Town. I'm just in such a hurry to get my first Pokemon. I'm going to get a Squirtle from Professor Oak, and then I'm going to start my own Pokemon journey!"

Gaius chuckled, surprised by the young boy's ambitions. "Shouldn't you be a bit older to start your own Pokemon journey, you're like, what...only 12 years old? Wait until you're a teenager, then you'll be able to research what Pokemon you're interested in before you start out. I, myself, am a Pokemon trainer, and I just started out a few weeks ago. I know I could have started when I was younger, but, at least now I have researched pretty much every Pokemon int he Kanto region, so if I ever see a Pokemon in the wild from Kanto, I can instantly decide if it's worth catching or not."

"Wow, Mister, you seem really smart. I bet you have all sorts of cool Pokemon. Do you mind if I get a look at them?" Ash asked, excited by the prospect of interacting with Gaius's Pokemon. "By the way, what's your name? I don't want to have to call you Mister this whole conversation."

"Oh," Gaius replied, remembering that he had not yet given his name. The trainer figured that he could indulge the young boy's wish. 'Perhaps he'll learn something about staying out of people's way if I feign friendship.' "My name's Gaius, Gaius Vi Britannia. I come from a small, overcast town Northwest of here called Pendragon. At the moment, I have a Gengar, Beldum, Tyranitar, Dragonite, Munchlax, Blaziken, and two Poliwag. Munchlax is the baby form of Snorlax, and Beldum, Tyranitar, and Blaziken are from outside of Kanto. If you want, I can show them all to you. My Munchlax is the Pokemon that's behind me." Gaius watched as his Munchlax stepped forward to introduce itself to the young boy.

"Wow, thanks 'Gay-us'," Ash replied, mispronouncing Gaius's name. "You seem like a pretty cool guy, I'm sorry for running into you. Can we be friends?" Ash extended his right hand for Gaius to shake.

"Well, it's 'Guy-s'," Gaius replied, slowly spacing the syllables of his name so Ash would catch on. "Yeah, I guess we can be friends. Maybe you can travel with me after you get a Pokemon, you might learn a thing or two from watching my amazing skills in battle." Gaius reached out and began to shake Ash's hand, however, as he shook, Gaius's mind began to be bombarded with a million images all within a second. He saw this young boy, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, travel across the land, battling trainers and collecting all eight Kanto Gym Badges.
He then could see the faces of hundreds of people Ash helped along his journey, and he could see the all of the various Pokemon he would encounter as well. Several particular Pokemon images seemed to surface above the rest. Images of a quadruped best cloaked in fire, a blue beast that could run on water, and a yellow striped Pokemon that controlled thunder and lightning. His mind was also focused on a pair of Pokemon that were grouped together. One was almost white, with a long, round purple tail that extended behind it. The other Pokemon was a small, pink creature that had a thin, long tail. Gaius could somehow feel the immense power of the two Pokemon, and, as his mind continued to be flooded with images, he could feel himself beginning to black out. A dark aura began to surround Gaius, and his eyes became as black as a star-less night.

When Ash saw the strange aura surround his new friend, he quickly withdrew his hand and stepped back several feet. "Woah, are you ok, Gaius?" He asked. "What's going on, is this some sort of trick or something? If it is, knock it off, it's kind of creepy." Ash began to take another few steps away from Gaius, hoping he could get away if anything else strange happened.

"No!" Gaius shouted, in a dark and deep tone, "you must not be allowed to live. I have seen into your future, and I know the damage that you will inflict to my plans. I'm sorry, 'Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town' but that was the last time you'll ever be able to say those words!" Gaius raised his left hand, and the dark aura that surrounded Gaius began to intensify itself and grow darker around his palm. "Prepare to die, Ash Ketchum. I hereby end your life so that my plan can be fulfilled!" Gaius lifted his hand higher, and an aura surrounded Ash.

The young boy tried to squirm, and tried to run away, but his feet seemed to be locked in place. "Whatever you're doing, stop it. This isn't normal. You should see Professor Oak, he may be able to help you stop whatever is going on with you. C'mon Gaius, let me go and we can go visit Professor Oak together." The young boy begged for Gaius to listen to reason, although, deep down, Ash knew that his life could be nearing its end.

"I'm the only one who will be making it to Oak's today, Ash. You, however, will just die right here." Gaius clenched his left hand into a fist, and Ash began to clutch as his throat, as if he was being choked. "If only you would have gotten up on time, Ash, you could have not ran into me at all. However, I guess, fate wants you to die by my hand."

Ash grasped again and again at his throat. He found himself unable to breathe, or even speak. As he could feel his last gasp of air leave his lungs, he began to think about what dying would actually mean. 'It can't all end here, I have to be a Pokemon trainer. I need to grow up, catch every Pokemon in the world and become an official Pokemon Master. No, I cant die now!' Ash's hands then fell from around his throat, and began to hang loosely at his sides. Ash Ketchum, the boy who, in another timeline, would be pivotal in many important events, died.

"I guess you were never able to 'Ketchum' all, huh, Ash?" Gaius yelled playfully as he saw Ash draw his last breath. 'Now, time to dispose of the body.' Gaius quickly waved his right hand, and Ash's body vanished, as if the young boy was never there. He then heard a loud rustling noise, and the young trainer turned and could see his Munchlax running away as fast as it could. Gaius reached down onto his belt, and tried to find Munchlax's Pokeball. After a moment of looking, he remembered where the Pokeball was. "You had to eat that Pokeball, didn't you, you pathetic fool." He pointed his hand, fingers outstretched, in Munchlax's direction. An aura surrounded the normal type Pokemon, and slowly lifted it a few feet in the air.

The Pokemon still tried to move its feet to continue running, but then it looked down and found itself unable to run. "Munch?" The Pokemon asked, seemingly trying to make sense of how this was possible. The Pokemon then began to panic and yell loudly while flailing its arms and legs about.

Gaius calmly turned his left hand palm side up, and moved his four fingers towards himself until they were at a forty-five degree angle. Munchlax began to fly back towards Gaius, to which the Pokemon responded with more trashing and flailing. When the Pokemon was only inches away from Gaius, the trainer waved his hand in a circle and the Pokemon turned to face him. "I would hope that since this is the second time you've witnessed my power, you would know that you should not try to escape. If you ever try to run away again, or if you ever disobey a command I issue, you will end up just like that young boy." Gaius looked in the direction where Ash used to be. "Do you understand me," Gaius asked the Pokemon, "I would prefer it if I did not have to kill you."

"Munch....lax," the Pokemon replied, slowly nodding his head as much as he could within the aura. The Pokemon did not want to comply with the demands of this strange side of his owner, however, the Pokemon knew he had to do so if he wanted to survive.

"Good, now that we have that settled." Gaius lowered his left hand to his side, and the aura that surrounded Munchlax and Gaius dissipated. Gaius bowed his head, and,suddenly, the trainer's eyes returned to their normal color. He slowly raised his head, and clutched his right temple with his right hand. Gaius could feel an immense pain in his head, as if someone had opened his skull, hammered his brain, and then closed the hole in his head with superglue. Never before had he felt such pain in his entire life.

"Oh, my god, what happened to my head?" he asked aloud. 'I wonder what happened. Did I fall down and hit my head on something? The last thing I can remember is talking to the young kid named Ash. He was fawning over my Pokemon and I was about to show him my other Pokemon besides Munchlax.' Gaius quickly looked around, and saw that Ash was nowhere to be seen. However, Gaius turned around and saw Munchlax standing a few feet behind its trainer, silently looking towards the ground. 'I wonder where Ash went,' the trainer wondered, 'maybe he ran off to Professor Oak's after I collapsed in order to get help. I'll just call and see if he's there. If so, I'll let them know I'm ok. I really need to meet Professor Oak today, and I can't allow any foolish things to come in the way, like an unneeded visit to the hospital. I don't even know where the closest hospital even is around here.' Gaius sighed, his head pain slowly began to diminish as minutes ticked by. The young trainer reached into his pocket, and pulled out his cell phone. He quickly looked up Professor Oak's phone number and dialed his phone. Within a few rings, Gaius could hear an old voice on the other end.

"Hello, this is Professor Samuel Oak of the Pallet Town Pokemon lab. I'm currently not by the phone. I may be helping a Pokemon trainer, or I may be out in the backyard making my daily rounds. Please leave a message after the beep. If you are a new trainer who wishes to pick up a starting Pokemon today, I regret to inform you that all of our starter Pokemon have already been given out this year. If you happen to get a Pokemon as a gift from a parent, or other family member, please stop by so I can get you registered. Otherwise, please come back next year, and be sure to get up early!" Gaius could then hear a loud beep on the phone. Instead of leaving a message, the trainer hung up the phone, and stuffed it back into his pocket.

'If the Professor isn't answering the phone, he could already be talking to Ash. Or, he could even be calling an ambulance to come and see if I'm still lying in the middle of the road. I better hustle and get to the Pokemon Lab before Ash makes a fool out of me. How silly would it look if they send an ambulance and it turns out I just had a little dizzy spell.' Gaius quickened his pace and continued to walk in the direction of the Pokemon lab. Within ten minutes, he found himself at the bottom of a large hill. There seemed to be a large gathering of people who were congregated around the entrance of a path up the hill.

As Gaius drew near, he could hear a group of female voices shouting in a sing-song manner. "Gary, Gary he's our man, if he can't beat'em, no one can." Gaius began to mingle with the people in the crowd, some of which were having conversations with one another. From what he could overhear, all of their conversations had something to do with the "Gary" that was being sang about. When Gaius neared the front of the crowd, he could see a small group of young girls dressed in blue and white cheer-leading outfits. The cheerleaders began to cheer louder when a young boy, a little older than Ash, came walking down the path from the Pokemon Lab. The boy looked thin, had reddish-brown hair, and eyes that were a dark shade of spring green. He was clad in a light purple shirt, dark blue pants, and dark brown boots. The newcomer playfully waved towards the crowd, his entire demeanor having an aura of arrogance. The boy smiled for a minute, and then began to speak.

"Thank you fans, thank you all for this great honor! I promise you that I will become a Pokemon Master and will make the town of Pallet known all around the world!" The boy stopped for a moment, as he heard the sound of a car approaching the crowd. Within seconds, a red convertible sped down the path, and approached the car.

Gaius decided he could no longer sit idly by and watch the crowd; of both children and adults alike, cheer on this arrogant "Gary" without any sort of response. Gaius yelled towards the boy. "What is so great about you that demands such respect and admiration. From what I gather, you're just starting out on your journey, therefore, you have no actual experience to back up any of your bravado. You're just an empty suit spouting off nonsense hoping that someone believes your bull. Honestly if you expect anyone to have any faith in you or your wild assertions, you should prove that you posses an ounce of ability before making such ridiculous claims. I've only been a trainer for a little more than a month, and I bet I have more skill in battling Pokemon than you ever will."

The young boy turned towards Gaius, with a look of fire in his eyes. "How dare you talk to the great Gary Oak like that, you old man? If you didn't know, I'm the grandson of the great Samuel Oak, the Pokemon professor here in Pallet Town. I've just gotten the best Pokemon available to new trainers, and I bet it can wipe the floor with any of your pitiful Pokemon. I see you have a Munchlax behind you. Is that the best Pokemon you got, or is it just your cute special friend?" Gary sneered, and began to laugh. "It's just a baby Pokemon too, I can't believe anyone would openly display such a weak Pokemon. At least make it battle until it evolves, then perhaps you could walk around with Snorlax. Oh, wait, Snorlax don't move!" Gary laughed louder, and his group of cheerleaders began to laugh with him. "I'll just chalk up your remarks to lack of information. Surely you'd never insult the grandson of the great Pokemon professor if you were on your way to see him. That is why you're here, right?" Gary smiled mockingly at Gaius.

"Yes, I am here to see your grandfather, but I don't think a man as great as Professor Oak would appreciate having a spoiled brat for a grandson." A small hush fell over the crowd as Gaius finished his sentence. "If you think you're so great, I challenge you, right here, and right now. Let's see if you actually have the stones to take on an opponent on your first day as a Pokemon trainer. If you want to refuse, just say so, and we'll all know you as the coward that you actually are." Gaius laughed, and waited for Gary's response.

"Why, you..." Gary began to shout, almost cursing at Gaius. "Of course I'll battle you. I'm not afraid to take on any trainer. Your defeat is assured, use any Pokemon you want, and I'll still beat it with mine. Pick your Pokemon, and I'll show you that you have no right to insult Gary Oak!" Gary then crossed his arms, awaiting Gaius's choice of Pokemon.

"Since you seem to think my Munchlax is so weak," Gaius replied, looking back toward his Munchlax, "I'll use it in battle to defeat you!" Gaius then turned to his Munchlax. "Do you think you're up for a battle in your condition?" The trainer then smiled at his Pokemon, hoping it gave yes for an answer.

"Munchlax!" The big eater Pokemon yelled. Munchlax seemed to nod its head, while looking directly at Gary. The Pokemon walked a few feet, until it was standing in front of Gaius. Munchlax had a determined look in its eyes, almost as if it wanted to prove Gary wrong.

The crowd began to move away from both Gaius and Gary. The people slowly formed a line a few feet away from the two. Once all of the spectators were in place on both sides of the two trainers, Gary spoke.
"If you wanted a battle, you've got one!" Gary grabbed his newly obtained Pokeball from his pocked and hurled it onto the ground towards Gaius. The ball quickly opened, and a flash of white light signaled a Pokemon's appearance in battle. After the white light faded, a small blue Pokemon could be seen.

The Pokemon appeared to be similar to a tortoise, except while most tortoises are green in color, this Pokemon had light blue skin. It had two short, stubby legs, each with three toes, along with short arms, which had three fingers. The Pokemon also had a light yellow stomach, and Gaius could vaguely see a tail behind the Pokemon's backside. "Squirtle, Squirt!" The Pokemon yelled, joyously looking around at the world.

'That must be a Squirtle,' Gaius thought. 'That's a water type Pokemon. If Munchlax was a grass or electric type, I'd be having an incredibly easy battle. Well, I guess this battle couldn't be a total cakewalk. It wouldn't be any challenge if it was. Since he just got that Squirtle, I'm sure it barely knows any attacks. Therefore, this shouldn't be much of a hassle. Let's wrap this up quickly.' Gaius began to formulate a plan of attack to beat Squirtle.

Gary Oak stood defensively, eying his opposition. "Squirtle," Gary Oak yelled, "use Tackle attack. Then follow it up with Bubble!" The pokemon trainer then looked expectantly at his Pokemon, waiting for it to perform the attacks.

Gaius then waited a moment, before issuing an order to Munchlax. "Use Defense Curl. Then use Metronome attack!" Gaius knew that combining both offensive and defensive attacks would be a surefire way to victory. 'Let's see what will happen with Metronome. The attack can emulate any known attack. While it is slightly risky, it can also have huge rewards.'

Squirtle moved first, and the Pokemon pulled its head inside its brown shell. The Pokemon then lined its body up with Munchlax's and hurdled itself through the air. The blow seemed to rattle Munchlax, as it was knocked back several inches from the impact. After the Tackle attack, Squirtle's head popped out of its shell and it jumped backward to stand directly in front of his trainer once again. Moments later, the Pokemon shot several small bubbles at its mouth, and all of them were aimed at Munchlax. The normal type Pokemon seemed to shrug off the second attack, and was left unfazed.

Munchlax, still slightly rattled from the first attack, quickly grabbed its arms and legs and curled itself into a small ball. After a moment in that position, the Pokemon uncurled itself and stood up. Then, Munchlax began to wave its fingers back and forth. "Munch...lax," it repeated several times, as its fingers began to glow white. When the Pokemon's fingers stopped glowing, and three white rings of energy appeared above Munchlax, and then encircled the Pokemon. Small rocks then appeared out of the energy rings, and hovered over Squirtle, before finally crashing down on the water type Pokemon.

"Yes," Gaius yelled, happy that Metronome chose an offensive attack. "That was Rock Slide. It wasn't super effective, but, still, your Squirtle seems to already be in trouble. I wonder how you're going to be able to battle wild Pokemon if your Squirtle can't handle a simple trainer battle! Perhaps you should go to Pokemon School, young child." Gaius laughed, reveling in his current success in the battle.

"Don't count me out of it yet, you old man!" Gary yelled, defiantly. "I learned a lot about Pokemon from my grandfather. In case you forgot, he's the premier authority on Pokemon in this whole region! Just because of that, I'm already miles ahead of any other trainer, including you!"

Gaius smiled and laughed again. The older trainer began to shake his head as he began to speak. "Your lineage has nothing to do with being a successful Pokemon trainer. Just because your grandfather is famous, that doesn't automatically mean you inherited any of his skill." Gaius paused, thought for a moment, and then began to speak again. "Speaking of your family, why don't you ever speak of your father or mother? I guess they're not famous, so you don't get any respect just by throwing their names around." Gaius smiled, and laughed. He then noticed Gary bite his lip and he knew his words had an effect on the young boy.

Gary looked down toward the ground, seemingly forgetting he was in the middle of a Pokemon battle. As he started to speak, his voice came out broken, as if he was holding back tears. " mother and father are dead. They passed away, a long time ago. I was raised by my grandfather since I was just a kid." Gary raised his hand to cover his eyes, Gaius could tell that the young boy was crying.

"Awe, you poor baby. Did your parents die of fright when they saw your face when you were born? Or, are you sure they're really dead, and that they just didn't run off somewhere and abandon you. Who would want you as a son, anyway? The only things that you have in your personality are arrogance and a sense of self-entitlement. You're not actually worthy of having a family!" Gaius sneered at Gary, watching as tears streamed down the young boy's face.

" dare you! I'll show you!" Gary screamed, his face now puffy and bright red as he was crying freely. "Squirtle, use your Bubble attack, and then Tackle him again! We'll show him that he can't talk to us like that. Destroy him and his stupid Munchlax!"

Gaius laughed loudly, as he watched Gary's small Pokemon begin Gary's attack commands. "Munchlax, time to finish him. use Tackle attack at full force! Slam into him so hard that Squirtle will wish that he never left his shell. The sooner we finish this cakewalk, the sooner we can actually see Professor Oak." The older trainer smiled, as he saw his Pokemon ready its attack.

Squirtle slowly opened its mouth, and a stream of bubbles shot out towards Munchlax. The water Pokemon seemed quite pleased with its attack, until, once again, the normal type Pokemon brushed off its Bubble attack. Squirtle turned towards its trainer, and looked confused. "Squirtle, Squirt?"

That moment of hesitation was exactly what Gaius's Munchlax was waiting for. The obese Pokemon ran towards the distracted Squirtle, and when it was several feet away, Munchlax used its feet to propel itself a foot off the ground, striking the small water Pokemon with the full force of his body. The strength of the attack was so great that it sent the tiny Squirtle flying backwards several feet in the air, reaching just high enough to hit its trainer in the face with its body.

Gary yelled out in pain from the impact, and then looked down towards where his Pokemon had fallen. Squirtle had been knocked out using only two attacks, and Gary looked extremely upset. "No, Squirtle...I'll get you to the nearest Pokemon Center right away. We'll keep training to make sure that we're unbeatable." Gary held out his Pokeball and sucked his Pokemon back inside. After a few seconds, he began walking towards the car.

Gaius could see Gary move towards his car, and he spoke up as the young boy entered the car. "Where you going, Gary? Don't you want to continue the battle? Oh, wait, I forgot. You only have one Pokemon don't you? Well, I guess I won then!" Gaius laughed heartily, and then spoke to his Munchlax. "Good job, Munchlax. If we keep up battling like this, we'll get you evolved soon, and then you'll be an amazing Pokemon in battle, as good as any of the others I have." Gaius then reached down and patted Munchlax on his head.

Gary then turned around in his car, and addressed the crowd. "I promise, all of you, I'll train everyday to become a Pokemon Master. This won't be the last time you'll be hearing of Gary Oak. Keep your faith in me, and I'll never let you down again!" When he finished speaking, the boy waited for his cheerleaders to join him in the car, and then directed his chauffeur to drive them to Viridian City. The car started up, and within a minute, Gary Oak was out of sight.

With their idol gone, and defeated, the large crowd that had gathered slowly began to disperse. Gaius could overhead many of them talking under their breath about how the young man was unnecessarily cruel to the boy, especially with his remark on the death of Gary's parents. Gaius shrugged off their words, he knew that his words were justified, although they were cruel. 'If anyone ever needed to be taken down a peg, or five, it was that kid. Only if he didn't have such an attitude, I wouldn't have had to publicly humiliate him. Well, I hope he learns some humility from the defeat, at least.'

As the crowd finished departing, Gaius began to walk up the slope of the hill towards, the Pokemon Lab. However, before he had made even five steps, he caught sight of an older man wearing brown pants, a red shirt, and a long white lab-coat that almost reached down to his pants pockets. The man had dark grey, almost silver hair, several wrinkles across his cheeks and crows-feet in the corner of his eyes. Above his eyes, were extremely bushy black eyebrows. Gaius wondered if the old man had work done on his eyebrows to make them stand out, and was about to ask exactly that when the old man began to speak.

"Hello there, I'm Professor Oak. I heard a commotion from my lab and came to investigate what was going on. I couldn't see the whole thing, but I know you defeated my grandson Gary. " Professor Oak sighed as he mentioned his grandson's name. "Honestly, I've tried to raise Gary to be respectful of opposing trainers, and to view himself as their equals, despite his last name. Though my efforts had seemed in vain, I hope the defeat you dealt him helps him mature as a both a young boy, and as a Pokemon trainer." Professor Oak paused for a moment, his mind seemingly wandering at the thoughts of his grandson. Suddenly, he remembered that there was someone in front of him. "I'm sorry, I got sidetracked thinking of Gary. Anyway, what's your name? Is there something I can help you with? You seem to already have a Pokemon, so I don't think you need one of mine."

"My name is Gaius Vi Britannia, from the small town of Pendragon, Northwest of here. I just started my Pokemon journey a few weeks ago." The trainer then thought for a moment on how to phrase the next part of his response, and then answered. "Well, my Munchlax here apparently ate his own Pokeball. I've been unable to remove it using any means at my disposal, and I don't want to wait for it to come out naturally. Is there anything you can do to help?" Gaius stared at the professor hopefully.

"Oh, my." The professor replied. He knelt down in front of the normal Pokemon, and began to stroke its head. "So, you ate your Pokeball, huh? What would ever possess you to do something like that?" After a few moments of scratching Munchlax and rubbing behind its ears, the professor straightened up and spoke to Gaius. "Yes, I can most definitely help you and your Munchlax, Gaius. Please, follow me to my lab. I think I have just the thing."

"Oh, Professor," Gaius spoke, suddenly remembering his encounter with Ash Kethcum from earlier in the day. "Did you happen to speak to someone named Ash Kethcum today?" Gaius hoped that Ash had instead went home after Gaius had fallen onto the street. It would be better that then being embarrassed if the story were told to Professor Oak.

"No, I haven't seen Ash at all today. He was supposed to come pick up a Pokemon to start a Pokemon journey, but he must not have made it. When I gave out all three of the Pokemon I had available, I still hoped he would show up so I could try to offer him some alternatives." Professor Oak sighed, and then continued speaking. "He may have called when he woke up, and decided not to come when he heard the message I left. I better go see how he's doing later today. I bet he must be heartbroken about not being to start his journey this year." The professor then looked at Gaius, and asked. "Wait, how do you know Ash? Are you two friends or something?"

"Well," Gaius answered, "he almost ran me down a bit earlier as I was coming to see you. He was incredibly excited about starting his Pokemon journey, and wanted to see some of my Pokemon. The next thing I knew, I looked up and Ash was no where to be found. I guess he went home or something, as you thought." Gaius hoped that Professor Oak would not be able to see through his lie. Honestly, the trainer did not care at all where the young boy named Ash was, as long as the boy was not interfering with his trip to see Professor Oak. 'I'm sure Ash will show up somewhere,' Gaius thought. The old man then turned away from Gaius, and slowly walked up the path towards the Pokemon Lab.
Gaius followed Professor Oak, walking slower as to not overtake the old man. The young trainer also turned around twice to ensure that Munchlax was keeping pace, and that it had not run off in search of food. Surprisingly, the Pokemon followed its trainer attentively, not being distracted at all along the way. Within a few minutes, the three of them had reached the top of the hill, and Professor Oak motioned for Gaius to come inside.

As Gaius entered the building, he could see a large hallway with multiple doors. To the left, past the hallway, Gaius could see a stairway leading to a second floor and a chest of drawers at the base of the stairway. Part of Gaius was curious to explore all of the building, but he felt that trying to prod too much could hurt his chances in talking with the Professor. As the Professor walked up the stairs to the second floor, Gaius followed him.

As the pair reached the top of the stairs, Professor Oak stretched his arms, sighed, and then began to speak. "Here we are, welcome to my Pokemon Laboratory. In case you didn't know, I study Pokemon not just to give them out as new trainers, but to also advance the knowledge of Pokemon as a whole for the entire World. Although I mainly specialize in Pokemon from the Kanto region, some of the trainers that began their journey in Pallet Town have already went on to other regions such as Johto and Sinnoh."

Gaius looked around the large second floor, and could see a wide variety of various machines or devices. On his right, there was several grey, square, mechanical objects, and a large container that seemed to be filled with several gallons of water. Near the far right corner of the room there was a white drawing board, that was covered in writing that Gaius could not read from where he was standing. On Gaius's immediate left, there were several machines that were placed against the front left corner. One of the machines had a small screen above a sea of buttons and knobs. The adjoining machine had no screen, but had many more buttons and knobs. Gaius immediately was surprised that someone even as intelligent as Professor Oak could actually know what each of these machines did, and even possibly use a few of them simultaneously. In front of the corner machines was a small lab table that had many beakers and vials filled with different colored fluids. Gaius could also see a closed book on the table that seemed to be titled "Analysis of Seviper Poison", by someone named Professor Birch. 'I wonder if Professor Birch is a colleague of Professor Oak. Maybe I can ask about Professor Birch after Professor Oak is done removing Munchlax's Pokeball from his stomach.' Gaius paused in thought for a moment, and then his eyes continued to scan the room.

Further along the left side of the room, there was a large monitor above a keyboard and next to several other display panels that were to the screen's left. There was an old looking blue chair that was placed in front of the keyboard with the large monitor, and a machine with an overhanging pink sphere was located to the right of the machine with the large screen. Past the machines on the left side, there was a metal staircase that led to a small metal balcony that was about a quarter of the length of the room. Gaius could see a wooden door on the left side of the metal balcony. 'Perhaps that leads to the roof, or to an outside balcony,' Gaius thought. On the left side of the room, under the metal balcony, there seemed to be a cabinet which kept a mixture of hardcover books and what appeared to be Pokemon research videos.

In front of the young trainer, there was a a large circular machine with a glass dome cover. Gaius could see three Pokeballs sitting under the dome, and an indentation where a fourth could be placed was in the middle of the three balls. 'Hm, I thought Professor Oak only gave three types of Pokemon to trainers. Maybe he, at one time, had a fourth to offer.' Gaius then looked past the machine that held the Pokeballs, and he could see a small brown sofa that was placed in the middle of the far side of the room, near where the white boar was located. To the left of the sofa was a small, brown desk such as the kind one might find in a gentleman's study. On top of the brown desk, there appeared to be an old style lamp that had a swiveling head. As Gaius was about to ask about the uses of the various machines in the room, a piercing noise could be heard.

"Ring ring ring, phone call, phone call!" A loud electronic voice yelled from across the laboratory. Gaius could see that the large terminal now showed a blinking picture of an old rotary-dial phone with the headset popping off and back on with each flash. 'Wow, that's a large telephone,' Gaius thought.

Professor Oak then quickly looked towards the videophone, and turned to Gaius. "I'm sorry, but I have to get that, I'll be right with you in a moment. I'm expecting a call from Talya and Kurt today about their Pokemon, and it's quite important. Just make yourself at home up here until I'm done." The professor then ran towards the large screen and pressed several buttons. Within a few seconds, the screen changed and displayed the faces of two people, one male, and one female.
The female appeared to be about Gaius's age, had slightly tanned skin, a slender face, and bright green eyes. She had red hair, which was about the color of human blood, and small, silver-colored earring studs in both ears. Her hair appeared long, but it appeared to be wrapped up behind her head, perhaps in some sort of pony tail. The male seemed to be a few years older than the girl, and he had pale skin, a similarly thin face, with dark blue eyes. He had shoulder length brown hair, which was parted down the middle of his forehead. Gaius could notice a small, diagonal shaped scar that ran across his forehead. The young man seemed to try to use his hair to hide the scar, but the scar was still visible underneath his brown hair. Both Talya and Kurt seemed to be huddled in around a small view-screen, as both of them kept trying to move closer towards the screen, or tried to center themselves in front of the screen. Gaius, who had begun to walk towards the brown sofa in order to sit down and relax, decided that he should pay attention to the phone call that Professor Oak was having with the two trainers.

Professor Oak spoke first, addressing the two individuals that were on the phone. "I figured that you two would be in Mauville City by now. I called the Mauville City Pokemon Center and told Nurse Joy to tell you the good news." Professor Oak smiled, and awaited the pair's response.

The male trainer responded first, although slowly, as if there was an amount of slowdown with the video call connection. "Well, Nurse Joy didn't tell us much, Professor, only that you needed us to talk to us. Is something happen to our Pokemon or something, is everything alright?" The young man looked puzzled, and glanced towards the girl who was standing next to him.

Professor Oak then laughed, and nodded his head. "Yes, yes, everything is alright, Kurt. I guess Nurse Joy didn't hear all of the message that I left for her. Do you remember that egg that I found a few months ago, after both of you sent your Loudred and Exploud to stay with me? Well, I've been checking on it daily and have been making sure conditions for hatching were at their optimal levels. Three days ago, as I was making my rounds before breakfast, I found the egg open, and I saw a small Whismur that was standing next to the broken egg. I don't know how it happened, but it seems as if your two Pokemon made an egg together."

"Aww," the young girl, presumably Talya, responded, "I guess my Loudred and your Exploud are in love, Kurt, just lke us." The girl giggled for a few moments, before a puzzled look crept across her face. "Wait, Professor. We both already have a member of the Exploud evolution family, and I'm not sure if we want to train another Whismur. They're cute, and all, but I don't want to start a collection of them or anything. My Loudred's enough." The girl then turned towards Kurt. "Honey, would you want the new Whismur, or are you happy with your Exploud?"

Kurt leaned back from the screen, and slowly put his hand on his chin, as if he were trying to think about the decision that he had to make. After a few moments, the young man spoke up. "Yeah, I agree with Talya, Professor. I don't really think I want another Whismur either. My Exploud is pretty powerful, and you know how I like a well-balanced Pokemon team. At the moment, I have a Swellow on my team as my normal type, which is why I sent Exploud home to you in the first place. You're probably better off just offering it to some new trainer, or you could just keep it around on the ranch, in case later we decide that we want another Whismur."

Gaius's ears perked up as he heard all of these names that the Professor and the two trainers were using. 'Those names sound like Pokemon, but I haven't heard of any of them before. I wonder where they come from.' Gaius decided to voice his questions. "Excuse me, Professor, what kind of Pokemon are Exploud and Swellow? Where do they come from? I've read all about the Pokemon that can be found in this area of the Kanto region, and I don't recognize any of their names at all."

Professor Oak then turned towards Gaius. "Oh, right. Gaius, you haven't been to the Hoenn region yet, right? Pokemon like Whismur, Loudred, Exploud, and Swellow all come from Hoenn. So far, Talya and Kurt are the only trainers, whose Pokemon are under my care, that have decided to journey to Hoenn. Kurt there," Professor Oak pointed to the young man on the view screen, "was able to get all eight badges in the Kanto Pokemon league. He then made it to top thirty-two at the Indigo Plateau last year. After that, he and his girlfriend, Talya," Professor Oak then pointed at the tan, young girl, "wanted to try another Pokemon League challenge, so they went to Hoenn. Honestly I'm quite glad that they decided to travel to Hoenn, most trainers go to Johto after their trip through the Kanto league, while those who are unable to get all of the Kanto badges just focus on training until they can participate in the Plateau. Hoenn has only recently been allowing foreign travelers to enter the region. I don't know a lot of details, but apparently there was some sort of Pokemon gang conflict that lasted about two decades. Things began to calm down there last year, and starting this year they re-opened the Hoenn Pokemon League." Professor Oak took a breath, and suddenly seemed to realize how much he had been talking. "Anyway, I can introduce you to Kurt and Talya if you like," the Professor offered.

"Sure," Gaius replied, "I'd like that a lot." 'I wonder how many other regions actually have Pokemon League challenges. I've only heard about the one here in Kanto, but apparently there are at least two others. Johto and Hoenn, I wonder how long it will take to get there after Kanto. I should try to find out as much as possible now, since I'm in the company of both a Pokemon Professor, and two trainers that are actually in Hoenn right now.'

Professor Oak then turned back towards the view-screen, and then motioned for Gaius to come in front of the view screen so Talya and Kurt could see him. Gaius quickly rose from the sofa and made his way over to the view screen, Munchlax followed right behind him. "Talya, Kurt," Professor Oak said, looking towards the trainer that was standing next to him, "this is Gaius. Gaius just started his Pokemon journey a few weeks ago, but already has a Munchlax. Apparently the Pokemon ate its own Pokeball, so Gaius here came to Pallet Town looking for me to help with the situation." Professor Oak then could see the horrified looks on the two trainer's faces, causing the old man to quickly speak again. "Don't worry, his Munchlax is perfectly fine, it doesn't seen to be in any pain or be in any trouble at all." The Professor chuckled to himself, and pat the normal type Pokemon on the head.

"Hey there, Gaius." Kurt yelled, smiling as he spoke. "So you have a Munchlax, huh? What other kind of Pokemon do you have? I have a Swellow, Aggron, Venasaur, Manectric, Spoink, and Dusclops with me right now. I have a lot more in the Professor's lab, though, of course."
Before Gaius could begin to list off his Pokemon, Talya quickly spoke. "Yeah, Gaius, what kind of Pokemon do you have? Or is Munchlax your only one? I have Blastoise, Mightyena, Linoone, Makuhita, Delcatty, and Shroomish. Both Kurt and I left most of our Pokemon at Professor Oak's when we traveled to Hoenn. The only Pokemon we brought with us were each of our starter Pokemon. We both think it's best to learn about a region by using a new team each time you travel around. What do you think?"

"Well," Gaius hesitantly replied, surprised by Talya's very outspoken personality. "I have Munchlax, Blaziken, Beldum, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Gengar and two Poliwag. I started with a Gengar. Gengar was casting illusions all over my home in Pendragon, but I was able to capture it in a Pokeball. Now, it's mine." Gaius smiled, and thought for a moment. "I guess I can see the appeal of using a whole new team when you travel, but I think it depends on each trainer. Some people don't do well with change, and a new region might be enough for them to handle, so they may keep their old Pokemon with them. To each their own, I guess."

Professor Oak turned towards Gaius, surprised at what the new trainer had just said. "Wait, you actually captured a Gengar on your own, and you didn't even have any Pokemon to battle with? How impressive, I haven't heard of anyone accomplishing such a thing before." The old man scratched the back of his head for a moment, and then a proverbial light bulb seemed to turn on in his head. "You said you have a Blaziken, Beldum, Dragonite, Tyranitar and not one, but two Poliwag? How surprising that you already have such a wide variety of Pokemon just weeks after starting out as a trainer. Dragonite and Tyranitar are Pokemon that I don't get to study that often, and, as I mentioned earlier, Hoenn wasn't open to visiting trainers for years. How about this, would you mind leaving some of your Pokemon with me? I'd love to have a chance to study some of them in greater detail. Since you have eight Pokemon with you, you'll have to leave some of them somewhere so they're not stuck in Pokeballs unable to get out.' The professor then paused and began to speak again.

"Possibly, if they're open to it, you could take Kurt and Talya's new Whismur since they don't seem to want it. I might also have another Pokemon that could pique your interest, but we can talk about that later." The Professor then turned towards the view-screen and addressed the two trainers. "So, what do you two think? Is it ok if Gaius takes your extra Whismur? It's better that its out and about training and getting experience than just sitting here anyway. If you aren't comfortable with it, I can just raise it here, if you want."

The pair of trainers quickly looked at each other, seemed to think about it for a moment, and then Kurt spoke. "Sure, if Gaius wants to keep our extra Whismur, he can have it. You're right, Professor, it is better that the Pokemon be able to battle and evolve with a trainer than just stay in your ranch forever." The male trainer then turned his attention towards Gaius. "Please make sure you keep good care of our Whismur. Treat it as you would any Pokemon that you caught yourself."

Gaius smiled, and nodded his head. "I'd be happy to take Whismur with me on my travels, and I'll definitely treat it well." Gaius continued to smile at the pair of trainers, and then turned to the Professor. "I'm just wondering, what does a Whismur look like, anyway?" Gaius had not had a chance to look into his new Pokemon, and wanted to know what it looked like.

Professor Oak closed his eyes and shook his head for a moment, not making a sound. He then raised his head and looked at the young trainer standing in front of him. "I might as well just show you in a minute, Gaius. I just need to finish up this call, then I can help your Munchlax and talk about the other issue I wanted to discuss." The professor then turned towards the view-screen and addressed the pair of trainers. "Anyway, you two stay safe, and keep sending more Pokemon for me to study. You know, I can't ever get enough over here." Professor Oak laughed and then continued to speak. "Good luck to both of you in your gym battles and contests, I know you can make it to the Ever Grand Conference for sure, Kurt." The old man then smiled, and pressed a button on his keyboard and the two trainers vanished from the screen.

The old man then turned to Gaius, and reached into his front right pocket on his lab coat. The professor pulled out a Pokeball from his pocked and offered it to Gaius. "This is Whismur's Pokeball. How about you two go outside and you can get introduced to your new Pokemon. You can find out what attacks it can do, and what its capabilities are by using this handy device." Professor Oak reached into his left pants pocket, and rummaged around inside, seemingly finding nothing. He then quickly checked his right pants pocked, and both pockets on his lab coat. "I could have sworn I had it here...hold on." After a minute or so of him checking and re-checking each of his pockets, he turned and walked towards his small table near the metal stairwell. "Ah, so I left it over here then," he mused, laughing as he picked up an object and walked back towards Gaius. The professor then thrust a small, red device in the young trainer's direction.

Gaius examined the device for a moment, before grabbing it from Professor Oak's hands. The object was slightly larger than the palm of Gaius's hand and had a bright blue orb in the top left of the device. Gaius assumed that the orb was some sort of sensor, either for visual objects or for detecting sounds. The device had an easy to open latch on its left side, which the trainer quickly opened. The interior of the machine had a small screen and a few tiny slits diagonally from the bottom of the screen, as if they were a miniature speaker. Under the speakers, there was a directional pad, and next to the pad there were two small, thin buttons. The buttons were colored grey and black, and there was a larger, circular black button to the left of the thin buttons. There seemed to be a small green touch-pad or screen in the middle of the device, below all of the buttons. The right side of the machine looked much more complex. A small, long black screen was situated above two rows of light blue keys. There were five keys in each row, and two similarly looking white keys that were below the blue keys. Across from the white keys, on the right side of the device, there were two thin black buttons which looked similar to the buttons on the other half of the object. Under the two black buttons, there was a small, yellow circular button, and two screens were situated at the bottom of the right side of the machine. Gaius closed the object, and turned it over. The backside of the device seemed to have no features at all, and was smooth to the touch.

Seeing Gaius examine the object, Professor Oak chimed in, informing the trainer about the device. "That is a Pokedex. It's a high-tech encyclopedia detailing all of the Pokemon types, abilities, habitats, and moves that specific Pokemon can learn. If you say a Pokemon name, or look up a Pokemon using the menu, all of the known data for that Pokemon would be displayed. The Pokedex can also identify Pokemon based on the sounds they make, also known as their Pokemon cries. If you wish to gather information on a Pokemon that you see in the wild, or one that an opposing trainer is using in battle, you can point the Pokedex in the direction of that Pokemon, and the information should just pop right up. It's a pretty handy tool, and I should know, I designed it myself. Normally I give a Pokedex to new trainers starting their Pokemon journey, but, for you, I may be able to make an exception. Given that you've already caught a wide variety of Pokemon, I'm sure having a Pokedex would make your journey much easier as you continue to catch Pokemon and battle trainers."

Gaius glanced at the Pokedex in his hand, and thought for a moment. 'Although I already have a phone that can look up much of this information, having a machine like this would make the job of learning about new Pokemon much easier. I wouldn't actually have to type their name in, or a descripton of the Pokemon into the Pokedex, like I currently have to do for my phone. Hm...I guess I should take the old man up on his offer.' Gaius smiled, and began to speak.

"Thank you, Professor Oak. I'd be glad to take a Pokedex. If the machine is realy as great as you say, I'm sure it will be useful during my journey. So it's easy as just naming a Pokemon, right? Then information will pop up? I'll try it then." Gaius paused for a moment, thinking of what question to ask. "Pokedex, tell me about Gengar." 'It's probably best to test its abilities on a subject that I know quite well," Gaius thought.

After a second, the small round orb on the top left of the device lit up and began to blink. A robotic, monotone voice could be heard coming from the speakers. "Gengar, the Shadow Pokémon. Gengar is the final evolved form of Gastly. It can absorb any surrounding heat, leaving a sudden chill." After the short description, the blinking light faded, and the machine went silent once again.

'Hm,' Gaius mused, 'That's not a lot of information, but since it has information on its moves and power level, I'm sure it is still useful. I would like to test its capabilities on all of my Pokemon, but that would take way too long. Overall, though, I'm not impressed. Hopefully this thing will prove to be more useful in the future.' The trainer paused and then looked at the red color of the Pokedex. "I'm not trying to sound unappreciative Prof, but does this come in black?"

Professor Oak sighed, slowly taking the red Pokedex back from Gaius. "I guess...if you really want one...I could have a black model created for you. It would only take a few hours for my 3d printer to create a new outer casing, and then my machine could just paint the casing black instead of red. Unfortunately I can't just paint the exterior of this one as it is. Heh, I'd still like to keep this one in reserve anyway, in case Ash decides to show up later today. Oh yeah, that brings me to my other proposition that I wanted to discuss with you. You see, I happened to catch a wild Pokemon a few days ago to use in my research on electric Pokemon. However, the Pokemon's power output was outside the acceptable margin of error, so I couldn't use it in a test to determine the average power output."

"So, you mean, that the Pokemon was very powerful for its species?"Gaius interrupted the Professor, not caring for his long speeches. 'Come on Prof, get to the point. The less time I spend here talking to you, the more time I could be out training and testing out my new Whismur.'

"Oh yes, the Pokemon is quite powerful. Anyway, since I cannot use it in my research, I was going to give it to Ash when he showed up, since all thre of the basic starter Pokemon have been chosen by my grandson Gary and two other children from Pallet Town. Now, what were their names again? Hm...well, I'm sure you'll meet them eventually." The professor then walked over to the large circular machine where three circular indentations were built into the base. He then pushed a button on the machine and a Pokeball rose up from a hidden middle slot in the center of the three indentations. "Since Ash hasn't gotten here yet, and since you said you saw him yourself, he must have decided to wait to start on his Pokemon journey. With Ash not here, and no other new trainers to give the Pokemon to, I was wondering if you would be interested in taking it. At least then, the Pokemon would be able to have a real life out seeing the world with a Pokemon trainer. That would definitely be better than spending his life cooped up in my corral out back." Professor Oak reached down onto the machine and lifted up the Pokeball.

Gaius could see that the Pokeball had an a symbol of a lightning bolt etched onto the middle of the red half, right above the white button that trainers pressed to open up their Pokeballs. 'If the Pokemon is really as powerful as Professor Oak says, I have to add it to my collection. I'm sure it will be amazing in Pokemon battles, as well.' Gaius smiled, and slowly nodded his head. "If you think it's best, I'd love to take the Pokemon with me as I travel Kanto. Although, I'm just wondering, what species of Pokemon is it?"

The Professor smiled as he heard Gaius agree to take the Pokeball that the old man held in his hand. "Well, how about you just see for yourself," Professor Oak mused. He then pressed the white button in the center of the ball, and white light shot out from the ball and began to condense on the edge of the machine. Once the white light dissipated, a small, yellow Pokemon was standing a few feet away from Gaius.

"Oh, I recognize that Pokemon." Gaius said, surprisingly. "That's a Pikachu isn't it? I've read about Pikachu in my research of Kanto's Pokemon. I've looked into most of the Pokemon that can be found around this area of Kanto. Pikachu can normally be found in the Viridian Forest, but they are extremely rare. Also, Pikachu can only evolve once, into Raichu, once it is exposed to a Thunder Stone. Furthermore, as with all stone evolutions, Raichu can only learn Technical Machine, Hidden Machine, or moves from specialist tutors. Did I get that all right, Professor Oak?"

"Splendid, just splendid Gaius." Professor Oak beamed at the young trainer, proud that someone who had recently started his journey already knew so much. "You got everything exactly right and I don't think a textbook could have even put it better. I'm curious though, what caused you to want to find out so much about Pokemon on your own? Most trainers just wait to see Pokemon naturally as they come along in their journey, but you took the initiative to figure out so much on your own. I'm sure your parents are quite proud of you."

"Well, I've always wanted to try and keep myself informed about whatever I'm trying to accomplish. In this case, I'm trying to collect all eight gym badges so I can go to the Indigo Plateau. I figured, that since knowledge is power, the best way for me to accomplish my goal would be to find out as much as possible about Pokemon in the Kanto region. Besides just looking up Pokemon that were native around this area, I've also looked at all of the Kanto Pokemon, although I probably won't be able to remember all of them until I actually see some of them in person." Gaius smiled and then paused as he thought of the best way to phrase the second part of his statement. "About my parents, Professor, they're actually both dead. I recently lost my father Magnus to a heart attack a little more than a month ago and my mother passed away in a car crash fifteen years ago. I don't remember much about my mother, Marianne, other than that she was a Pokemon trainer. My father raised me pretty much on his own after she passed. Since he was a businessman, he didn't see much use for Pokemon or support me going off on a journey. The only reason I'm here is because of his passing." Gaius slowly glanced towards Pikachu. The electric mouse Pokemon was casually looking back and forth, from Gaius to the Professor.

"Oh, my, I'm quite sorry about that, Gaius." The Professor closed his eyes for a moment and bowed his head, as if he was trying to comfort the young trainer for the loss of both parents. After a few minutes of silence, Professor Oak spoke quickly, as if a lightning bulb had just gone off in his head. "Wait, you said your mother Marianne passed fifteen years ago in a car accident and that she was a Pokemon trainer? You also told me before that you come from the town of Pendragon right?"

"Yes," Gaius replied, "but I don't see how that has..." The Professor quickly interrupted the young trainer, cutting him off in mid-sentence.
"Your mother was Marianne La Morte!" Professor Oak exclaimed. "Well, at least that was her stage name, anyway. Marianne was quite skilled in Pokemon battling and was considered a dark type Pokemon expert. I remember reading about her passing when it happened. The timing was quite sad as well. She had a hearing scheduled for the month after her death with Mr. Goodshow and the other officials at the Pokemon League. She hoped that they would approve a dark type gym as a ninth Kanto gym, with her as the Gym Leader. Given her reputation and third place in the Indigo Plateau competition from when she was on her own journey, her proposition would almost have been guaranteed approval. Hm...if only her life wasn't tragically cut short, she could have revolutionized the Pokemon community in Kanto. I daresay she could have even risen to the Elite Four in a few years, I guess we'll never know."

"Wait, Professor," Gaius asked, "how do you know that my mother, and Marianne La Morte were the same person? Lots of people die in car crashes, and Marianne isn't exactly a unique name. I mean, it would be interesting if my mother was actually a famous Pokemon trainer, but are you sure it's really her?" Gaius paused, and then thought to himself. 'If my mother was really that successful of a trainer, that would make sense as to how I have so much natural skill. I doubt normal trainers would be able to control a Dragonite the first day of their Pokemon journey, but I was able to as if Dragonite had been my Pokemon for months.' The trainer then looked at the Professor as the old man quickly moved over to the large view screen and typed for a few seconds on a keyboard on the console of the machine.

Within a few seconds, a picture that Gaius recognized as his mother appeared on the screen. Marianne looked only a few years older than Gaius in the picture. She had long black hair that fell halfway down her back, light skin, bright blue eyes, and one earring that featured the Pokemon League symbol for dark type Pokemon in each ear. In the picture she was smiling, as if she was proud of some accomplishment she had just completed or some goal she had just attained. Gaius looked hard at the image for a moment before speaking. "That's...that's my mother, Marianne."

"I thought so," Professor Oak responded, smiling at the young trainer. "That settles it, then. Your mother was, in fact, Marianne la Morte, a dark type Pokemon expert. Although, I'm surprised your father never told you about her himself. I know you told me he didn't agree with the life of being a Pokemon trainer, but...she was still your mother, after all." The old man walked over to Gaius and patted him on the back, trying to comfort the young trainer.

"Yeah," Gaius replied, "I guess my father really didn't agree with her ideas at all. I hope that I can eventually follow in her footsteps, and possibly find a specialization of my own. Perhaps, some day, after I collect all of the Kanto badges and participate in the Indigo Plateau tournament, I could end up with a badge of my own." Gaius smiled and began to think. 'I wonder what kind of Gym I'd end up running. I could always try dark type, like my mother, or I could try for a ghost type gym, since Gengar is pretty much my main Pokemon.' The trainer was pulled away from his daydream by Professor Oak, who began to speak.

"Now that we have those issues out of the way, I can actually get to work on why you came here in the first place. It'll probably take me a while to locate the exact location of Munchlax's Pokeball within its body. Then, after I locate the Pokeball, I can use my Pokemon transporting machine to force the Pokeball to activate using the same infrared signal that can be used to transfer Pokeballs from the trainers in Pokemon Centers to the lab. Even if that sounds relatively simple to you, it may take an hour or so for me to both find and activate the Pokeball." The professor paused and looked at Gaius. "Speaking of your Munchlax, where is he?"

Gaius looked around the lab, until his eyes finally settled on Munchlax. The Pokemon had fallen asleep on the couch near the back of the lab, presumably when Gaius and the Pokemon were sitting down while Kurt and Talya were talking to the professor. "I guess he slept through all of that. I should go wake him up and tell him to follow your instructions for the procedure." As Gaius started to walk away, a Pokemon's cry caused him to turn around.

"Pika! PikaChuuu!" The small mouse Pokemon yelled at the trainer, reminding Gaius of its presence.

"Oh, yeah. I almost forgot I got you too, Pikachu. It's time to return to your Pokeball now." Gaius lifted up Pikachu's Pokeball and pressed the button, attempting to recall Pikachu. The Pokemon quickly jumped off the edge of the machine, avoiding the ray of light that would capture it. "Come on, Pikachu, you need to get back in your ball now." The trainer then walked to the other side of the machine, hoping to recall his Pokemon, but Pikachu was nowhere to be found.

"Oh, Pikachu ran over to this side, Gaius, as soon as it saw you walking towards it." Professor Oak paused as if he was remembering something. "I forgot, this Pikachu doesn't like to be inside its Pokeball. You could always just try to keep it outside the ball, or you could try to train it and coax it to be used to being inside a Pokeball. Just try to work on whichever option you think is best, it's your choice."

Gaius shook his head in disdain as he walked towards Professor Oak and saw Pikachu hiding on the opposite side of the machine. 'Just great, not only do I have a Munchlax that doesn't listen to me that well, I also have a Pikachu now that doesn't like to be in its Pokeball. Why couldn't all of my Pokemon be as obedient as Dragonite or Gengar?' The trainer sighed, and knelt down to speak to Pikachu. "You don't like being in your Pokeball, huh? Well, we can work on that later, but, for now, can you just try and follow me? Like this, I'll walk over to my Munchlax and you can follow right behind me so I can introduce you to him. Does that sound alright?"

"Pika!" The mouse Pokemon replied as he shook his head.

"Hm, well, if you don't want to follow me, perhaps you could try to show off a Thundershock attack?" Gaius asked. "I'm pretty sure you should be capable of that attack. All Pikachu usually start off knowing that, so it shouldn't be too hard for you." 'I hope I can at least make Pikachu do something, otherwise this will seriously be a pain to train it.' Gaius smiled weakly at the Pokemon, hoping it would follow his instructions.

The Pikachu smiled slyly, and electricity began to buildup in its body. Within a few seconds, a bolt of electricity shot out from the electric Pokemon. The bolt then traveled above the Pokemon, until it hit the ceiling of the Pokemon Lab. Within a few seconds, all of the machines that were in the laboratory turned off, as well as all of the lights and lamps which were placed around the lab as well.

"Well," Professor Oak mused, "I guess your Pikachu short circuited the electricity in the building. I'll have to go and reset the breakers, but hopefully the power will come back on soon. I'll be just a moment, don't worry about the slight power outage." Professor Oak then walked down the stairs of his lab, presumably to wherever the fuse boc was located.

Gaius quickly glared at Pikachu, as the Pokemon had begun to laugh when the power went out. "You think you're funny, huh? It's not right for you to use your electric attacks like that to mess with people's buildings. For all you know there could be sick Pokemon that the Professor was taking care of that are some form of life support. Did you really want to risk those Pokemon's lives just to play a joke on me and the Professor? If you're going to be my Pokemon, you're going to have to behave and follow your trainer's instructions. I won't ask much of you, just try to train your hardest and battle Pokemon when called upon. I'm sure you'll have a lot more fun with me than being stuck here with Professor Oak for the rest of your life." Gaius paused as he considered what to do next. "How about you meet my other Pokemon, so you can have an idea of who you might be traveling with." 'This will also give me an opportunity to see my new Whismur in person,' Gaius thought.

As Gaius reached down towards his Pokeballs, he then realized that he was carrying two too many. "Oh yeah, I already have Gengar, Blaziken, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Beldum and my Munchlax. With those guys, and my Whismur and Pikachu, I have eight Pokemon. Since a Pokemon trainer is only allowed six Pokemon on them at once, I'll have to leave at least two of my Pokemon somewhere. I'll see if I can find somewhere near home who has a Pokemon ranch in Pendragon, I could always pay them to hold my Pokemon that I'm not using. Or, wait...Professor Oak said before that he wanted to study some of my Pokemon. I could always ask him if I could store all of my Pokemon here, anyway. That way I'll have a free place to keep them, and I won't have to worry about having to come back to my hometown if I want some transferred." Gaius smiled, and then opened up his Pokeballs. "Come out everybody, and meet my new Pokemon!"

Soon, the large room in Professor Oak's laboratory seemed quite small. Tyranitar and Dragonite were slowly walking towards Pikachu, Dragonite smiling while Tyranitar seemed to grimace. Blaziken began to run laps around the lab, stopping every other lap to stand in front of a different Pokemon, almost as if he was introducing himself. Beldum began to use Take Down repeatedly, trying to hit the extremely fast Blaziken as the fire Pokemon made its rounds. Gengar began to sneak up behind the shy Whismur, who was currently trying to hide behind Pikachu.

"Oh," Gaius exclaimed as he noticed the new Pokemon among the bunch, "I guess that's my Whismur, then." Whismur had a small, round pinkish body, with one stub-like arms on each side of its body, and two yellow-tipped feet. On top of its head, it had long rabbit-like ears that were the same color of its body, with yellow tips just like the tips of its feet. Gaius's Gengar neared the Whismur from behind and jumped out, uttering its Pokemon cry. "Gengar!" Within a few seconds, the room was filled with earsplitting noise.

Whismur had begun to cry the second that Gengar scared the small Pokemon. Whismur's cries were so loud and deafening, that all of the Pokemon immediately covered their ears. Gengar seemed unaffected by Whismurs cries, as the Pokemon only laughed as all of the others, save Beldum, were feeling immense ear pain. Beldum simply fell towards the floor, slowly repeating its own name, "Beldum..Beldummm." All of the other Pokemon begun to yell at the Whismur, presumably to tell the Whisper Pokemon to cease its cries and to calm down. Whismur's trainer was also quite surprised by the noise, tried to quickly think of a solution to the problem.

'I have to think of a way to calm Whismur down, or, at the very least, incapacitate it. I don't know how long my ears can last before they start bleeding. Come on, Gaius, think of something quick!' Gaius first reached down hoping to find Whismur's Pokeball, but discovered that it lay near the normal type Pokemon. 'I'm not sure if I can get any closer to Whismur without my ear drums bursting. I have to think of some other way.' The trainer quickly scanned the room until he noticed that his Gengar seemed unaffected by the normal type Pokemon. 'If I can get Gengar to hear me, he might be able to put a stop to Whismur. I just need to get his attention and then I can issue a command.' The trainer began to yell Gengar's name for several seconds, until the ghost type Pokemon looked his way. 'Good, I think he noticed I was calling to him. Now I just have to get him to stop Whismur.' "Gengar, use Hypnosis on Whismur," Gaius yelled frantically, trying to make his voice be heard over the deafening cries of the Pokemon. "Gengar, I said, use Hypnosis on Whismur. It needs to stop crying, and I don't know how to calm it down!"

The ghost Pokemon seemed to hear his trainer's command, causing him to float effortlessly in front of the normal type Pokemon. Purple circles of light emanated from Gengar's eyes and traveled to Whismur's. Within a few seconds, the Whisper Pokemon fell on its back, and its cries stopped completely. All of the Pokemon seemed quite happy that Whismur was incapacitated, each of them looking at Gengar and seemingly voiced their approval.

Gaius smiled and then walked towards his newest, sleeping Pokemon. He calmly picked the small Pokemon up in his arms, and rocked it for a few seconds. "Time to wake up, Whismur. I know you're just a baby, but we need to lay down some guidelines, ok?"

The Pokemon woke up as its trainer mentioned its name, smiling up at Gaius as it was being rocked. "Whismur..Whis..murr," the Pokemon slowly cooed.

"Good, now that you're awake again, I need to tell you when you're allowed to use moves like that, ok? I know Gengar probably scared you, but it was just trying to make you laugh. It didn't know that you would be sad or upset, ok?"

"Whis...mur.." The Pokemon seemed to nod and accept what it was being told.

"Now," its trainer said, continuing where he left off, "if you ever get scared again, instead of crying, run back to me, ok? I'll bring you back into your Pokeball, unless you're in the middle of a Pokemon battle. In that case, I may need you to fight for me, ok? But don't worry, I'll try not to ask you to fight anything too scary. Now, if for some reason you and I are separated during my journey, stick with Pikachu. Pikachu is about your size, and is new to having a trainer, just like yourself. I'm sure he wouldn't mind keeping you safe, right, Pikachu?"

"Pika?" The electric Pokemon at first seemed reluctant to agree to Gaius's proposal, but after a minute the yellow Pokemon nodded its head.

"See, don't worry Whismur, Pikachu and I will keep you safe. Now, how about you and I try some training when Professor Oak comes back from fixing the electricity. Pikachu and you can try to do some practice battling together. Since you're both my Pokemon, you won't really hurt each other that much, but don't be afraid to use your full power, ok?"
"Whismur!" The normal type Pokemon exclaimed.

"Pika!" Pikachu also seemed to agree to the proposal.

Gaius slowly put Whismur on the floor and then quickly began to recall his other Pokemon, save Pikachu. "Thanks Gengar you did a good job," he praised, as he recalled his ghost type Pokemon last. Gaius then looked over towards the couch and noticed that his Munchlax was still sound asleep in the exact same position it had been since before Whismur's outburst. "Wow, Munchlax, I guess you really can sleep through anything." Gaius then heard the sound of someone coming up the stairs.

"Hello, Gaius?" An old voice could be heard as the sound of footsteps grew louder and closer. Within a few seconds, Professor Oak was at the top of the stairs. "I was able to fix the electricity, I think. I put the laboratory power grid in automatic reset mode, so it should be coming back on my itself in a few minutes. Say, I heard quite an obnoxious racket while I was in the basement. It sounded as if someone was screaming at the top of their lungs. Was that your Whismur by any chance? I should have probably warned you that they can get quite loud if they get scared or startled and most Whismur trainers invest in some ear plugs when the Pokemon is in battle. Some of Whismur's basic attacks can be quite loud themselves, not to mention what Exploud sound like when they're in battle. It seems you were able to calm Whismur down on your own though, so I guess it's good that you got some training in on how to take care of it."
"Yeah," Gaius said coolly. "I really wish I would have found that out beforehand." Gaius paused as he looked back towards his Munchlax. "Now that the power should be coming back soon, should I get my Munchlax ready for you to retrieve the Pokeball?" Gaius then looked towards the Pokeball transport machine, which was by the large monitor. "The space between the top and bottom of that machine looks slightly small. How are we going to get Munchlax in the gap for you to remove the Pokeball?"

"Don't worry, Gaius," Professor Oak replied, "I'm sure he can fit, plus, the top of the device can be raised up to a foot if needed if Pokemon without Pokeballs need to be transferred. We should be able to get Munchlax to lie on his back, and the space should be sufficient." As Professor Oak finished speaking, the lights in the laboratory slowly lit up again, and all of the machines came back to life as well. "Wonderful," the professor added as he saw the electricity return, "now, get your Munchlax over to the machine so I can start my work. In the meantime, you can go out and start training Whismur or Pikachu out in my ranch. If you decide you want to go out and try and catch some more Pokemon, than feel free to do that as well."

Gaius walked over to where his Munchlax was sleeping and tried to rouse him. "Munchlax, wake up. It's time for you to get that Pokeball removed now. The sooner you get it removed, the sooner I can ask Professor Oak if he has any special Munchlax food for you to eat."

Even at the mention of food the Pokemon did not stir. The trainer put his hands on the normal type Pokemon's shoulders and gently shook him. "Come on Munchlax, you have to wake up now. I'll give you a lot of food if you do and we both know how much you love food." The Pokemon slowly opened its eyes and looked at its trainer. "Good Munchlax," Gaius continued, "now get up and follow me. we're going to walk over to that machine and then you're going to lay down there. You can probably even go back to sleep there if you want while Professor Oak prepares to perform the procedure." The young trainer walked towards the machine situated next to the large computer with Munchlax and Pikachu following behind him.

When the human and his Pokemon reached the machine, Gaius turned to his Munchlax. "Ok Munchlax, now you need to get up on the machine. Try to jump or climb up, I don't think that either myself or Professor Oak can lift you up that high." Gaius smiled and laughed at the thought of he and the Professor lifting up such a heavy Pokemon.

Munchlax walked up to the machine and tried to use its hands to pull itself up on top of the machine. After several failed attempts at pulling itself up to the machine, the Pokemon then tried to jump up to reach the machine. Unfortunately, Munchlax could only jump a few inches off of the ground, so the second plan failed as well. "Munchlax, Mun," the Pokemon said, apparently at frustration from his lack of success.

After watching his Pokemon try and fail to reach the Pokeball transporter, Gaius reached down onto his belt and pulled out a Pokeball. "Gengar, come forth and help lift Munchlax onto that machine. It needs to get on there to have his Pokeball removed." The trainer threw the ball into the air and his ghost Pokemon appeared in a flash of white.

"Gengar, gar gar," his Pokemon yelled, laughing as he watched Munchlax continue to fail in its attempts to reach the machine. After a few moments of laughter, Gengar waved his hands and a light purple glow surrounded Munchlax. Gengar then raised its fingers into the air and the normal type Pokemon began to float several feet of the ground. Within a few seconds, the ghost type was able to maneuver Munchlax onto the Pokeball transporter. "Gengar," it said, smiling as it completed its assigned task.

"Thanks Gengar, it's time to return to your Pokeball now," Gaius replied. The trainer pressed the button on Gengar's Pokeball and watched as the ghost type was sucked inside its Pokeball. With Munchlax situated on the machine and Gengar returned to its Pokeball, Gaius turned his attention back towards Professor Oak. "Now that Munchlax is on the machine, you can begin, right?" The trainer watched as Professor Oak nodded affirmatively. "Thank you for agreeing to help. Furthermore, I've decided who I want to bring with me after I leave the laboratory. You can keep Tyranitar, Dragonite, Blaziken, Beldum, and one of the Poliwag here. That will leave me with space in my party if I end up catching someone else before I reach the next town. I kind of wish that I could bring Beldum with me as it still needs to evolve, but frankly it only knows one attack, so I'll try and train it later at some point. Plus the Pokemon is from Hoenn, so you can have the chance to study it." The trainer handed Professor Oak the Pokeballs that he chose to leave and then turned and began to walk towards the stairs that led to the ground floor of Professor Oak's lab. Pikachu quickly followed behind his trainer.

Professor Oak nodded as Gaius handed him the Pokeballs. "Thank you for you giving me the opportunity to study some of your Pokemon while they're here at my lab. I'll make sure my assistants and I take good care of them while you're away." As Gaius started to walk down the stairs, Professor Oak called out to the young trainer. "The total time for prep and for the procedure will be about an hour or so. Just be sure to come back to the laboratory a little after an hour is up. I'll call you on your cell phone if anything comes up."

Gaius smiled and nodded as he walked down the stairs, quickly exiting the lab from a back entrance which led to the backyard where stored Pokemon graze. As he looked upon the field, the trainer could see many various Pokemon that were playing or grazing about. "Wow," he said, surprised at the variety of Pokemon there, "That's a Nidoking there and I can see a Nidoqueen standing right next to it." Both Pokemon were hunched over eating a large, shared bowl of Pokemon food. Gaius then turned his head to the right and saw even more Pokemon. "Oh, look. That's a Sandslash and a Primeape who seem to be sparring over there. I guess they're both trying to train to make themselves stronger." Gaius smiled and continued to comment on several other Pokemon, until he decided that there were simply too many to name.

After looking at many of the various Pokemon that were either playing, training, or eating in the backyard, Gaius found an open area that seemed devoid of Pokemon presence. He then turned to Pikachu, who stood a few feet behind him. "Pikachu, I know we kind of got off on the wrong foot, but would you like to help Whismur train a bit? I need to see what both you and he are capable of so I can plan on how to win battles using both of your skills. Would you be all right with sparring a bit with Whismur?"

"Pika," the electric mouse Pokemon replied hesitantly, reluctantly agreeing to his trainer's proposition. Pikachu then moved a foot in front of Gaius and waited for him to call forth Whismur so that the Pokemon could train.

Gaius reached down onto his belt and pulled off Whismur's Pokeball, throwing it forward a few feet after he pushed the button on the Pokeball. He then watched as the small, pink Pokemon exited the ball and stood several feet in front of the trainer and Pikachu. "Whismur, would it be ok if you trained with Pikachu? I promise you won't get hurt, or anything. If anything ends up happening, we're right outside Professor Oak's, so you can get help there."

Whismur nodded and assumed a fighting position as it waited for Gaius to issue a command to Pikachu. "Whismur, Whis," it yelled as it tried to make a strong first impression in the battle.

"Pikachu," Gaius yelled, "start off with a Thundershock attack. Whismur, use whatever attack you can to counter Thundershock. If you don't have any attacks that can counter the attack, try to use whatever attack you can to stop Pikachu in its tracks." Gaius smiled as both of his Pokemon prepared to battle. 'I'm quite glad that I thought of this training method. By pitting my Pokemon against each other, I can test their potential without having to actually find a wild Pokemon or other trainer to deal with. Let's see what these Pokemon are actually capable of.'

Pikachu's body began to glow yellow as it prepared to unleash a strong Thundershock attack. "Pika," the electric mouse Pokemon yelled as a electricity shot from its body towards the small Whismur. The normal Pokemon seemed completely unsure of how it should respond in a situation like this. Obviously this was the first time that the Pokemon had ever trained with another Pokemon, let alone participated in a battle.

Gaius tried to call out to his Pokemon, hoping to bring it to its senses. "Whismur, you have to think of some attack that you can do. Try to incapacitate Pikachu so it can't attack you any more. Don't worry about hurting Pikachu, if this were a real Pokemon battle you would have to do everything it takes to knock out the other Pokemon. Don't ever hold back, holding back only leads to defeat and loss. You don't want to lose, right?" The trainer then watched as Whismur was struck by Pikachu's Thundershock. "Whismur, now, counterattack before your opponent strikes again. Pikachu, begin to charge another Thundershock!"

Whismur began to look at Pikachu with a hint of defiance in its eyes. It seemed as if the Pokemon wanted to prove to both itself and its trainer that it had true strength and potential. The small normal type Pokemon rushed towards Pikachu as its left arm began to glow white. Whismur swung its arm, causing a white crescent blade to fly from its arm towards its opponent. The blade hit Pikachu directly in the face, causing the Pokemon to be knocked back a few feet.

Pikachu looked slightly shaken by the attack, however its body soon glowed yellow as it prepared to expell another burst of electricity from its body. The Thundershock attack traveled quickly from the electric mouse's body to its target, leaving Whismur engulfed in electricity as it felt the full force of the attack. "Pika," the Pokemon yelled, outrageously celebrating its success so far in the battle.

Gaius quickly interjected when he saw Pikachu begin to look complacent. "Pikachu, stand ready. Just because you're doing good so far doesn't mean a thing. All can change with just one move in a Pokemon battle. If you let your guard up at all, you're only inviting defeat." The trainer paused while thinking of a new command. "Now, try a Quick Attack. See if you can finish it off before Whismur can even make a second move!" 'I hope that this battle will teach Whismur that it has to think on its feet if it wants to stay conscious in Pokemon matches. It can't afford any type of mistakes at all, especially if this would have been a gym battle.' The trainer then watched as his Pikachu quickly ran towards Whismur.

Pikachu began to speed up, closing the gap between himself and his opposing Pokemon in mere seconds. As the electric mouse was inches from Whismur, the yellow Pokemon jumped off the ground and slammed its body hard into the normal type Pokemon. Whismur fell backwards and quickly found itself unable to move or attack. Gaius quickly looked at Whismur's condition and then spoke. "Pikachu, that's enough. Whismur is unable to battle, you win this sparring competition." The trainer then approached his almost knocked out Pokemon and knelt down so he could pick up the small, pink Whismur. "Just because you happened to lose this one, Whismur, doesn't mean that you should stop trying to be strong. The only thing that separates you and Pikachu is that you're barely more than a newborn. I'm sure as we travel you'll get stronger and eventually evolve into a Loudred or Exploud. Try and be more confident in battles and you'll do better every time." Gaius then smiled as his baby Pokemon and quickly recalled it into its Pokeball. "Rest easy, Whismur," he said to himself, as he fascened the Pokeball back onto his belt.

With the sparring match over, Gaius decided to spend the rest of the time relaxing out in the backyard. He laid down on his back and glanced up at the sky, analyzing all of the large white clouds that floated overhead. The trainer then turned to his Pikachu, who was standing nearby. "Hey, Pikachu. I hope you were listening when I was talking to Whismur, the same goes for you, too. Although you won the competition, you shouldn't ever be lax or too confident. Always try your hardest and always make sure your moves have the maximum possible power output. We're going to be battling gyms ahead and you're probably going to be staying on my team for a while." Gaius laughed and smiled at his Pikachu. "It would be kinda hard to send you back to Professor Oak from out in the wilderness after all, if you still refuse to go back into your Pokeball." The trainer paused and then reached down onto his belt. He quickly pulled out Pikachu's Pokeball and tried to recall the yellow Pokemon. When the electric mouse saw what he was attempting, the Pokemon quickly fired off a Thundershock attack which landed a few inches from its trainers feet. Gaius then shook his head in exasperation. "Ok, I guess no Pokeball still. Fine, I can get used to you walking behind me." He then sighed, and continued looking up at the clouds.

In what only seemed like a few minutes later, Gaius heard a loud beep coming from his cellular phone. He quickly pulled the device out of his pocket and learned that a full hour had just passed since he and his Pokemon went out as Professor Oak began to work on his Munchlax. The young trainer got up, quickly brushed himself off, and went back into the Pokemon lab. As Gaius climbed up the stairs to Professor Oak's laboratory, he heard the sound of the Professor's voice.

"Now, Munchlax, aren't you happy now that we've removed the Pokeball?" Gaius reached the top of the stairs and saw Professor Oak gently patting the normal type Pokemon on the head. When the old man saw Gaius, he quickly turned and addressed the trainer. "Ah Gaius, you came just in time. I was able to complete the procedure only a few moments ago. Oh, and don't worry, the process was a complete success. I was able to remove the Pokeball and your Munchlax didn't feel a thing." Professor Oak reached into his pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. He then outstretched his hand and gave the ball to Munchlax's trainer. As he handed it over, the professor looked at the ball and began to speak again. "In case you were curious, the Pokeball also is in perfect working order and suffered no ill affects at all from being in Munchlax's stomach. Pokeballs are built to be very durable and can take quite a beating before ever breaking. In addition to being waterproof, which of course was a necessity for water type Pokemon trainers, Pokeballs can be exposed to high heat and a variety of other conditions that would normally disable most electronic devices. I wouldn't be surprised if the Pokeballs that we use today won't still be functional hundreds of years down the road, either." The old man smiled as he looked back at Munchlax. "Anyway, I'm sure you would like to get back to your adventure. I know I wouldn't want to have to sit around if I had just started out on a Pokemon journey, so I don't want to hold you up either."

Gaius smiled and shook his head at the professor. "Nonsense, I quite enjoyed being able to meet you, Professor Oak. I'm also quite glad to know that my Pokemon will have a nice place to come to when I catch more in the wild to add to my collection." The young trainer paused for a moment as he pondered a possible problem. After a moment, he quickly began to speak again. "I'm just wondering, do you happen to have some sort of portable Pokeball transport device? I know all Pokemon Centers have video phones and transport machines, but my adventures may not always allow me to be close to a Pokemon Center. I might also need to quickly switch Pokemon out before a Pokemon battle at a gym, or I may want to switch my newest capture into my party so I could train it to evolve as soon as possible. I haven't heard of such a device out for public use, but I know if such a device exists, you would be the one to have it. If money is an issue, I could pay you anything you require to help cover the expense."

Professor Oak heartily laughed and then shook his head. "No, no, I don't charge for my services. I get enough funding from the Pokemon research organizations to fund all of my activities here. Plus, I enjoy studying Pokemon and helping young trainers like yourself simply out of the goodness of my heart. If people like me, and other Pokemon professors, didn't actually like studying Pokemon, I'm sure we could all have chosen a different like of work." The professor then scratched his chin for a moment as he contemplated what to say next. "But, about your question, I may have just the thing. Bill Sonezaki, the Pokemon researcher who lives in Cerulean City, happened to send me a prototype design for a Pokemon transporter a few weeks ago. I've tested the design myself, so I know it works, but I'm unsure about the range that the device can transport over. Bill doesn't get out much from his cottage, so he can't exactly test the range out either. I wouldn't mind letting you borrow the machine for a while, so you can test it out yourself." He turned and quickly went to his wooden desk and opened the bottom drawer. He then pulled out an object that was about three fourth's the size of a counter-top coffee machine.

Instead of there being a carafe, there was an open space with a small, circular ridge on the bottom of the opening. There were about four small rectangular buttons located under the opening and a small blank screen that Gaius surmised was a digital readout of some sort. The two buttons to the left of the screen had an arrows printed on them, one button pointing up, and the other arrow pointing down. The other two buttons were on the right side of the screen, with one being colored green, and the other red. A small grey, flat back connected the base of the machine to an overhanging piece. The overhang was shaped like a smaller version of the Pokeball transporter, with a similar pinkish orb on top of the overhanging piece. Professor Oak handed Gaius the machine, and then began to explain the machines functions.

"The buttons here on the left can select where you want the Pokeball sent. All of the standard Pokemon centers should be in the database, as well as of course my lab. Once you select where you want to sync up your machine, press the green button on the right. Then your Pokeball will either be sent to there or you can receive a Pokemon from that location. Once you're done sending or getting Pokemon, simply press the red button to turn the device off." The professor paused and then continued speaking with a sense of assurance. "In case you're worried, the transporter can detect whether a transfer will be successful or not, given the range and if the location is allowing for Pokemon transfer at that time. If, for any reason, the transfer cannot be completed, it will display an error message and will not allow your Pokemon to be sent anywhere." The old man then smiled as he handed the machine over to Gaius, who quickly stuffed the transporter into his backpack. The professor turned and began to walk away from the trainer, until he quickly put his hand to his forehead and shook his head. He then opened the second drawer on his desk and pulled out a small, black object.

"I almost forgot, I was able to set up my machine to create a black Pokedex for you as requested. This has the same capabilities as the red one I showed you earlier, however I added a slight modification that I already planned to add in my future Pokedex designs. Your Pokedex can wirelessly receive information from other regions if it detects a Pokemon that is not already in its Kanto-based database. It will then keep and store the newly acquired data onto its hard drive so you can recall the information at any time. Although you could technically download all of the regions information at once, it would be best to not overtax the device if you can avoid it." The professor then handed Gaius the black Pokedex and then continued speaking. "Feel free to call me anytime if you need help or want to transfer a Pokemon. I'll keep good care of your Blaziken, Beldum, and the other Pokemon that you're leaving here. Take care Gaius, and good luck in your journey." Professor Oak then smiled as he bade the trainer farewell.

"Thanks for all of your help professor," Gaius replied. He quickly recalled his Munchlax and readied to walk down the stairs and exit the building. The young trainer exited the laboratory and then began to walk down the road out of Pallet Town with his Pikachu steps behind him.
Chapter 4: The Special Pink Pokemon?

Gaius continued to walk down the streets of Pallet Town, eager to leave the town so he could begin the next part of his Pokemon journey. He glanced down at his belt, which currently held five Pokeballs, three normal, one with the lid painted black, and one with a small lightning bolt on the lid. ‘Since I left most of my Pokemon at Professor Oak’s for him to study, I hope I can catch someone useful right away.’ The trainer looked back and saw his newest Pokemon, Pikachu, who was walking a few feet behind him. “You ready to leave Pallet Town, Pikachu? I know you probably haven’t explored much of the World, but you’re going to be traveling with me for a while.”

Pikachu tilted his head and replied, “Pikachu, Pika.” The small, yellow Pokemon ran closer to its trainer and began to walk in-step with the human.

As the pair neared the exit of Pallet Town, Gaius saw a small sign by the side of the road. “Route 1, ahead,” Gaius read aloud. The trainer then paused and thought for a moment. ‘I wonder if there are any good Pokemon on Route 1. I’d love to be able to find a sixth Pokemon that can be added back to my team. Oh, wait, I can figure out what kind of Pokemon are already on Route 1.’ Gaius quickly pulled out his black Pokedex out of his pocket. “Pokedex, what kind of Pokemon are available on Route 1?”

The Pokedex began to beep for several seconds, and then started to answer Gaius. “The most common Pokemon that can be found on Route 1 are Pidgey and Rattata. Pidgey, the Tiny Bird Pokemon, can evolve twice. Its first evolution is to Pidgeotto, and its final evolution is Pidgeot. Rattata, the Rat Pokemon, can evolve once into Raticate. Both Pidgey and Rattata are thought of as perfect targets for the beginning Pokemon trainer to test their Pokemon’s skills.” As the Pokedex entry finished, Gaius sighed, putting the machine back in his pocket.

‘Although I’ve only been a Pokemon trainer for a month, I don’t really think I consider myself a new Pokemon trainer. Plus, I already have a flying-type Pokemon, Dragonite, who’s at Professor Oak’s laboratory. I also don’t like the idea of a rat-based Pokemon. I’ve never really liked rats at all, so I don’t think I’d like a rat-type Pokemon.’ The trainer shook his head and then began to speak. “Come’ on Pikachu, I don’t think there’s anything on this route that I want to capture. Let’s just get moving as fast as we can so we can get to the next town. Hopefully there’s something good in Viridian City.” As the trainer began to pick up his pace, a large, piercing screech was heard overhead. Pikachu and Gaius looked up, and saw a large Pokemon flying high above their heads.

The Pokemon had two large, red-colored wings with grey markings on them, as well as a tail matching in color. Black lines extended from its wings and tail which led back towards its torso and intersected there. On each appendage, there were five black claws, three of which were longer and swung inward as if they were weapons. The Pokemon's head had a small beak-like mouth, with black horns covering the top of its head, above its eyes. There was a large, think circle of grey plumage or feathers around the Pokemon's neck, similar to how a vulture would look. The flying Pokemon had two, bird-like legs with three grey talons that were placed in a similar style to the appendages on its body.

Gaius quickly pulled out his Pokedex and pointed it towards the sky. ‘I wonder what kind of Pokemon that is. It certainly looks quite powerful. If I can find out where it naturally lives, I can try to track it down and capture it if I get Dragonite back from the Professor. I can’t wait to add a Pokemon like that to my collection.’ As Gaius finished speaking, his Pokedex emitted three low, beeping tones.

“There is no data. There still are Pokémon yet to be identified. Please communicate with your regional Pokemon professor if you believe this message to be in error.”

The trainer quickly frowned as he looked down at his Pokedex. “What do you mean, no data? Professor Oak told me that you can download information wirelessly from any of the five main Pokemon regions, so you should have some information. Either one of the regional data centers must be having a problem or I guess this Pokedex is junk after all!” Gaius stuffed the Pokedex back into his pocket and grumbled for a moment, until a thought dawned on him.

‘Wait, if this Pokemon really hasn’t been discovered yet, I can take a picture and sell it to Professor Oak for a mint. I’m sure the Professor would love to get his hands on visual proof of a new Pokemon that he hasn't seen before.’ The young man quickly reached into his right pocket and pulled out his mobile phone. As he pressed the button to turn on the device, he was greeted by the sign of a bright, red, flashing battery symbol. “Out of power? How can you be out of power? You were at half power yesterday before I checked in to the inn, and I’ve only used you to call Professor Oak this morning!” The trainer frowned as he put his phone back into his pocket. “Well, I guess I won’t be able to take a picture. I can only hope that I can figure out what that Pokemon is, someday.” The pair watched for a moment until the flying Pokemon was out of sight.

Gaius and Pikachu continued to walk down the path of Route 1, the simple grass-filled plains not offering much to look at, both in Pokemon and scenery. After several minutes, the pair could hear the sound of movement inside a small, rustling bush what was several feet off the main path. “Let’s try and see what it is,” the trainer whispered to his electric Pokemon. Gaius and Pikachu slowly inched towards the bush, trying to make as little noise as possible. “Try to use Thundershock on that bush. If that’s a Pokemon in there, I may want to capture it. I don’t think Pidgey would hide in a bush, and if it’s a Rattata we can just knock it out so you can get stronger.” The trainer knelt down, inches from the bush, waiting for his Pokemon to attack.

Pikachu’s body rippled with small sparks of electricity as it shot towards the rustling bush. As the lighting struck the bush, a loud noise could be heard coming from inside.

“Odddd,” the Pokemon shouted, as a small creature jumped out from the bushes.

The Pokemon had a round, dark blue colored body, with two similarly colored blue feet. There was a small, dark green tuft of leaves on top of its head, almost as if they were actual thick pieces of grass. Gaius could count five distinct leaves on the creature’s head, each several inches wide. A few inches beneath its leaves, there were a pair of blood-red beady eyes. The Pokemon seemed quite frail and weak, which surprised the human who was watching him.

Gaius smiled as he looked at the new-found creature. “Wow, I haven’t seen that Pokemon before. It must not normally be found in this area of Kanto. You seem like some kind of Grass type Pokemon. I don’t have a Grass type yet, so I might as well see what you’re all about.” The trainer pulled out his Pokedex and pointed it in the direction of the blue Pokemon, hoping that the device could provide insight on his newest find. ‘This should also give me a chance to see if this Pokedex actually still works. I haven’t had a reason to use it after I found that other unknown Pokemon earlier.’

The small, black Pokedex beeped for a few seconds and then began to announce information. “Oddish. This Pokémon is typically found roaming the forest, scattering pollen as it walks around. Oddish evolves once into Gloom and then can evolve again into either Vileplume or Belossom, depending upon which method is used. Gloom evolves into Vileplume by exposing the Pokemon to a Leaf Stone and can evolve into Belossom by being exposed to a Sun Stone.”

‘Oh, well,’ Gaius paused, contemplating the Pokedex entry. ‘That certainly sounds interesting. As another branched evolution, I can decide what kind of Pokemon I want later when I have a Gloom. I’ll be sure to look at each of its evolutions before I decide on which I want.’ The trainer put the machine back in his pocket and reached down towards his belt. ‘I can try to use my new Whismur on Oddish. Since the wild Pokemon doesn’t seem too strong, they should be on even footing.’ Gaius picked Whismur’s Pokeball and threw it forward. “Whismur, come forth for battle! Take down this wild Pokemon so I can capture it.” He then watched as the small, pink Pokemon emerged from its Pokeball in a flash of white light.

“Whismur, Whis,” the Normal type Pokemon yelled as it appeared in front of the Grass type. Whismur looked eager for battle and began to stare down the wild Pokemon as he waited for a command from his trainer.

Gaius smiled, noticing Whismur’s attitude in the battle. ‘Good, it finally looks like it’s ready for a battle. I hope proves to be good experience for him. The more he battles, the sooner he’ll evolve into something more powerful.’ The trainer began to think for a moment on what move he should call out. ‘I could start with Uproar, or possibly something weaker like Pound. I don’t want to fully knock out Oddish before I have a chance to capture it.’ As Gaius continued to think, he could hear the sound of heavy footfalls coming from behind.

The trainer turned, and saw someone running towards him. The individual was a young man who looked about Gaius’ age. The newcomer had light skin, brown eyes, bright green hair that was parted down the front and covered most of his forehead. He was dressed in a black shirt and plain black pants. The shirt had a white collar and a large, red letter R was placed in the middle of the shirt. The young man also wore white boots as well as matching white gloves, each one having a red stripe near the end of the piece of clothing. The strangely dressed young man stopped when he was feet away from Gaius and he began to speak.

“Hey, you, kid. I have to ask you a question. Have you seen a floating pink colored Pokemon anywhere around here? I’m looking for it so I can capture it. I’ll definitely make it worth your while if you can tell me where to find what I’m looking for.” The new arrival waited for Gaius to respond, looking impatient as each second passed.

Gaius looked confused at the young man, perplexed at what kind of Pokemon he was looking for. ‘I haven’t even heard of a floating pink Pokemon, let alone actually seen one. I should try to figure out more from this guy before I tell him anything.’ The young trainer paused for a moment and then responded. “First off, who are you? Second, can you tell me any additional details about this Pokemon that you’re trying to find? Third, and, this is the most important thing, can’t you see I’m busy trying to catch a Pokemon?” The trainer sighed, hoping that this conversation could end as soon as he was able to ascertain the needed information from the newcomer.

“My name’s Butch, I’m with a Pokemon finding organization called Team Rocket. I’m trying to find the Pokemon so I can add it to my collection. The Pokemon’s name is Mew, and it’s very powerful. Mew is small, about the size of a Pikachu, and has a pink tail. The Pokemon can float using its psychic powers so it can seem to fly or float around.” Butch then paused and looked around towards Gaius. “I can’t see any Pokemon by you except Pikachu or Whismur, which one were trying to capture?”

“What do you mean just those? There’s also an…”Gaius quickly turned away from Butch, hoping to focus his attention on the Oddish that he was about to capture. When he looked towards the bush that Oddish had been in front of, he was unable to locate the Pokemon. The young trainer quickly scrambled turning back and forth, trying to see where the Pokemon went, but he could not find any trace of it. The trainer then angrily turned back towards Butch. “Wow, thanks a lot. You and your silly quest for this Mew Pokemon have made the Pokemon I was going to capture get away. And, for the record, I haven’t seen your precious pink Pokemon. Even if I did, though, you’d be the last one I’d ever tell, considering you wasted a perfectly good opportunity that I had.” Gaius looked menacingly at Butch, hoping to convey his anger and frustration with the Team Rocket member’s interruption. “I have to get going, I need to see if I can track down that Oddish or find someone else for me to capture. If that Mew is as powerful as you say, I may try adding that to my team.” Gaius quickly recalled his Whismur and turned away from the newcomer.

Butch frowned and then yelled as Gaius began to walk away. “Even if you can find Mew, it’s way too powerful for you to capture it under normal circumstances. If you do happen to find it, you should find me and let me know where it is. Remember there’s a handsome reward in it for you if you help me. I’m sorry about letting that Oddish get away, but, seriously, that Pokemon isn’t worth your time anyway. You’re probably much better off without it.”

Gaius laughed as he continued to walk away from the green-haired Pokemon trainer. “Yeah, I’ll think about what you said. I am already very well off, so money is meaningless. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’m a much better Pokemon trainer than you. I stand a much better chance at capturing this rare Pokemon than you ever will.”

The young trainer continued to walk along the path, with his yellow Pikachu walking behind him. He hoped to find some sort of powerful or rare Pokemon for him to add to his collection. ‘I wouldn’t mind running into that special Pokemon that guy was talking about. What was that guy’s name, Butch, or something? Anyway, Mew seems like it would certainly have a place in my team.’ Gaius looked to the right of the path and noticed a small pond that was surrounded by several large bushes. ‘I wonder if I could try and find a water Pokemon again. I do already have a Poliwag, but I know there are better options out there.’

The young man quickly began to reach into his backpack and pull out his fishing rod as he reached the water’s edge; however, he stopped reaching for his rod when he heard a strange sound coming from the other side of the pond.

He looked across the pond and could hear a high pitched, soothing sound coming from seemingly out of nowhere. “Ewwww, Meuuuu,” the sound seemed to resonate in the air and repeated several times until the noise ceased. Gaius then noticed something coming out from between the bushes on the other side of the pond. He could see a small, pink Pokemon that was floating several inches above the ground. The Pokemon had two legs with large feet, with three toes on each foot. It had short, stubby arms and three pointy fingers at the end of each arm. There were two triangle shaped ears on top of its head, and two large, blue, oval shaped eyes on its face.

Gaius stared at the Pokemon as it floated back and forth, moving in vertical circles in the air. ‘That has to be Mew. The guy’s description seems spot on to what this Pokemon is. From what Butch said, I know this Pokemon is incredibly powerful, and that’s exactly the kind of Pokemon that I want for my team.’ The trainer reached down onto his belt and pulled off Gengar’s Pokeball. ‘I probably should lead off with my strongest Pokemon, and Psychic-type Pokemon are weak to ghosts. I only hope I can put it down before it can retaliate with a Psychic-type move and hurt my Gengar too much.’

He then threw Gengar’s Pokeball into the air and watched as the ghost Pokemon appeared in a flash of white and hovered in the air. “Gengar,” Gaius shouted, “use Shadow Ball on that Pokemon!” The trainer then looked on as his Pokemon formed a purple and black colored ball and hurled it at the wild Pokemon. Gaius then followed the ball’s trajectory and knew that it was spot on to hit Mew. However, in the blink of an eye, the pink Pokemon vanished out of the Shadow Ball’s path and reappeared a few feet away. “What, how can it do that? It must have the Teleport move, just like Abra and its evolutions have. I need to have Gengar be quicker if I have any hope of capturing it.”

Mew began to stare at Gaius and Gengar, looking puzzled as to why it was being attacked. The Pokemon slowly put its hands together and a light blue orb of energy formed between its hands. The light blue orb then shot forward towards Gengar, hitting the Pokemon squarely in its face. A light blue aura surrounded Gengar and the Pokemon fell towards the ground and began to twitch while yelling its name. Within a few moments, the Ghost-type Pokemon stopped moving its vocalizations ceased.

“Oh my,” Gaius muttered, completely stunned by the recent turn of events. “That Pokemon was able to knock out my Gengar just in one hit. Gengar was my strongest Pokemon, I’m not sure if I have anything that’s even capable of making a dent in it.” The trainer frowned and quickly recalled Gengar back into its Pokeball. Gaius then heard yelling coming from behind him. He turned and once again saw Butch, the trainer who had interrupted his last battle. However, this time, Butch was not alone.

The male trainer was accompanied by a young woman, who wore clothes similar to what the green-haired had on. However, instead of pants, she had a shirt black skirt on, as well as an incredibly large, almost comical pair of boots that reached up to her thighs. She had pale skin, violet colored eyes, and dark blonde hair with a similar middle part, as well as heavy flowing pigtails of some sort that reached down to her shoulders. “Look, Butch. We’ve actually found Mew. The boss will be so happy if we manage to get the DNA sample that we need for our experiments. He’ll reward us for sure, possibly even send us some more Pokemon for us to use.”

Butch smiled and chimed in, the pair apparently not noticing Gaius as all of their attention was focused on Mew. “I know, right. Who would have thought we’d find the Pokemon already after we’ve only been searching for two weeks. I even tried to ask anyone I saw if they’d seen Mew, but none of them had. I lied to each and every one of them, offering money and telling them that we were Pokemon collectors. I wonder what any of them would think if they knew we were going to use it for our organization’s goal.” Butch reached down into his pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. “I’ll send my Primeape to collect the DNA right now!” The trainer chuckled as he prepared to throw his Pokeball.

Gaius quickly moved from where he was and positioned himself between the duo and Mew. “So, Butch, you were lying to me the whole time? Instead of just wanting to capture the Pokemon, you wanted to experiment on it for who knows what reason? I wouldn’t mind if you just wanted its power to add to your team, or if you were really just wanted it as a collection piece, but experimenting on Pokemon like that is just horrid. I don’t mind too many things that most would consider wrong, as most people are too bent on morality. However, the fact that anyone wants to hurt or experiment on a Pokemon for their own gains is totally unacceptable! I’ll stop you right here, and right now. Prepare for battle Butch!”

The woman spoke first, seemingly confused by Gaius’ arrival. “Butch, who is this guy?” She then turned to Gaius and continued speaking. “The name’s Cassidy by the way, and no matter what you say, that Mew is going to be ours.” Cassidy paused and reached into her pants pocket. “This is going to ensure you don’t get in our way!” She pulled out a device that looked like a small taser and aimed it at Gaius. “I’ll give you one chance to step away from the Pokemon, or I’ll make you regret ever crossing Team Rocket.”

Gaius stared at Cassidy, not moving an inch from his position between the duo and Mew. “I don’t care if you threaten me Cassidy, I’m not going to let you get your hands on this rare Pokemon. Whatever you two plan to do, you should just stop trying and go back where you came from. There’s no way I’m going to let you get what you want.” Gaius reached towards his belt and quickly prepared to throw a Pokeball.

As soon as Gaius reached towards his belt, Cassidy pressed the trigger on the taser, causing two barbs to shoot out from the gun and hit the young trainer in the chest. The sudden electrical shock caused the trainer to double over and shake violently. “See, look what you made me do, little kid. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I can’t allow anyone to get in our way. Stay down and I won’t shock you again.”

Gaius looked angrily up at the pair as he lay on the ground, still feeling incredible pain from the electrical shock. “What do you mean, ‘little kid’, I’m about the same age as you two. Just because you’re in some big, bad group doesn’t mean that you’re any better than me. You people are disgusting!” The trainer slowly tried to rise off the ground, hoping to be able to throw a Pokeball so he could defend Mew. The action caused another shock from Cassidy’s stun gun.

“I told you to just stay down, you fool. Why wouldn’t you just listen to me,” Cassidy yelled. She then turned to Butch. “Butch, just go and get some DNA from that Pokemon so we can be off. I would prefer to be back at base by dinnertime, you know how hungry I get if I don’t eat at regular intervals.” She then turned her attention back towards Gaius and kept her finger on the trigger, in case she had to shock the trainer for a third time.

The green-haired trainer moved closer to Mew, walking quickly past Gaius in order to retrieve a DNA sample. Just as Butch was inches away from the Psychic-type Pokemon, a white beam of light shot out, seemingly from out of nowhere. The beam shot in the space in-between Butch and Mew, causing both person and Pokemon to look around trying to see its source.

Gaius, who was still recovering from his second electrical shock, weakly turned his head and looked towards the direction of the beam. A small, blue Pokemon appeared from behind the bushes to the right of the lake. The trainer immediately recognized it as Oddish, possibly even the very same Oddish that Gaius had tried to capture before.

“What’s that, there?” Cassidy asked surprised as she looked at the newly arrived Pokemon. “Is that a little Oddish that is trying to foil our plans? Well, I can’t allow you to get in the way, little Pokemon, so I’m going to have to teach you the ways of pain!” The female trainer reached onto her belt and grabbed the Pokeball that rested there. “Go, Raticate! Use Hyper Fang on that pathetic weakling. Teach it to never mess with Team Rocket.” A large brown and white rat looking Pokemon appeared in a flash of white, and then menacing stared down the wild Pokemon.

“Oddish…Odd…” The wild Pokemon looked back at its opponent and began to shudder.

Gaius could tell that Oddish didn’t enjoy battling at all, and it probably only meant to save Mew, not realizing what trouble it would get itself into. “Come on, Oddish. You can defeat that Raticate. I know you just wanted to help Mew out, but right now it’s all on your shoulders. Show Butch and Cassidy that you’re a lot more than just a normal, weak Pokemon.” The young trainer tried to move his hands towards his own Pokeballs, but found his hands to be unresponsive and numb.

The Oddish began to glow green as it stored energy, preparing its next attack. During the few moments where it remained motionless, Raticate quickly moved towards the Grass-type Pokemon and opened its mouth wide. The Pokemon’s sharp teeth bit into the Pokemon’s skin, causing the blue-colored Pokemon to cry out in pain. After the Hyper Fang attack, the Normal-type Pokemon retreated back to in front of its trainer.

Oddish then glowed brighter and another bright beam of light shot from the Pokemon’s mouth. The beam hit Cassidy’s Raticate, knocking the Pokemon back several feet and causing it to slam into Cassidy. The force of the beam, which was still quite strong, stuck Cassidy as well. The force of the beam caused the female trainer to scream in pain. A portion of her shirt near her stomach had been torn away, and Gaius could see a pattern of scorched flesh on her stomach.

“Butch, ughh,” Cassidy yelled in pain towards the male trainer. “Forget about Mew, I need to get back to the base to heal. That Solarbeam attack did some serious damage.” She clutched at her wound and winced in pain as her fingers touched her burnt flesh.

Butch then turned towards Cassidy and looked concerned. “I didn’t think a weak Pokemon like that could have so much power in just one attack.” The male trainer reached into his pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. “Come on out, Abra. Use Teleport to get Cassidy and I back to headquarters!” An Abra appeared in a flash of white and quickly enveloped the trio in a purple glow. Within a second, the two trainers, Abra, and Raticate all vanished without a trace.

Several minutes after Team Rocket vanished, Gaius found himself able to stand. He quickly surveyed the area and found that Mew had disappeared. However, the little Oddish that had helped Gaius and Mew was still present, staring at Gaius from in front of the pond. The trainer slowly walked over to the grass Pokemon and knelt down close to it.

“Thank you for the help, Oddish. I know that it wasn’t easy, being brave and all that. But, you did the right thing, helping Mew and I when we were in trouble.” He slowly waved his hands across Oddish’s leaves, which caused the Pokemon to smile and coo its name.

Oddish stared up at Gaius and continued to smile. The Pokemon then looked at Gaius longingly and nudged the trainer with the leaves on its head.

“What’s that, Oddish?” Gaius was unsure of what the Pokemon wanted. “Do you want to travel with me and help me in my gym matches? If you want to, I don’t mind. Honestly, I was planning on capturing you anyway.”

“Oddish Odd-dishh,” The Pokemon yelled, nodding at Gaius as he asked the Pokemon a question. The Grass-type Pokemon then stood several feet away from its trainer and waited for Gaius to make a move.

The trainer reached inside his pockets and pulled out an empty Pokeball. Gaius then threw the Pokeball towards the Grass-type Pokemon. Oddish was slowly sucked inside the Pokeball, which closed and began to shake. After several seconds, the shaking stopped and a loud beeping noise came from the Pokeball. Gaius walked over towards the ball and picked it up. He then put the ball into his pocket and turned around to see his Pikachu exiting a nearby bush.

“Pikachu, where have you been for like the past twenty minutes? I saw Mew and then was almost electrocuted by two guys from Team Rocket. I could have really used your help back there, but I guess you were too busy doing whatever to bother to help out your trainer.” He looked upset and downcast at the electric mouse Pokemon, waiting for a response.

Pikachu seemed to shrug and looked at Gaius. “Pika, chu chu Pikachu!” The Pokemon then ran towards its trainer and stopped in front of him, seemingly ready to follow Gaius once again.

“I know you sometimes like to do your own thing, but please stay near me from now on.” Gaius looked pleadingly at the Electric-type Pokemon, hoping that it would follow his wishes in the future. The trainer glanced down at Oddish’s Pokeball, glad that he had added another Pokemon to his collection. ‘Wow, I’ve already seen two rare Pokemon in one day, and it’s not even four, yet. I wonder what the rest of today will bring.’ Gaius and Pikachu then continued walking down the path of Route One, eager to see what new experiences the rest of the day would bring them.

Current Team: Gengar, Munchlax, Poliwag, Whismur, Pikachu, Oddish
Chapter 5: A Barrel of Laughs at the Circus

Gaius Vi Britannia looked up at the sky and smiled, his pale-grey eyes gently catching the light of the bright blue sky. The young trainer was fresh off capturing a new Pokemon, an Oddish, less than an hour ago. It had been barely more than a month since Gaius left his home in Pendragon following the death of his father, the capture of his Gengar, and the acquisition of several powerful Pokemon including a Tyranitar and a Dragonite. The young man left most of his Pokemon at Professor Oak’s for them to be studied, leaving only five Pokemon in his possession. He then set off on Route One, hoping to continue his adventure.

As the young man continued walking down Route One, he looked down towards his belt and examined the five Pokeballs that hung there. ‘I’m actually back to a full party again since I caught that Oddish half an hour ago. I wonder how long it will be for me to reach Viridian City.’ Several minutes later, the trainer began to hear mechanical humming, as well as a large commotion of voices, human and Pokémon alike. ‘I wonder what's going on up ahead,’ Gaius pondered, as the noises grew louder with each step he took. “I don't think it would take too long to find out what's going on," Gaius spoke aloud, "Pikachu, want to go with me and check that out?" He asked his newly received Pokémon, unsure if Pikachu would want to keep on walking instead.

"Pika," the Pokémon replied, seemingly shrugging its shoulders as he began to walk towards the collection of noises.

"I guess that's a yes," Gaius replied, laughing, and, for once, following Pikachu as he let his Pokémon take the lead. After a few minutes of walking, the duo came across a wide-open field where a large gathering of people had congregated. Gaius noticed that there were some individuals who were in various forms of eccentric looking clothing and attire. Each person Gaius passed seemed completely engrossed in whatever activity they were performing. Some people were pitching tents or setting up booths, while others were assembling various amusement park rides, all seemingly for some sort of fair or social gathering. Not wanting to bother those who seemed quite busy with their various tasks, the Pokemon trainer decided to keep walking through the field, attempting to find someone whom he could talk to, to figure out what was going on.

"Hey, you," a deep, but joyful voice yelled behind Gaius, "are you lost, guy?"

Gaius quickly turned around to face the direction that the voice emanated from. He saw a large, tall, man with extremely large and muscly arms. The man was at least 6"2, and was wearing a tight, red, body-building leotard that purposefully showed off his extensive muscles. "Yeah, I'm sorry," Gaius muttered to the bodybuilder, unsure if he was in trouble.

"Oh, no, you're fine," the large man joyfully replied, sensing Gaius's unease and wariness, "this is where we're setting up a yearly circus. We travel all around Kanto all-year round and provide shows to the various towns and cities in the region. During the winter months we use indoor stadiums or convention centers, so even massive snowstorms can't stop us." The man then raised his arms and stretched them to his sides, as if to tell Gaius to explore the circus grounds. "Each Pokemon specializes in a specific act or attraction, trying to find new ways to entice crowds into coming. All the acts here took months if not years to train, and perfect. As their trainers, we take pride in our Pokemon's ability to perform their acts, while making sure they adhere to a rigorous training schedule. My Machop is so powerful he can lift me in one hand, and then throw me up into the air and catch me like it's no problem. Trust me, that's no easy feat, even for a Pokemon as strong as Machop."

"Wow," Gaius exclaimed. He was surprised by the complexity of the performers' training routine, and at the extent of acts they teach their Pokemon to perform. "So, do all of the Pokemon acts involve strength training, or what else do you guys do?" Gaius was eager to learn techniques from trainers that had such dedication. He knew he would need similar dedication if he was to succeed in the Kanto Pokemon League. "Do you think some of you could show me your acts? I'd love to learn how you guys were able to perfect such complex moves and acts. I'm a Pokemon trainer myself and would love to get tips from people as skilled as you and your fellow circus performers."

The strongman smiled wide and looked towards Gaius. He was glad a fellow trainer was interested in his routine. "If you want to get a behind the scenes tour of the circus, I'll see what I can do. Normally we don't get too many people who are curious about how the acts and stunts are performed. Most people just come when we're open and watch from the stands. To be honest, I'm surprised that you are so interested in what a bunch of circus performers do. I'll go see who's not busy and if they can spare a few minutes to talk with you about their routine. Oh, by the way, I forgot to introduce myself. The name's Arnold" The man then turned and sauntered off, looking around for anyone who was available.

As Gaius waited for Arnold to return, he walked a bit up and down the main stretch of tents and booths, seeing if he could find anyone else that he could talk to. He quickly spotted a young man who was standing in front of a large cannon. The young man began to load a large cannon full of gunpowder and other materials. When Gaius approached him, he could see a small, brown figure rolling around on the ground, in front of the cannon. Gaius was unsure what this figure was, but assumed it was some kind of Pokemon. He quickly looked at its body, trying to see if he could pick out any unique characteristics to search for in his cell phone.

The Pokemon had four round, grey bands on top of what seemed to be its forehead. At the top of those bands, a small, circular, grey tip was present, giving it the appearance of a handle found on a spinning top, or a miniature grey top hat. The Pokemon's body was dark brown and seemed to have two tan or cream-colored circles on its front. In the middle of both circles, a large black eye with tan pupils was present, almost appearing as if the black outer eye was a bandit's mask of some sort. At the bottom of its face, or body, Gaius was unsure which the figure would qualify as, two light-colored, toe-less feet stuck out, which Gaius assumed meant that the Pokemon was able to walk around, even though it seemed to enjoy rolling at the present time.

Gaius quickly searched his phone for the list of all Kanto region Pokemon, but he was unable to find any listing that matched what creature was in front of him. He glanced upward, as the young man who was prepping the cannon turned to face Gaius, as if he could sense that someone was staring at the Pokemon on the ground. This was the first time that Gaius had been able to properly look at the young man, given that all his attention up to that point had been focused on the new Pokemon in front of him.

The young man seemed to be in his mid to late teens, a few years younger than Gaius was at the time. He wore a tight-fitting orange leotard, and looked extremely thin and in-shape, almost to the point of sickness. The performer also had brown eyes and dark brown hair, with extremely pale skin. Gaius surmised that this individual must be the Pokemon's trainer, and approached the young man, hoping to find out information about the mystery Pokemon. As Gaius approached, he found himself looking downward to meet the stranger's eyes, as Gaius was at least one foot taller than the trainer, and it seemed as if that would be as tall as the young man would ever be.

"Hi, my name's Gaius, what's yours?" Gaius smiled and warmly stuck out his hand, trying to put the stranger at ease. In reality, he did not really care about the person's name. He only wanted to find out as much as possible about the diminutive Pokemon in front of him. While he was awaiting a response, Gaius's eyes shifted back to the brown Pokemon, who seemed unfazed by his arrival, as it continued to roll mere inches from his feet.

The young man smiled back towards Gaius, politely shook his hand, and introduced himself. "I'm Richard. My last name's Bach, if you were wondering." Richard slowly followed Gaius's eye-line and looked down at the Pokemon rolling in front of him. "Are you interested in Seedot? That's what this Pokemon is, by the way. Normally Seedot are only in Hoenn, but I caught this guy on a family trip to see my grandparents last year. He isn't my first Pokemon, but he sure is the most fun to have with me." Seedot's trainer smiled and smiled warmly towards his Pokemon.

"That's a Seedot, and you can only get one in the Hoenn region?" Gaius questioned, repeating the young man's answer. He was trying to squeeze as much information as he could out of Richard and figured the best way would be to ask as many questions as possible. Gaius craved information and new experiences, and if this Seedot became anything useful, he would be sure to try and add one to his team. "Does it evolve into anything, or does it just stay like that? What type is it? What other Pokemon do you have?"

"Woah, woah woah." Richard exclaimed, slowly taking a step back from Gaius. "Ask your questions one at a time next time. It'll make them a lot easier to answer. First off, yes, as I said, its name is Seedot, and it's from Hoenn. I hope you don't have short-term memory loss or something, that would totally suck." The young trainer laughed, trying to pass of a possibly offensive and rude comment as a joke. "After some battling, Seedot will evolve into a 'Nuzzleleaf', and if you give some sort of stone to it, it becomes a 'Shiftingtree'. At least, that's what my grandfather told me. He's not a Pokemon trainer or expert, so I'm not sure if he was right or not. Seedot is a Grass type, but I think he gains another type when he evolves. He could possibly end up being steel, or rock, or maybe dark. I honestly have no idea." Richard looked down towards the ground, seemingly ashamed by his lack of knowledge.

"Hey, it's ok." Gaius replied, pretending that he was trying comfort the young man. ‘So that’s why my search of the Kanto database turned up no results. Better I learn at least some information, which I could then follow up with later by checking the Hoenn database,’ he thought to himself. While he had no actual interest in how Richard was feeling, he knew that pressing someone too hard could lead to less information overall. Gaius was perfectly content with pacing his questions, as well as adding in useless personal information to make the young man feel at ease with him. ‘If he thinks I'm interested in being his friend, he could prove to be useful if he can direct me to any rare Pokemon in the area,’ Gaius pondered, and sought to make Richard a new friend.

"Yeah, I know it's ok," Richard replied, looking up from the ground, "I just wish I knew more about Pokemon. I only have a Charmeleon and a Pidgey at home. I got the Charmeleon from Professor Oak, in Pallet Town. Even though it was only a baby Charmander when I got it, I was able to train it a lot on Route 1 and in the Veridian Forest. I found out that bug and grass types can't handle fire, so I searched every day for Weedle and Caterpie to battle and was able to make it evolve in under a month. Its fire attacks were one of the only ways I was able to catch Seedot. I used Ember on it, and it weakened it a ton in one hit. I was so proud of my Charmeleon." Richard looked off into the distance and smiled, seemingly remembering his capture of Seedot. "I only have Seedot with me right now, none of my other Pokemon are needed for events at the moment. I decided that just leaving them at home would be best. Charmeleon can charbroil a steak in, like, twenty seconds." Richard laughed, and awaited Gaius's next question.
"So," Gaius asked, not really caring about the answer, "how did you even get into this circus anyway? Did you apply or something?"

"Well, about a year ago, the circus was traveling through my town, and they were looking for new members. I've always dreamed of being in a circus, since I first saw one when I was little, so I jumped at the chance to join. I brought my Seedot with me, and although he was my newest Pokemon, we were able to put a routine together. I would load him up into a cannon and shoot him out of it. He was sent flying into the air, and he would spin as he got shot along with confetti and streamers, so it would be a really cool show. The circus ringleader loved my idea, so he let me test it out with one of their cannons. Seedot performed so amazingly, that they hired me on the spot. Since then, I travel around with the circus, putting on shows with them. Although some would say it's not as fun as a normal trainer's journey for badges and stuff, I think this is the perfect fit for me."

Gaius sighed. He wished he could have avoided wasting him time with idle small talk, but he knew it was necessary in order to garner more information. "Do you know if any local Pokemarts carry a Seedot?" Gaius asked, wanting to turn the conversation back towards his own interest. "I know you said you got it from Hoenn, but I was able to buy a Tyranitar, a Pokemon from the Johto region, in the mart over in Pendragon. So, it's possible a nearby mart has a Seedot as well."

"Hmm I can't think of any Pokemarts that sell Seedot nearby, I don't exactly look for them, though, since, ya know, I already have one. You can try in Vermillion City, though. There's a port there, so it's possible that they have a lot of foreign and unusual Pokemon for you to buy."

"Thanks, so much for your help," Gaius replied dryly, wanting the conversation to be over with. Gaius began to hear footsteps behind him, so he turned to face whatever was approaching him. When he turned, he could see Arnold bounding towards him joyfully, with several other individuals behind him. Gaius smiled and nodded to acknowledge Arnold's presence, and waited for the strong man to introduce the newcomers.

Gaius looked past the large man and examined the new arrivals. Behind Arnold on the right, was a man who was slightly taller than Gaius and had a somewhat large stomach. The man had bright blue eyes and jet-black hair, and from what Gaius could see, the hair was short and neatly kept. He wore a blue over-shirt with blue dress pants and a white dress-shirt. The outfit was completed with a blue top-hat on his head, and a large monocle on his left eye. He held a cane with a large Pokeball on top, which served as the handle. The cane appeared to be for show, as the man did not need the cane to stand upright and had not relied on it while he approached Gaius. The well-dressed man carried himself with a sense of authority, as if all those around should look up to him.

The figure on the left seemed to be some sort of clown. The man wore a black and red full bodysuit, matching cone hat, similarly colored pants, and a pair of sunglasses on his face. There seemed to be large buttons on the front of the bodysuit, however they did not seem to secure any of the outfit in place. On top of the man's hat, a small sphere that seemed to be a Pokeball was attached. The clown had very large body proportions, suggesting extreme obesity. His stomach alone was twice as large as the first man's, and his head and extremities seemed abnormally large as well.

"Hello Gaius," the large man bellowed loudly, acting as if he thought Gaius was deaf. "These are some of the other circus people here. Johnny can breathe fire and works with his Growlithe so he can perform amazing fire feats. The other one is Taylor, he's the ringleader of the circus. That means he's my boss and runs the whole thing!" Arnold exclaimed, seemingly proud that he remembered who the two individuals were. The strongman then turned to the one in a blue suit. "Taylor, do you think Gaius here can have some special passes for the show? He's on a Pokemon journey and is interested in US! Don't you think that's so awesome?"

Taylor smiled, and put his hand to his clean-shaven chin, as if he was trying to think of a response. "So, you're interested in the circus here? You know, we aren't just an ordinary circus, either. We run one of the top circuses in the region and have gotten better reviews than even Bulbasaur and Beedrill circus, which, if you know circuses, is not an easy thing to do. Ya know what? I can give you ringside seats for our first performance tomorrow. Also, if you want, I'll give you a special visitors badge for today so you can go and check out a lot of the other acts behind the scenes. It'll be a rare and special opportunity. A chance to see stuff like this doesn't come around every day, kid. You’d be wise to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity." The chubby man smiled while he awaited Gaius's response.

Gaius sighed, wishing he were elsewhere. The bodybuilder's lack of intelligence was starting to annoy the young trainer, but the ringleader's offer left him intrigued. Even with the offer of free ring-side ticket and behind-the-scenes badge, Gaius began to wonder if there was anything, he could actually learn from any of the circus performers. He hesitated a moment, and then began to speak. "Sure, I would love to be able to see you guys perform, I bet all of your stunts and routines take tons of time to learn. Arnold was telling me how much you guys train and how you travel around from city to city, setting up the tents and putting on a show. I don't know if I'd be able to do the same."

"Excellent," Taylor replied, offering his hand for Gaius to shake it, which Gaius did. "I'm so glad you decided to accept this rare once in a lifetime offer. Be sure to tell all your friends back home how generous we can be. I'll go and get the ticket and pass. In the meantime, you can talk more with Arnold and Johnny here, and then walk around at your leisure after I return." The ringleader then turned and began to walk in the direction from which he came, at a pace so brisk Gaius wondered why be bothered with a cane for show.

Gaius could feel an odd sense of worry when Taylor walked away. He ran through the conversation in his head quickly but could discern no reason to feel at ease. The more Gaius thought about the man, the more he could feel that there was something hidden underneath his normal slimy and businessman-like exterior. As he struggled to think of what that could be, the obese fire breather approached him and began to speak.

"Hey there. Gaius, is it? I'm Johnny, as Arnold already pointed out. I’ve probably been with the circus the longest besides Arnold. I use my Growlithe in a variety of fun tricks and fire stunts. Here, want to see one?" Johnny playfully asked Gaius.

"Sure, show me what you can do?" Gaius replied, wondering what the man had up his sleeve.

"Come here and smell my breath." Johnny motioned for Gaius to move close to him. "I'll tell you the secret of being a fire-breather."

Gaius, thoroughly curious, decided to come close to the fat clown. ‘I wonder if this won't be a total waste,’ Gaius thought. As Gaius moved mere inches from Johnny, the fire-breather began to open his mouth.

Once Johnny's mouth was fully open, flames surged out of it and dangerously close to Gaius. The flames nearly singed the young trainer's black jacket as he leapt back, away from the flames.

"The secret of being a fire-breather is to have no fear, especially no fear of flames!" Johnny shouted, laughing as he closed his mouth, extinguishing the flames.

"How the hell did you do that?" Gaius exclaimed. While he was impressed by Johnny's antics, he would have preferred to avoid almost having his clothes set on fire. He quickly brushed himself off and waited for Johnny's response.

"While you were focusing on waiting for me to speak and watching my mouth, I pressed this button in my hand." Johnny opened his left hand to reveal a small, skin colored button. The button could easily by missed by anyone if they did not know it was there. "When I hit this button, a small mechanism under my tongue makes a tiny spark. I place a bit of gasoline on my tongue before a performance, and, when I hit the button, the spark creates a plume of fire that I need to quickly blow out of my mouth, or I'll get burned. I also put safe to swallow fire-resistant gel on the sides of my mouth, so if I can't blow it all out, I would only get hurt a little bit." Johnny began to laugh while looking at a stunned Gaius.

"You shouldn't shoot flames like that so close to people," Gaius yelled, fuming at Johnny. "I could have been seriously hurt, and of course you would have been fine no matter what happened. Next time let me know before you do something like that!" Gaius glared at the fire-breather. He felt cheated, both by the fire trick, and that he allowed himself to show such a cowardly reaction to the flames. ‘I should have been expecting some pathetic parlor trick from that talentless hack, and now he’s gone and made me look like a fool in front of the others. Although, not like their opinions actually matter anyway. Kings do not pay heed to the opinions of ants after all, or however the saying goes.’

"Chill out, you wouldn't have been hurt. I made sure of it. You freaked out over nothing." Johnny continued to laugh in Gaius's face for a few more seconds, and then continued speaking. "Anyway, it honestly is more dangerous to me than it was to you. I had to train for months to learn how to breathe fire, and I suffered quite a few burns along the way. I wouldn't be performing in the circus if I wasn't an expert though, so don't worry about it." The fire-breather took his hat off and detached a Pokeball from the tip. He then pressed the button in the center of the ball, causing it to expand in his hand. "You might as well see my Pokemon while we are waiting for Taylor." Johnny threw the Pokeball into the air, and a flash of white light appeared as the ball opened. The white light burst onto the ground, and a small form began to take shape.

When the light dissipated, Gaius could see a small, dog-like Pokemon at Johnny's feet. The Pokemon had four legs, a small, round mouth, and a small, tan, furry tail. The Pokemon's orange coat was broken up with streaks of black, and the Pokemon had a color-matching black nose on its face. At the end of its front legs, it had two small white claws, and, while they looked harmless, Gaius figured the Pokemon could also use them in battle. Overall, if it wasn't for the Pokemon's dog-like characteristics, its coloring would cause Gaius to believe it was related to a tiger, or other cat breed.

"So, this is Growlithe, right?" Gaius had investigated some of the Pokemon found in the Kanto region before starting his journey, however, he had not memorized all of them. The Pokemon looked strong, and even slightly intimidating, despite its small size. "Aren't you a bit worried that your Pokemon will scare away your audience? It looks pretty fierce."

"Not at all, Growlithe can also be a sweet and loyal Pokemon, as well as strong," Johnny replied. The fire-breather knelt and began to stroke the tuft of fur on Growlithe's head. "I use my Growlithe to jump through rings of fire that he lights himself using his Flamethrower attack. People love to see the spectacle of him performing, they always come back for a second showing." Johnny proudly picked up his Growlithe and held it in his arms. He then began to rub its head as he continued to speak. "My Growlithe trains, like, four hours a day. I train with him as well to perfect my fire breathing, and to make sure he can learn new tricks and abilities every day. I also have another Pokemon that I use at an even more advanced show in B tent."

Gaius patiently waited for Johnny to finish speaking, and then quickly cut, hoping to end the conversation. "How fascinating," Gaius said, not really caring to hear the blow by blow of Johnny's training routine. "I'm sure you two work very hard." He paused, and then looked at Arnold. "I assume you want to show me your Pokemon as well? You have a Machop, right? What kind of tricks can it do again?" Gaius was sure Arnold mentioned his Pokemon's abilities in their first conversation, but at the time Gaius was not paying enough attention to remember them now. ‘The more information I glean, the more I could use it to my advantage,’ he thought as he continued to press for answers.

"Yeah, yeah, you'll love my Machop!" Arnold yelled gleefully, "My Machop is the best Machop ever, he can lift so much weight without ever breaking a sweat. We're currently trying to have him lift an Electrode, but he's only been able to lift to a Scyther so far. I'm sure if he keeps training, though, he can lift even two Electrodes! Here, you can see for yourself," Arnold exclaimed, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a Pokeball. "Come out Machop, time to join the party!" Arnold threw the Pokeball against the ground, and a white light shot out.

A small Pokemon with blueish-grey skin emerged from the white light. The Pokemon had a human-like appearance and was about the size of a small human child. Its body, however, showed that it was anything but human. Three sets of rib-like lines were present on the Pokemon's stomach, and its entire body was covered with rippling muscles. In terms of athletics, this Pokemon seemed to perfectly mirror its trainer, or, at least, as far as Gaius could see on Arnold. The Pokemon's face had a large mouth, as well as two small slits, where nostrils would normally be. A pair of large white red eyes above the slits, and on top of its forehead there were three brown ridges, which went towards the back of its skull.

Gaius examined the Pokemon for a moment, and it appeared to be as strong as Arnold had claimed. He had read online that Machop were extremely powerful, and that they could throw over 100 men without rest. "I've read about Machop in the past, yours looks quite powerful. I'm sure it is well trained. Would you mind telling me what kind of training techniques you use? I want to learn how to make my own Pokemon as good as your Machop." Gaius paused, awaiting Arnold's response. This past statement was one of the only true things he had said to the circus troupe all day. Finally, his time spent here would finally be worthwhile.

"Um, Gaius," Arnold said sheepishly, "I wish I could tell you, but Taylor told me we're not allowed to tell anyone the details of how we train. It's super-secret special training, and we just have to keep up the training no matter what. Well," Arnold paused, "that's what Taylor keeps telling me anyway, and I have to listen to him cuz he's the boss!" Arnold looked disappointed at the inability to give information, and just as his mouth began to open again, another voice was heard, coming from behind him.

"Yes, Arnold is right," Taylor replied, suddenly coming into view a few dozen feet behind the group, walking towards the group with his cane in hand, not touching the tip to the ground. "We keep our training methods very close, and only disclose them to members of our own circus. We don't want people like the ‘Bulbasaur and Beedrill’ circus to steal out special methods. Once you see the show tomorrow, you'll understand why we don't want people stealing our training regimen. I was able to get your ticket, and your backstage pass. Since we don't have any specialized training today, you can check in with any performers you want. However, remember the pass is only good for today, and the tickets are only good for tomorrow's A show, so you won’t be able to see any of the secondary performances." Taylor handed Gaius a bright red ticket and a badge on a red lanyard. "Feel free to ask any questions you want; just remember we keep our training secrets to ourselves. I hope you enjoy your stay checking out the circus and be sure to come back tomorrow for the actual show. Bye now." Taylor turned around and began to walk away. However, Gaius still had a question for the ringleader.

"Hey, Taylor, wait a second," Gaius yelled as the obese man began to waddle away, "I have a quick question for you."

Taylor turned back towards the group and looked at Gaius. "Yes, what is it? Remember, I can't tell you anything about the types of training we do here." He playfully waved his finger in disapproval at Gaius, waiting for the young trainer to ask his question. The man looked incredibly pompous as he stood, his garish clothes and demeanor giving off an elitist and ostentatious vibe.

Gaius could tell from one look what kind of man Taylor was, the kind who would do anything in order to appear successful in the eyes of others. In that, Gaius could relate slightly. While Gaius too pursued attaining acceptance in other’s eyes for his achievements, he strived to do so with actual strength and accomplishments. Taylor, however, was nothing but a flash flim-flam man. Undeterred by his antics, Gaius spoke.

"No, that's not my question at all," Gaius responded. This was probably the second true thing he had said since meeting the group. "I was wondering, what kind of Pokemon is inside the Pokeball on your cane? I notice you walk around with it, but seemingly can hold your own weight up, so it must be for show, right? Do you think you look better using it or something?"

"Oh," Taylor replied, as if thoroughly pleased Gaius had asked, "I was wondering if you'd notice. I don't really need the cane, no. However, the pretense it gives off does wonders for instilling my authority in the workers and makes me look better when I take center ring." Taylor quickly cocked a playful half-smile at Arnold, Johnny, and Richard. "Wouldn't you say it works, boys?" The three performers cautiously smiled and slowly nodded, hoping they answered correctly. Taylor laughed, and after a few moments he composed himself. "Ahem, anyway, to the question you asked, Gaius. I might as well just show you, instead of telling you." Taylor gripped the shaft of his cane in one hand, and the Pokeball in the other. He then turned the Pokeball ninety degrees, and pulled upward on the Pokeball, causing it to unlock from his cane. He held the Pokeball firmly in his hand and pressed the button in the center of the ball. A white light shown from the ball, and a Pokemon appeared on the dirt road.

The Pokemon had thick, light brown fur that covered its entire body. Among the sea of light brown, there were several stripes of dark brown fur that were horizontal across its back. The Pokemon had four legs, with two claws at the end of each paw, and a face located at the front or top of the Pokemon's body. On its face, it had two eyes that were outlined in brown circles, and bright pink nose, that was reminiscent of a rounded pig's nose. Below the nose, the Pokemon had a wide mouth, which seemed to be fixed in a permanent content smile, as if the Pokemon could just lie there on its stomach forever and be happy.

Gaius looked at the Pokemon, trying to figure out what it was. Since he had investigated all the Pokemon of the Kanto region, Gaius deduced that this Pokemon must be from a different region just like Richard’s Seedot. He figured he might as well wait a few minutes to see if Taylor explained his foreign monster. Gaius was eager to learn all about this new Pokemon, and if the Pokemon seemed powerful enough, he would definitely try to pick one up on his own, either by going to its native region, or by checking local Pokemarts to see if they had any in stock.

Currently, though, the Pokemon did not seem too appealing. From the moment Gaius had watched it appear from its Pokeball, it seemingly had not moved one inch. This reminded Gaius of Snorlax in the Kanto region, as that Pokemon, too, barely moves at all except to consume food. Perhaps this Pokemon was a psychic type, and it was using its psychic powers to plan its move or to observe the world around him. Gaius continued to watch the motionless Pokemon for a few moments, until he finally spoke up.

"So, Taylor, what kind of Pokemon is this?" Gaius asked the ringleader, unsure of the Pokemon's purpose. "Does the Pokemon ever move, or attack, or do anything? Or is it some sort of pet that you keep just for personal enjoyment? I've read up on a few Pokemon that barely move like Snorlax, but even then, they show some signs of life. I haven't seen this one breathe or do anything except blankly stare. Its eyelids haven't even moved yet." Gaius thought for a moment and then considered the worst possible scenario. "Is your Pokemon even alive? Or is it some sort of stuffed carcass of a dead Pokemon that you captured and had until it passed on?" Gaius paused, glancing at Taylor, waiting for him to answer the barrage of questions.

"Well, first off, my Pokemon is called a Slakoth, and it is most definitely alive." Taylor said, matter-of-factually, his eyes almost rolling at Gaius's perceived ignorance. "Slakoth are native to the Hoenn region, just like Richard's Seedot is. They barely move at all for their entire lives, and usually their trainers are the only ones to witness them move, since they spend so much time around their Pokemon. A Slakoth can sustain itself on only a few leaves every day, and that supply can be extended up to a week, if needed, to adapt to a scarce amount of food. The secret to its extremely small diet is its lack of movement. With it moving only a few feet, or less, each day, it only needs to consume a few calories to maintain its body processes. While they do appear to loaf around all day, they are quite interesting to train. One of the only ways you can battle with a Slakoth is to use its lack of mobility to your advantage. You can use status inducing moves such as Yawn to place the opposing Pokemon in the same motionless state as your Pokemon, and use attack moves like Counter to deal twice the amount of physical damage that a Pokemon deals to Slakoth. So, if you allow your Slakoth to take a big hit, which it is guaranteed to do since it is motionless, you can then strike back with double the power and sometimes knock out the opposing trainer's Pokemon in one hit.”

"So, the Pokemon pretty much just sits there all day, waiting to be attacked or barely moving, if at all, so it can eat a few leaves?" Gaius wanted to make sure this Pokemon was completely useless before he decided that he shouldn't try to get one on his own. "Does Slakoth even evolve into anything useful or is it just the Pokemon world's easiest punching bag, besides Magikarp of course." Gaius thought for a moment. "At least Magikarp can evolve into Gyarados," he muttered to himself. Slakoth seemed absolutely useless, or at best it was a good physical move counter, assuming it ever survived the first hit.

"Well now, you should learn that Slakoth does evolve into a large and powerful Pokemon." Taylor retorted, trying to defend his Pokemon's pride. "Slakoth first evolves into Vigaroth, and in that stage it speeds up immensely, and its attack also gets a boost as well. Vigaroth can swing from tree to tree in forests at an incredibly fast rate, and their claws are extremely powerful. Vigaroth itself can evolve into a large Pokemon named Slaking. Slaking reverts to Slakoth's lack of speed, allowing it to only move once for every two moves your opponent makes. However, Slaking's attack power is one of the highest of any known Pokemon. This means that even though Slaking can only attack every other round, when he does get to attack, you can devastate your opponent. Although I like my Slakoth too much to let it evolve, I'm sure he could end up being a powerful Slaking one day, if I ever felt the need to have one.”

‘So, these Slaking are actually powerful, huh,’ he thought to himself. Gaius hoped that everything Taylor had told him was honest and accurate. If Slakoth could evolve into one of the most powerful, although very slow, Pokemon, he knew that he had to try and add one to his collection. "So, Taylor, you said that these Slakoth and Slaking are from Hoenn, right? Do you know if there are any places to catch one around here? Is there possibly some kind of Pokemart that sells that kind of Pokemon in Kanto? I already know that Vermillion City might have rare and exotic Pokemon and items in stock, but I was hoping for something a bit closer. Got any ideas?" Hopefully finding a Slakoth, or one of its forms, would be easier than finding a Seedot.

"No, kid, I'm sorry. As far as I know, I have the only Slakoth in this whole area of Kanto. I've seen several other kinds of exotic Pokemon from both Johto, Hoenn, and the other regions, but haven't seen any Slakoth, or its evolutions, for some time now. I wish I could be of more help, but, as you said, Vermillion City is your best bet." Taylor cupped his hand around his large chin for a moment, seemingly trying about something. After a moment or so, he spoke again. "Hey, if you have a ton of money, you could buy my Slakoth for $500,000. I'm sure it will be worth it, since you can evolve it into a powerful Slaking. Even though Slakoth was my first, and favorite, Pokemon, I can always catch another one in Hoenn, and be $500,000 richer. What do ya say?"

"Wow," Gaius responded. He wasn't expecting such an offer from Taylor, especially since he was offering his favorite Pokemon just to try and get money. After a few seconds of thinking, Gaius responded. "I'm not sure whether to be honored that you'd sell me your prize Pokemon or disgusted that you'd trade your supposedly favorite Pokemon's loyalty for a ton of cash. Even though I could pay you the amount you ask, I'd much rather spend it on something besides feeding an obese man's need for greed. You're pathetic Taylor, and honestly your attitude sends a bad message to your entire hard-working circus. I may still come to the show tomorrow, only in the hope that your performers can prove they still believe in their Pokemon, unlike you."

"Why you little, I’ve never heard of anything so rude in my entire life," Taylor huffed, letting a large breath exit his mouth. Taylor was unaccustomed to being on the receiving end of such insults. Normally, the ringleader would dish out that kind of language for when his performers were refusing to do what they were told, or when their Pokemon were not performing as well as they should be. After a moment, he composed himself and began to speak. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Gaius. I was only hoping to be able to give you what you wanted, in a manner that I could also get something in return. I would hope this misunderstanding does not affect your reviews of the circus tomorrow. Please, feel free to still come. Hopefully, if we see each other then, we can start fresh." Taylor grabbed his Pokeball, pressed the button, and Slakoth was sucked inside. He slowly turned away from the group and began to walk away, leaving the circus performers reeling from Gaius's words.

Gaius then turned to the group of circus performers and calmly smiled. "I'm sorry I yelled at your boss, guys, but his attitude towards his own Pokemon is completely unacceptable. If he cared at all for his Pokemon he wouldn't have just offered it away the instant someone asked about it. I at least value my Pokemon's strength, but I wouldn't go just trading or selling them to someone else, unless I caught a duplicate Pokemon, or something." Gaius then paused and waited for the performers to speak.

"Well, I sure hope you come to see me and my Machop do tricks tomorrow," Arnold pleaded, as if he was longing for his new friend and admirer to come witness his act.

"Yeah, you should come see my Growlithe light it up," Johnny chimed in. He then cautiously added, "you won't get burnt clothes, I promise."

"My Seedot does give an amazing performance," Richard added, while finally gaining the courage to speak after Gaius's tirade. "You can see him fly out of a cannon so high he'll look like a flying Pokemon.

Gaius sighed and laughed, looking at each of the circus performers. "Sure, I'd love to come and see all of your shows tomorrow. Probably get some unhealthy circus food too." Although Gaius was not ready to call any of these trainers his friends, they each certainly had different expertise he could learn from and use to become a better trainer. Despite their training regimen being a secret, Gaius still hoped he could glean some information from watching their acts. He thought to himself, 'the best way to learn is by watching it yourself, right?' Gaius turned away from the group and looked down at his own Pokemon, Pikachu, who was standing attentively at his feet. “What do you think, Pikachu?” He asked as he bent down and spoke to the mouse. “Are you having a good time so far? We can come tomorrow and watch all of their performances.”

“Pika Pi,” the creature replied as it seemed to smile.

The trainer looked up at the sky, and noticed it beginning to darken. "Oh yeah," Gaius remarked, "I totally forgot, I don't exactly have anywhere to stay tonight, and it's already getting dark. I'd hate to have to walk all the way back to Pallet Town just to rest for the night. Is there any chance I could sleep somewhere here?" Gaius smiled and hoped that his new acquaintances could be of help. The trainer then looked down at Pikachu and patted his Pokemon on the head, awaiting the performers' response.

"Um, sure, Gaius. I'm sure it would be fine if you roomed with me for the night." Richard replied, meekly. "I happen to have an extra sleeping bag in case mine ever rips or gets damaged, so you can definitely use that. Although you'll have to promise not to follow me if I go train at all from now til the performance tomorrow. If you can abide by that, there shouldn't be any problem with you staying here." Richard smiled and nodded to Gaius, hoping to convey a sense of friendship.

Gaius quickly followed Richard back towards a medium-sized, green pitched tent. The interior had enough space for two or three people to sleep in, as well as a small, black suitcase that rested at the end of the sleeping bag that was already rolled out. “I take it that this is your tent, then? It’s not very big, but I guess you wouldn’t need it to be that big since it’s just you staying here.” The young trainer then looked around, trying to see if he could locate the extra sleeping bag.

Richard then reached inside the suitcase and pulled out a rolled up sleeping bag. He then turned to Gaius and began to speak. “Yeah, for just me, I don’t mind it at all. It’s spacious if you ask me, and about the size of a normal small bedroom. I can’t complain, considering Taylor helped me get all this stuff set up. I owe a lot to him; I wouldn’t be any kind of decent performer at all if not for his guidance and faith in me.” He then opened the second sleeping bag and laid it at the opposite side of the tent from where the first one was located. “Feel free to make yourself at home and sleep whenever you get tired. I actually am going to sleep as soon as possible, though. If you decide to stay up for a while, try not to make too much noise.” The young boy went over to the first sleeping bag and laid inside it, putting a sleeping mask over his eyes as soon as the bag was zipped up.

Gaius looked down at the empty sleeping bag that had been laid out for him and sighed. ‘I guess I might as well sleep, considering there’s nothing for me to do here until the show tomorrow. With all the secrecy around with their training, I can’t exactly go walking around here.’ The young trainer opened the sleeping bag and laid down, hoping to fall asleep. Within twenty minutes, both trainers were asleep in their respective sleeping bags, waiting for the new day.

When Gaius awoke, the sun was shining through the entrance to the tent. He looked towards the other sleeping bag and found it empty. ‘I guess Richard already woke up to go train or something. I don’t think it’s too much of a problem for me to go out and try and look for him. If I do happen upon him training, I can always try to feign ignorance and still record or memorize any information I can.’ The young trainer picked up his backpack, placed it on his back, and exited the tent.

He looked around the area and saw a variety of people milling about, most of which were in various circus attire. Gaius continued to walk around the area and saw several large tents that, from the outside, looked to be able to hold over one-hundred people. After a few more minutes of walking, Gaius noticed Arnold, who was walking around with his Machop. The young trainer started to walk towards the bodybuilder, hoping that he could provide some information of where to go. “Hey Arnold,” Gaius yelled, when he was twenty feet away, “how are you?” He then paused and thought of another question. “Do you know where the circus presentations are going on today? I’ve seen several circus tents but there doesn’t seem to be any signs or anything on them.”

The strongman smiled as he saw Gaius and rushed over to see the young trainer. As soon as Gaius finished speaking, Arnold opened his mouth to do so. “Hey little Gaius, did you sleep well? I’m doing pretty good so far. Getting ready for my awesome show.” Arnold stopped speaking for a moment and scratched his head, then he continued speaking. “I think most of the shows are going to be taking place in the ‘A’ tent, where some other minor attractions are going on in the ‘B’ tent. If the signs haven’t gone up yet at each tent, I think they should soon. Taylor is usually pretty good with maps and signs and stuff, which is good for me because I always get lost. I think Taylor only gave you an A pass ticket, so don’t mix them up like me. I don’t want to have to throw you out of here.” The tall man laughed heartily and spoke again. “Speaking of shows, I think Richard is going on in ‘A’ tent in about half an hour. You should probably go there now so you can get a good front row seat. There’s usually a few open that aren’t reserved for advance ticket holders.” He smiled, and then continued to speak. “By the way, ‘A’ tent is an orange color, where B tent is yellow. That’s the way you tell which tent is which.”

Gaius nodded and quickly replied, “ah, ok. Thanks Arnold, I’ll be sure to head there now, then. Thanks for all the information about the tents and stuff. I would have no idea where to go if I didn’t run into you.” The trainer turned and rushed back towards the two large tents, hoping to reach Tent A before Richard’s show began. ‘Hopefully I can finally see some interesting techniques out of these guys. After all, that’s my only reason for being here.’ The young trainer smiled as he found himself back at the two large tents, and entered the orange colored one that now had a white sign marked A in front of it.

As the trainer entered the large tent, he could see a large arrangement of bleachers that had been set up in a square-like formation facing towards the center of the tent. The interior was quite large, like one would expect a circus big-top to be, with overhanging lights arranged similarly to the bleachers, and a circular wall five feet high that presumably ensured that the acts could did not spill over into the stands, or visa-versa. There was a small section of the five-foot wall that led out towards a separate entrance that was apparently used for performers or circus staff. The stands were beginning to fill up with people, and Gaius was unsure if he could find a seat in the front row. After a minute or so of scanning the bleachers, he found that all the front row seats had already been occupied but he found a nice open space to sit in the second row.

Gaius rushed over to take the seat that he had seen and was able to sit down and claim the spot before anyone else saw the open space. Pikachu was able to squeeze into the space right next to his trainer, the Pokemon had been lackadaisically following Gaius since he left the tent, but now seemed awake and eager to enjoy the show. Once sitting, the young trainer gazed out towards the center of the circus tent and waited for the first act to begin. ‘I guess it’s only a waiting game now,’ Gaius pondered as the minutes ticked by, ‘I only hope that my trip out here is worth it. I’d hate to have wasted a whole two days of my Pokemon journey for some meager parlor tricks.’

After approximately twenty minutes, Taylor entered the big-top from the entrance that was connected to the center and moved to the center of the big-top. Taylor was dressed in a black and white tuxedo, complete with a matching top-hat. He had plain white gloves on his hands and held in his right hand the usual cane that included his Slakoth’s Pokeball. Taylor slowly turned, looking into the stands. This concluded when he had looked through the entire circus tent.

When he was done observing the crowd, he began to speak. “Welcome, one and all, to Taylor’s Spectacular Circus!” He paused as the crowd erupted into cheers and began to clap, then Taylor continued to speak as the noise died down. “I’m glad to see so many of you out here today. Whether this is your first time coming to our shows, or if you’ve been here dozens of times before, I can assure you, you’re in for quite a show! Starting off today’s performance, we have Richard and his amazing flying Seedot! ‘What, Seedot can’t fly’, you say? Well, this one can! After Richard, you’ll be treated to the strongman Arnold, who, along with his Machop, can lift and pull more than you ever thought possible! Then, after Arnold has wowed you with his feats of strength, you’ll have an hour break in performances for food and any other needs that you may have. After lunch, the amazing Johnny will take the stage. His performance, along with his Growlithe, is so hot and daring, it’ll leave you on the edge of your seat. Finally, to cool you down after that red-hot performance, you’ll be able to chill out with Frost and her ice-cold Snorunt!

“If any of these shows don’t appeal to you, there’s also another big-top nearby with other acts for you to check out that occur throughout the day, even during the break, including some special advanced acts from some of those that you’ll see here today. Check out both, as the performance is completely different!” Taylor smiled wide as the crowd once again cheered. After a few moments they quieted down and the ringleader finished his remarks. “Once again, I thank all of you for coming out here and supporting my dream. I hope you enjoy the show!” Taylor smiled once more and then turned, slowly walking out of the tent from the employee’s entrance.

The crowd began to murmur and talk amongst themselves as the middle of the big-top remained empty. Gaius looked around the circus tent, hoping to catch a glimpse of Richard or his Seedot. ‘I hope the show starts soon, it would be silly if Taylor came out here and made all of those announcements so long before the actual show started.’ The trainer sighed and began to look down towards the ground, feeling slightly annoyed by the wait. As the young man was about to get up and leave the tent, a hole in the middle of the big top opened, as if there was a flap that was pulled off. A circular ray of light shone from the top down onto the center of the tent.

Gaius looked up towards the hole in the roof of the tent, waiting for whatever may appear there. Within a few moments, two simultaneous loud blasts were heard. The crowd once again looked around the stadium, hoping to figure out where the sounds came from. Several seconds passed by without any movement, until a figure was seen floating down from the top of the tent, where the hole had been made. Gaius looked closely at the figure, and immediately saw that it was Richard who was clad in the same outfit that he wore the day before. ‘I wonder how many different copies of that same outfit he has,’ Gaius mused. Richard had a small pack back on, and there was a white parachute that hung above the performers head. ‘I guess Taylor wants him to make a dramatic entrance. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly impressed.’

While he was still twenty feet off the ground, Richard slid off his parachute. The performer fell forward into a somersault until he gracefully landed on one knee. He then smiled towards the crowd and waved, causing the mass of people to erupt in applause. “Hello one and all, I’m Richard,” the performer yelled triumphantly. “Seedot should be dropping in any moment,” he smiled and looked up towards the hole in the top of the tent. The gaze of the crowd slowly shifted up there as well, as all were wondering when Seedot would appear.

Soon a small rotating object was seen coming in from the hole at the top of the tent, its descent being slowed by a bright-green parachute. Gaius smiled as he recognized Seedot spinning fancifully as it descended towards the ground. When the Pokemon landed, Richard picked up the Pokemon in his arms and brought it to a small nearby cannon. He loaded the Pokemon into the cannon, lit a fuse at the end of the cannon, and aimed it at a 45-degree angle. Within twenty seconds, the fuse at the cannon had been spent and Seedot was sent blasting off out of the opening. As it soared through the air, the Grass-type Pokemon continued to flip, summersault and spin in rapid succession until it landed in a nigh-invisible net suspended high in the air.

Richard then bowed to the crowd and waited for his Seedot, who rolled off the net and fell right into his arms. The young man bowed again and Seedot rolled around on the ground as a bow of its own. The crowd erupted in applause that continued for several minutes until the Pokemon and performer exited the tent.

Gaius next watched as a large partially demolished four-door car was pulled into the center of the ring by an old pick-up truck. Arnold climbed out of the pick-up, still wearing his red performance attire, and waved towards the crowd. With a Pokeball in his left hand, he threw it towards the ground, and it opened, revealing his Machop in a flash of white light. His right hand held a wireless microphone and he began speaking. "My Machop and I will now dazzle you our strength. Let's start with the easy stuff, right Machop?" He nodded towards his Pokemon who started to hold out his grey hands palm-side up, as if he was waiting for something to be placed there. Arnold then walked towards his Pokemon and placed his feet in the Fighting-type Pokemon's hands.

The small, grey Pokemon slowly lifted Arnold up into the air with both hands, raising the hulking man above the Pokemon's head. Machop seemed perfectly able to hold Arnold's weight at first, but after a minute or so he began to falter, and the stress and strain of holding up his trainer's large body. 'Does Arnold's body weigh more than a Graveller,' Gaius thought. 'I remember reading how Machop use Graveller to train themselves, but if Arnold's muscular body weighs more I can see how it could be hard on his Pokemon.' The young trainer continued to look on from the stands as the Superpower Pokemon continued to hold his trainer.

After several minutes of being held, Arnold looked down towards his Pokemon and spoke, "now, time for the next part of our amazing act." The Pokemon nodded and lowered his hands, causing Arnold to step down and face his Pokemon. The Fighting-type Pokemon walked over to the old car and put his hands under middle of the driver's side of the car. He slowly lifted the car up in the air and began to hold it over his head. The crowd cheered as it witnessed this feat, causing Machop and Arnold to smile. The Pokemon lowered the car and walked over to his trainer, and the pair began to wave as the crowd started to applaud. The performers then slowly walked out of the tent as a circus worker entered the tent and drove the truck and re-attached car out of the big top.

'That was really impressive,' Gaius thought as he slowly rose from his seat and began to work his way towards the exit. 'Those two really must train a lot for Machop to be able to lift that car. When he neared the exit, he could see Arnold talking to a young woman that seemed about Gaius' age. She was wearing a bright blue blouse with long draping sleeves from her elbow to her hand. The lower half of her body was covered in a deep blue long skirt that reached the floor. Gaius overheard the two of them seemingly argue but could not make out what they were saying to one another. As soon as the pair noticed the young trainer walking towards them, they stopped talking and Arnold sauntered off away from the tent looking depressed.

Gaius approached the young woman and began to speak. "Mind telling me all that was about. I don't know who you are, but Arnold seemed kind of upset. I've only known him for a bit, but he always seemed happy whenever I talked to him. Something big must be up for him to be that bothered."
The young woman flipped her bright blonde hair out of her face and replied, "it's official circus busy, so don't get involved since you're not on the payroll. Would you mind telling me your name? It's not often that we have people interested in internal circus affairs. My boss doesn't exactly like it when the press snoops around here."

The young trainer chortled and tried to suppress a laugh. "I'm not a member of the press. My name's Gaius, I'm currently rooming with Richard for a day or two until the circus moves on. Taylor ok'd my presence here so I don't think he has a problem with me; although the same can't be said of my feelings towards him. What's your name, by the way?"

The girl looked skeptical at Gaius, and slowly replied. "The name's Annika, but you can call me Frost; most people around here do. If you were paying attention to Taylor's opening, I'm on right after Johnny. Speaking of Taylor, do you have some sort of problem with him? That's ungrateful since you said he's letting you stay here with us. Besides, I wouldn't want you to get on the boss man's bad side anyway." She trailed off, glaring at the young man.

"Well," Gaius stated matter-of-factly, "your boss offered to trade me his supposedly beloved Pokemon for one of mine just because it was rare. That kind of lack of respect for a Pokemon is just pitiful in my books. Taylor seems two-faced to me, and I wouldn't ever work for a guy like him if my life depended on it. Bye Annika, or should I say Frosty, I'm kind of hungry and don't want to waste the intermission time talking to you." With that, the young man walked past Annika and headed towards the concession area, his Pikachu in tow.

He quickly bought a cheeseburger and fries and headed back towards the main tent. As he neared the tent, he saw Richard out of the corner of his eye looking scared, so the young trainer moved closer to investigate. When he neared Richard, he saw Arnold in front of the young man, talking to him and handing the acrobat a small box. The only words Gaius could make out in the exchange were Arnold saying, "it's Taylor's orders, you don't get a say." After the box exchanged hands Arnold walked away and Gaius crept close to Richard to investigate.

"Hey buddy," he asked the young man, "I saw you and Arnold talking a few minutes ago, is something up?" 'All of this seems incredibly suspicious,' Gaius thought. 'First that girl Annika was arguing with Arnold, and now Arnold seems to be strong-arming Richard for Taylor. Something must be going on here, but I just don't know what.'

Richard nervously looked towards the trainer and quickly replied. "No, nothing's up," he said as he tried to hide the small box behind him. "Just going over some procedural stuff for the next time my act comes up, nothing important for you to worry about."

Gaius' eyes traveled past the acrobat as he looked at the box that the boy was hiding. "Say, what's in that box. Is that something cool related to your new performance or something?" 'If that box wasn't important,’ Gaius thought, ‘Richard wouldn't be hiding it.’

“Oh, this box,” Richard said sheepishly as he continued to try to hide it, “it’s something related to training. I’m sorry, I’ve got to get going and find Taylor about tomorrow’s show.” He quickly sped off, away from the young trainer and Gaius re-entered the large tent with his Pikachu in tow. Gaius found another seat, this time in the front-row, and began to eat his lunch. After thirty minutes, Gaius had finished his meal and a blaring voice was heard on a loudspeaker.

“The second round of performances will be starting in 10 minutes for Tent A,” Taylor’s loud voice boomed throughout the area. “I hope you enjoyed the performances of Tent B during the intermission. Again, please return to Tent A for the main attractions.”

Gaius watched as circusgoers began to filter back into the tent and soon, he was surrounded by other patrons as they all crowded the bleachers trying to find the optimal seating location. As the seating quickly filled, the young trainer noticed a group of plainly clothed extras pushing a large tub full of what seemed to be black liquid into the middle of the showground as well as several metallic rings of varying heights. ‘Those must be for Johnny’s show,’ he thought as he curiously awaited the performance. Moments later, Johnny entered the big top and walked to the middle of the floor.

“Hello and welcome,” Johnny shouted enthusiastically, “I thank you all for coming back after intermission to see me get all fired up! First, a warning; this entire act is incredibly dangerous, and I’ve spent my life honing my skills. Please, do not attempt this at home. My name is Johnny Phoenix, and like the mythical bird I live in fire.” He paused for a second for the crowd to cheer. “If you don’t believe me, let me show you. Come out, partner.” He grabbed his Pokeball and pressed the button, causing the ball to open and a flash of bright light to appear from the ball.

Growlithe appeared, its fur was bright under the big top lights. On top of the Pokemon's head, there was a small patch of tan fur, and there was a pair of round ears on the sides of its head. Its body was covered in bright orange fur, with a tan colored stomach and a large patch of tan hair under its chin. The small dog looking Pokemon ran around its trainer and flames shot out of its mouth up in the air as it ran in circles.

The firebreather then tilted his head backwards and joined his Pokemon, as fire shot out of his mouth towards the sky. After several seconds, he closed his mouth and the fire dissipated and his Pokemon did the same. “Now, after that fiery intro, how about we start the real show,” he boomed as the crowd erupted in applause. “Growlithe,” he commanded, “let’s get fired up!” He then looked to his Pokemon and nodded.

The small fire-type Pokemon then readied itself near the first of the hoops and it jumped up and began to spin sideways as he flew in the air. While passing through the ring, flames emerged from its mouth which caused the ring to become engulfed in flame. The creature did the same for the other rings as it twirled through them. Once all three rings were lit, the Pokemon proceeded to do aerial flips back and forth through each ring of varying heights until Johnny called to his Pokemon.

“Now everyone,” Johnny yelled to the crowd, “want to see my finale?” The man waited as the crowd cheered and hollered for his act. “Good,” he continued, “now, I’m going to say this again. My final act is incredibly dangerous, and you should never even think of trying this at home under any circumstances. The outfit that I wear, and years of training makes this possible, but even so I am putting myself at risk. We have assistants here on standby even to ensure that everything goes well.”

At this, Gaius could see the same assistants from earlier walk into the circus tent, each holding a small Pokeball. Each of them pressed the device and Gaius saw three turtle looking Pokemon of various sizes and shades of blue appear in front of their trainers. ‘I wonder what Johnny is going to try,’ the young man thought as he took stock of the performance arena, ‘that small metallic pool of liquid is still unused, maybe he’s going to do something with that?’

Johnny then walked towards the large circular pool and looked towards the crowd. “I am now going to set this pool of gasoline on fire with my mouth,” he shouted enthusiastically, “but, that’s not all. I will then walk across the pool, while it is burning and continue to use my mouth to light the pool as I walk. Yes, you heard me right ladies and gentlemen, I will be walking through burning gasoline. One final time, I will say, do not try this at home.” With that final warning, the firebreather stood at the edge of the pool and opened his mouth. Flames spewed forth and the pool quickly caught light. Johnny then stepped in and began walking forward.

Gaius cringed as he saw the man walk slowly across the pool. Even though the distance was no more than 10 feet, the young trainer remembered how it felt in his own home when it began to burn. He could feel the flames licking his feet and wondered how anyone could decide to feel that voluntarily, even with protective equipment.

The circus performer continued walking step by step, his mouth pointed downwards and to the front as he went, fire continuously seeping from his mouth as the flames rose higher and higher on his body until his entire midsection was covered in flames. By the time he reached the far edge and stepped over the side, the fire was up to his neck. The performer gave a quick two thumbs-up to the crowd, and then the three assistants and their Pokemon raced over and ordered both Johnny and the pool sprayed with water. Thoroughly soaked and his clothes singed, the performer appeared relatively unharmed and he took a bow for the crowd while his Growlithe ran around him with its head held high. Johnny then turned to his Growlithe and recalled the Pokemon before exiting the tent while the assistants put out the rings and then removed both the rings and the pool from the floor.

With that, Taylor re-entered and began to speak. “So, how did you guys like Johnny Phoenix? Did he make you feel a bit hot under the collar?” He laughed, his large stomach shaking as he did so and his top hat nearly toppling from his head at the motion. “Well now, let’s get you cooled down with the one, the only, Frost. This ice queen will make your blood turn cold and will freeze you to your seats. Give it up for Frost!” He motioned towards the performers entrance and the crowd rose to their feet in applause.

Suddenly, an ice flow shot out from the tent entrance and the young woman that Gaius had seen earlier quickly skated in on ice skates. In her arms was a small orange and yellow triangle shaped Pokemon with black in the middle and ice was shooting out of its mouth. The young female performer skated higher as her small Pokemon created a spiral ice pathway in the middle of the arena. She then began to jump and twirl as she set down her partner to skate on the ice itself.

Her Pokemon then would momentarily stop creating ice and leave gaps in the path, causing Frost to jump the gaps and to continue skating up and up until they reached the top of the tent, at that point she rested for a few seconds at the top of a small ice platform at the top of her Pokemon’s ice ramp. Snorunt then shot a beam of almost directly downward and began to slide down towards the ground. Frost skated down after it as the Ice-type Pokemon began to make designs made from ice in the shapes of various Pokemon, including Pikachu, Charmander, and others that Gaius didn’t recognize as the pair traveled quickly down towards the ground.

Frost reached the bottom of the arena and then flew into the air several feet off an ice ramp that her Pokemon made seconds before. She then spun around three times before coming to rest and posing as her Pokemon covered the entire performance area in a row of ice. She smiled towards the crowd, albeit a slightly forced-looking expression, and she raised her arms into the air. “I hope you all enjoyed my performance,” she shouted as the crowd cheered and clapped, “however, the best trick is still to come.” She then snapped her fingers, and all the ice pathways, icy designs and ramps instantly vanished in a bright and sparkly ice powder that sparkled in the air for a few seconds before falling to the ground and evaporating. She then bent down and tapped her ice skates, seemingly retracting the blades and she quickly bowed before walking out of the tent, her Snorunt in her hand.

With the act over, Taylor once again walked into the tent, his wide smile beaming and looking around at the audience. “Now, I hope Frost’s icy performance didn’t give you frostbite,” he shouted to the crowd. “As ringleader for this circus, I thank you once again for coming out here today. We’ll have a few more smaller acts in tent B soon, but if you’re heading home then thank you for spending your time with us and seeing all the talents and abilities of our performers and their highly trained Pokemon. We have a small gift stall out front if you’d like to commemorate your time here today, and we hope you come see us the next time we stop by, as we will have even more stunning displays for you to enjoy!”

Taylor bowed and removed his hat as he did so as the crowd gave one more round of applause before they started to depart. Gaius soon joined the throng and when he walked outside, he noticed that darkness had fallen over the area. ‘Wow, I guess the show went on longer than I thought,’ he thought as he slowly made his way back to Richard’s tent. ‘I may as well offer my praise for his performance,’ he thought as he walked towards the empty back area of the circus, ‘Richard was really skilled, and perhaps he can help me with some application of his acrobatics in flying battles.’ As he neared the young man’s tent, he heard what he thought was yelling, but the sound certainly wasn’t human.

The noise seemed to be coming from Richard’s tent. Gaius rushed in, curious to see what the matter was, and he saw Richard’s small Pokemon writhing in pain on the ground, its body coursing with electricity and its trainer standing over it with tears in his eyes.

“Taylor said you forgot to do one of the maneuvers Seedot, and that you need to be punished to make up for your mistake,” Richard scolded through tears as he held a small control pad in his hand as he pressed down a button. “I don’t want to do to this, but Arnold and Taylor will know if I don’t punish you, and then they’ll punish me too and then throw me out of the circus. I don’t have anywhere to stay if they just throw me out in this part of Kanto.” He continually held down and released the button in spurts as his Pokemon cried and shook from electricity with each press.

Gaius, in horror about what he was witnessing, ran to Richard and knocked the controlling device out of his hand and then smashed it with his foot. “Richard,” he boomed while exchanging glances between Seedot and its trainer, “what is going on here? What are you doing to your Pokemon? It’s one thing to scold Pokemon or to train them hard to get them to do better the next time, but this is pure torture plain and simple.” He grabbed the young man by his shirt collar and started to shake him violently for a moment before letting him go. “You are torturing your Pokemon,” he angrily shouted, “this isn’t right.”

Richard continued to break down and sobbed as he looked down towards his Pokemon that was still twitching from the shocks. The young trainer cradled the Pokemon in his arms for a few seconds before he recalled the Pokemon to its ball. He then looked towards Gaius while still hunched over near the ground and wailed through his tears. “It’s not like I want to do it, Gaius,” he protested, “but Taylor has his intense training regimens, and if our Pokemon don’t perform, they get forced incentive to comply the next time. Taylor has Arnold monitor the other performers, and Arnold has permission to rough us up if we don’t do what Taylor says.” He looked down towards the ground, forlorn about what had just transpired.

Undeterred, Gaius shook his head and placed a hand on Richard’s shoulder. “Ok,” he began slightly sympathetically, yet still terse, “bring me to Taylor. I’ll make sure this stops once and for all. You can either do that, or I’ll take Seedot away from you. I have no qualms about taking an abused Pokemon from its trainer to ensure it gets a better life. I may be tough, but I’d never do anything even close to this.” He then forcefully pulled Richard to his feet and looked him in the eyes. “Your choice, you can either help me fix the situation, or you can watch as I take Seedot away. Choose, now.”

The acrobat slowly nodded his head and looked at Gaius. “Yes, ok. I can take you to Taylor. I think he’s watching the others train now that all the performances are over. Hopefully you can talk some sense into him. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Seedot.” He slightly shuddered, seemingly at the thought of losing his Pokemon and he led Gaius out of the tent and towards another group of tents off in the distance. “It’s been like this ever since last year,” the performer explained, “Taylor used to be kind, but his stupid circus rivalry drew out this demand for perfection that I had never seen before.” As the pair walked closer to the group of tents, Gaius could hear a commotion.

The tents were grouped close together, most two or three times as large as Richard’s and Gaius saw a small grouping of five or so people along with various Pokemon standing around and training or talking. Gaius first spotted the tall Arnold, and soon saw Johnny, Frost, and another tall woman with black hair that he had not yet met. His eyes finally caught sight of Taylor who was gesturing angrily and raising his voice.

“You pitiful ingrates need to work your Pokemon harder,” he bellowed as he shook his fists, “our ticket sales for this area are down 10% over last year’s earnings, and customer feedback overall indicated a need for longer and more varied attractions with more intense shows. Starting tomorrow we’re going to double the training and increase the negative reinforcement.” He then turned to the tall Arnold and began berating the strongman. “I saw your Machop almost drop that car earlier. If it had failed during a live demonstration our reputation would be in the gutter. Tomorrow he’s going to lift too at once, and if he drops then even for a second, he’s going to have to see what It feels like to lift three while being poisoned by Medusa’s Seviper.” He then turned back towards the crowd and continued speaking. “Richard’s Seedot failed at half of its in-air maundering today, so I’m making sure he instills a good work ethic in his Pokemon, or else. I can’t allow any failing acts if we have a hope of beating the Bulbasaur and Beedrill Circus, even if that means we have to resort to drastic measures.”

At was at this comment when Gaius walked closer to the group, stepping out of the dark night and announcing his presence. “Taylor, you’re a pathetic swine, and I don’t just mean your looks. I saw what you forced Richard to do to his Seedot and its completely disgusting. Working Pokemon hard and training them through intense methods does have benefit, but any benefit stops when the Pokemon are injured if they don’t obey. You need to stop this ‘training’ now, or they’ll be consequences.” He stood defiantly and looked at Taylor with eyes full of contempt.

“Hey now,” Taylor yelled quickly, “you don’t understand the kind of pressure I’m under. In order to make money and support ourselves, we need to be the best. Being the best means doing whatever it takes, any means necessary.” He paused for a second and then continued to speak. “Besides, who would believe a random 16-year-old boy anyway? I’ll just sue you for slander and you won’t be able to prove anything.”

Gaius chuckled to himself for a second and then shook his head. “Fine, you want to be that way? I’m going to go to the nearest station tomorrow and inform Officer Jenny what you people are doing. Even if you try to leave, I can easily look up your touring schedule and alert the local police there as well. You all disgust me, and I hope that each and every one of you rot for your actions here. If you try to sue me, I can bury you and your attorneys in fees and experts so that by the time we even step into a courtroom you’ll be on the street from the legal fees.” Gaius shook his head in disgust began to walk away from the group.

With the young trainer walking away, Taylor began to shout once again. “Well in that case, maybe we can just take care of you, then. I’m sure that my workers wouldn’t mind getting their hands dirty to protect their livelihood. Arnold, Annika, take care of him.”

The pair of circus performers quickly cut Gaius off and moved in front of him, the pair both holding Pokeballs in their hand. “I like you Gaius, but if you hurt Taylor, I have to hurt you,” Arnold looked down at the young trainer and opened his Pokeball. “Machop, come out. It’s time to save the circus!” The weightlifter’s small grey Fighting-type Pokemon emerged from the ball and flexed its muscles.

Frost then shrugged her shoulders and opened her Pokeball as she retorted, “I don’t battle much, but I’m sure both of us are more than a match for someone like you. Snorunt, it’s your time to shine. Let’s put this kid on ice!” Her black and yellow triangular Ice-type Pokemon appeared and looked towards Gaius, standing on stubby legs and a look of determination in its two blue eyes.

Gaius sighed and grabbed a Pokeball from his black belt. “You want to battle with me? You’re more than welcome. I tried to talk some sense into you fools, but I’m more than happy to crush the entire circus underneath my boot. Poliwag, time to come out.” He threw the Pokeball and a small blue circular Water-type Pokemon appeared. He then turned to Pikachu who was several feet behind him. “Pikachu let’s see if you’ve gotten any stronger. Use Thunder Shock on Snorunt. Poliwag, use Bubble on Machop.”

The yellow electric mouse Pokemon nodded “Pika,”as small ripples of electricity ran across its cheeks. A small bolt of electricity shot out towards the dark Ice-type Pokemon. Its partner Poliwag shot a stream of bubbles which struck the Fighting type.

“Machop, use Low Kick on Pikachu!” The hulking man ordered, and the small Superpower Pokemon ran up to the electric mouse and violently swept the Electric-type Pokemon off its feet.
“Now Snorunt, use Ice Fang on the weakened Pikachu. Take it out before it can get up!”

Her triangular Ice-type raced forward and used its large white teeth to bite harshly on Pikachu’s backside as it was starting to get up, a wave of ice flashed over the Electric-type as the Ice attack resonated throughout Pikachu’s body.

Now covered in mud from the first attack, Pikachu wiped off its face and looked at its opponents, ready to take them on in earnest.

‘They’re going after Pikachu because of how low-level the Poliwag is,’ Gaius thought as he watched the four Pokemon trade attacks, ‘I could always use my Gengar, but I want my newer Pokemon to get experience first. If I only rely on my starter Pokemon, I’ll never be able to have a fully balanced team. I need to think, and fast!’ He took a split second to ponder and he called out his next moves. “Pikachu use Thunder Wave on the Machop and then follow it up with a Quick Attack. Poliwag, keep using Bubble on the Machop.” Gaius knew that his Poliwag was greatly outmatched, but he knew his best bet was to wear them down. ‘Their Pokemon are all well-trained and much higher level than almost everything I have. I think they each only have one, so my six should prove about equal, Gengar aside.’

As Gaius’ Pokemon began to carry out their instructions, Frost quickly shouted.

“Snorunt use Ice Shard on Pikachu before it has a chance to attack.” The command proved effective, as small chunks of ice were hurled from Snorunt’s mouth. Each chunk hit Pikachu on its left side, and the Electric Pokemon winced in pain.

Arnold, a bit slower on the uptake, finally issued his order. “Machop, use Karate Chop on Pikachu.” This time, as the grey muscled Pokemon ran towards the already damaged electric mouse, its small blue partner Pokemon jumped in between them.

Poliwag was struck by the fierce attack and it fell backwards into Pikachu, the former seemingly severely weakened even from just one attack. It then shot bubbles once again towards Machop, however some missed their mark.

Pikachu then fired off a burst of electricity that traveled through Machop’s body. The Fighting-type Pokemon then fell to its knees as electricity surrounded it.

“Get up Machop,” Arnold commanded, “use Seismic Toss on Pikachu!” His Pokemon tried to move but once again fell on its knees as it was surrounded by electricity. The strongman let out a confused yell in anger as his Pokemon stayed motionless.

“Oh, you big oaf,” Frost chastised, “your Pokemon is Paralyzed. It’s a lot slower and may not be able to move. I’ll wrap this up from here. Use Crunch on Pikachu. Let’s take it out of commission for good.”

Gaius gritted his teeth and dug in his heels. ‘There’s no way I can lose this,’ he thought as he tried to formulate a plan, ‘I’m much better than these fools. I’m unbeatable, there’s no way I can lose.’ He quickly shouted, “Pikachu, use as much electricity as you can, try a Thunderbolt. Poliwag, I’m sorry, but you’re going to need to take the Crunch. Intercept it and give Pikachu a chance!”

The small blue Pokemon jumped in between the approaching Ice-type and its Electric-type partner, and the former sank its teeth into Poliwag’s white and black patterned stomach. The Water-type then fell to the ground and stopped moving. Pikachu took the opportunity to fire off a large electric bolt which struck both Machop and Snorunt. The mouse began to sweat and pant as the attack ended, and Gaius saw both of his foes fall from the electric barrage.

The young trainer quickly recalled his fallen Poliwag and then bent down to pick up his weakened Pikachu. As he reached out, a large fireball struck the Electric type in the side. Gaius then turned towards the group and saw Johnny step forward, his Growlithe already assuming a battle position.

“Ya know Gaius,” the firebreather began, “You might have defeated Arnold and Frost, but there’s no way you’ll get through the rest of us with just that Pikachu. It can barely stand as it is. Just admit defeat and we’ll end your suffering once and for all.”

Gaius once again chuckled and then reached for another Pokeball. ‘With Poliwag knocked out, my best answer to Growlithe is Munchlax.’ He quickly grabbed the Pokeball and the large and rotund blue and tan Pokemon appeared. “Munchlax, use Tackle on the Growlithe, Pikachu come back for now. Conserve your energy.” He then watched as his Electric type ran behind him and laid down, trying to conserve energy.

“Munchlax munch,” the Pokemon sounded its cry as it hurled its body towards the attacking orange and tan dog shaped Pokemon. The attack connected and Munchlax’s girth shoved the Fire-type back several feet as flames shot from its mouth and hitting the Normal-type, who mostly shrugged off the fire.

“So, you have more Pokemon after all,” Johnny chortled as he ordered another attack from his Pokemon. “Growlithe, use Take Down.” Small The reddish and tan Pokemon rushed forward and crashed its body against its opponent.

Gaius smiled as he saw his Munchlax absorb most of the hit. ‘I knew it had good defenses, but had no idea they were this good,’ he pondered as he strategized his next move. “Try Metronome.” He then watched as his Pokemon slowly waved its fingers.

Munchlax began to shine brightly as its wingers continued to wag, and after a few seconds a large explosion burst from its body. His opponent was caught in the blast and both fell, their bodies spent by the massive Explosion.

Gaius shook his head and looked for an exit. As he made a break to leave the crowd, a Seedot and Slakoth appeared in between him and the exit. He then turned around and saw Taylor and Richard holding their Pokeballs. The adventurer looked towards Richard, who now had a bruise forming on his face, presumably from Taylor. “Really Taylor, you’re resorting to harming your employees in order to get them to fight with you? To think that I thought you could sink no lower.” He then turned to Richard and sighed. “I know you don’t want to fight me,” he began, hoping to reassure the young acrobat, “but I’ll do what I must in order to get away. He grabbed two unused Pokeballs and threw them up in the air before catching them after they opened. A small blue Pokemon with grass coming out of its head and a small pink Pokemon emerged from their Pokeball. “Oddish, use Absorb on the Slakoth. Whismur, use Pound on the Seedot.”

Green orbs appeared from the Slakoth and the small tan Pokemon remained motionless as life was sucked out of it. The small pink Pokemon jumped forward slammed its body into the brown and tan seed-like Pokemon.

Richard shuddered, his voice breaking as he uttered a command. “Seedot, use Rollout on Whismur.” The young acrobat saw his small Pokemon fall on its side and spin faster and faster on the ground until it launched itself towards its target. The Grass-type Pokemon twirled its feet as he struck the small Normal-type, delivering multiple strikes with his body.

“Now Slakoth, your turn,” Taylor enthusiastically yelled, “use Counter.” The Pokemon stayed motionless except for moving one of its clawed feet. Puzzled, its trainer looked at the small sloth-like Pokemon. “I said Counter, use Counter on that Absorb attack.” He grew frustrated and began to stomp his feet on the dusty and dirt-covered ground. “I’m your trainer and I order you to attack!” He then reached in his pocket and pulled out a small controller-like device. He then pushed a button on the device and an electric current ran through the Pokemon’s body.

After several seconds of intense current, the small tan Pokemon began to glow in a white light and it begun to grow larger and stand on its back legs.

“No, no, this can’t be happening,” Taylor screeched as he grabbed for another device and rapidly pressed a button. “You can’t evolve, I won’t let you,” He screamed at his Pokemon as the creature continued to grow slowly despite his antics. “Why isn’t this working, oh stupid machine. You aren’t allowed to evolve!” His protests seemed in vain as the light and electricity faded and a medium-sized white monkey creature stood where Slakoth once was. The Pokemon had longer claws and a red tuft of fur on top of its head. Visibly enraged, Taylor shouted at his newly evolved Pokemon. “Fine, you wanted to evolve? Then do your job! Vigoroth, use Slash on that Oddish.”

The new creature jumped forward with a speed that Gaius had never seen before as its claws quickly tore into Oddish and damaged its skin and ripped a tuft of grass from the top of its head. The Grass-Type appeared battered from the attack and it began to breathe heavily.

“Oddish, try Poison Powder. See if you can wear that Vigoroth down,” the trainer yelled. ‘I know my new Pokemon aren’t as strong as theirs, but I can try to hold out as long as possible before I have to rely on Gengar. Even he may have trouble if the battle is two on one.’ He then looked towards his Whismur who seemed to have recovered from the Rollout. “Whismur, use Pound again on the Seedot.”

The Pink Pokemon once again jumped and pounded the Seedot hard with its body. Even with the attacks, the Normal-type Pokemon seemed raring to go.

The blue radish-looking Pokemon fired off a series of purple dust towards the wildly attacking Vigoroth, however in the Grass-type’s panic the dust missed its mark as the monkey closed in once again.

“Keep using Slash Vigoroth,” Taylor commanded. He smirked as he saw his Pokemon once again claw viciously at the small Grass Pokemon.

Oddish fell on its side with visible gashes and cuts along its body. Gaius could tell that the Pokemon was in no condition to battle. “Oddish, rest now!” He yelled as he recalled his Pokemon. He then looked towards Pikachu who was still resting behind him. “How are you feeling Pikachu? Think you can come back and try to finish this up?”

The small electric mouse got up off the ground and nodded slowly. It looked weakened but was still able to continue.

“It’s ok, hang in there Pikachu,” Gaius consoled, “use Quick Attack on the Vigoroth!”
Richard looked at his Seedot and as it continued to spin at its feet. “Use Rollout again, faster this time!” The brown and tan Pokemon increased in speed and it struck Whismur once again.

Pikachu then ran quickly and spun, slamming its head into Vigoroth’s chest. The large Pokemon stumbled backwards as it was struck by the blow, but Taylor quickly announced another order.

“Use Fury Swipes, claw that Pokemon down to nothing,” Taylor screamed at his newly evolved Pokemon. The white Pokemon quickly complies, rushing forward and clawing Pikachu.

The yellow Pokemon fell back, almost unconscious, however as it fell a bolt of electricity shot out as an act of blind desperation. The bolt struck Vigoroth and Seedot and they both fell back, knocked out. Pikachu too, fell and was unconscious. Gaius quickly picked up Pikachu and put it into his backpack, then he recalled Whismur, hoping that the battle was finally done.

‘Great,’ Gaius thought to himself sarcastically, ‘with Oddish, Poligwag, Pikachu and Munchlax down, and Whismur almost knocked out as well, I’m down to just him and Gengar. Depending on who else Taylor throws my way, this may be too much for me to handle.’ He started to try and run from the group, but his route was cut off by a young woman with long black hair clad in a purple jumpsuit.

“Where do you think you’re going, so s-s-oon,” she hissed as she opened her mouth revealing a forked tongue, her large hazel eyes set on the young trainer. “Seviper, attack. Poison this fool before he can escape.” She threw a Pokeball from her waist and a long black and purple snake appeared, its long fangs ready to strike. Before Gaius could grab another Pokeball, the new creature sunk its fangs into Gaius’ right arm.

Gaius screamed and clutched at his arm with his left hand. The pain coursing through his body radiated as if every blood vessel inside of him was on fire. ‘I, I can’t believe she attacked me,’ he thought as his vision began to blur. He reached down and managed to wildly grab at an a Pokeball and threw it, unsure of which creature it contained.

A small, pink creature with large, orange-tipped ears emerged and began to cry loudly. The Pokemon looked around and continued to wail as it saw that its trainer was injured.

“Whismur, use Uproar,” Gaius shouted weakly. He knew that he had to end the battle quickly if he had any hope of escape. He then watched as circles of blue sound waves emanated from its mouth and his opponent’s Pokemon recoiled from the attack.

“Seviper use Poison Tail,” Medusa commanded as she held her hands to her ears as the sound-based attack subsided.

The Yellow-spotted snake coiled up and sprang, plunging its red-tipped tail into the opposing Normal-type Pokemon.

Whismur howled in pain from the impact, its pink skin now taking on a purple hue. The Pokemon then lashed back and pounded on the snake Pokemon by using its large ears.

Gaius stumbled as his vision blurred and he saw the snake once again attack his newly acquired Pokemon as Whismur collapsed and was sucked back into its Pokeball. As he fell on his knees, suddenly an overpowering feeling rushed through his body as he could feel his body slowly shutting down from toxins.

The young trainer rose off his knees and faced his group of attackers, a dark aura now exuding from body and a look of unparalleled rage in his eyes. “You dared to attack me, you pitiful creatures,” Gaius’ body spoke in a voice that was not his own. “You not only abused your Pokemon, but you attacked me as well? You are pathetic, and you fools aren’t worthy of life.” Shadowy tendrils shot out from his hands and they wrapped around both Medusa and her Seviper. The tendrils wrapped tight and both Pokemon and human began to cough and sputter as they tried to breathe.

“Who, or what are you,” Taylor stammered in horror as he saw his performer slowly being strangled. “Please, we’re sorry for attacking you. We, we had no idea what you could do or what kind of power you have. Just leave us be, and we promise we won’t hurt our Pokemon anymore.” The ringleader took several steps back away from the group, trying to put distance between him and ensuing carnage. He then quickly glanced at Johnny and nodded his head.

The fire breather then reached into his pocket and pulled out a second Pokeball. He threw it in front of him, his hand shaking as he watched Medusa struggle for air. “Go-go uh, Magmar, use Fire Punch” he stuttered as the Pokeball opened. “Attack that trainer, that monster!”

A yellow and red creature with pointy fingers and toes emerged, its bright tail flame illuminating his red and yellow body. The Pokemon looked confused as he saw Gaius strangling the creature’s circus performer friends. The Pokemon ran forward and punched Gaius’ body with a fiery fist.

The trainer’s body laughed, and another shadowy hand reached out and gripped Magmar by the throat. In one quick motion, Gaius threw both Seviper and Magmar high into their air. They seemed to fly back several hundred feet until they were almost out of sight. The trainer then turned on the remaining group as he bent Medusa’s neck with a flick of a shadow tentacle.

Taylor and the other performers cried and stammered as they saw their compatriot fall. The ringleader turned and began to run, but before he made it more than twenty feet, he felt himself being lifted in the air as a spectral hand wrapped around his neck. His hat fell from his head and crumpled on the ground as its owner was slowly being choked.

Johnny, Frost and Richard then turned began to run in different directions, each one trying simply to escape the circus with their lives. Shadowy tendrils emerged from Gaius and pierced Johnny and Frost’s stomach skewered them. The ice skater and firebreather both fell to the ground, bleeding and struggling to move. A third tendril emerged and pulled Richard to Gaius’ feet. The trainer looked down at the young acrobat and sneered. “You’re the worst of all of them Richard. You knew what you were doing were wrong, but you kept doing it anyway. You act like you care about your Pokemon, but you don’t care at all. You merely did whatever you were told without actually caring about the effects that it had on your Seedot.”

It was at this moment that Arnold came up from behind Gaius and smashed a large cage against Gaius’ back. The trainer seemed to feel no pain at the impact, and Gaius turned quickly to face Arnold. The young trainer used his left hand to lift the large man off the ground by his neck.

“You really think you could hurt me,” Gaius snorted in laughter as he started to squeeze the strongman’s throat. “You pitiful idiot, you should have run when you had the chance. I was busy dealing with your friends and I almost forgot you were still here.” He laughed again as he tightened his grip while the man’s fleet flailed as he was being held a foot off the ground. “Pity, if you had more than a pea-sized brain you may have actually had a chance here.” He tightened his grip even further and a faint pop was heard as Arnold’s windpipe and neck were broken. Gaius then threw the body into the cold mud and turned back towards Richard. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?” Is there any reason why I should spare you? You who were so naïve you listened to an abuser instead of seeking help from someone who could have put a stop to it in the first place or going to the authorities?”

The acrobat stammered and tried to speak. He slowly looked around and saw that the rest of his troupe was either dead or currently dying. “I, I know I shouldn’t have done that, but I didn’t really have a choice. I’m just a kid, I don’t have that kind of power to stand up to adults. Gaius knows that I was only doing what I had to do. With adults like Arnold and Taylor forcing me to train that way, I had no real chance of standing up for myself. What was I supposed to do? Just run home and somehow find a way back all on my own without any help from anyone? If I had spoken out against them, I would have my life ruined. I was in an impossible situation.”

Gaius sighed and used a shadowy tendril to wrap around Richard’s neck. “Really, that’s all you have to say. You use your age as a defense for your cruel actions? You know there were other ways to do it, that there were ways to stand up to Taylor and the others, but you were a pitiful coward. You could have called the police and reported the incidents, and then they could have helped you get home, but no. You were too stuck in the limelight of your act to think of that weren’t you? You had many options and opportunities along the way, but you placed your fame and your money ahead of your Pokemon’s welfare. You call yourself a trainer, but you don’t deserve that position, none of your friends did either.” Gaius then used tendrils to collect the nearby Pokeballs of Seedot, Snorunt, Growlithe and Vigoroth and placed them in his bag. “You don’t deserve excuses, and you don’t deserve your pitiful life either,” Gaius taunted as he tightened his grip on Richard’s neck. “I recommend you say your last words, although I doubt that I’ll even remember them.”

Richard slowly gasped for air and reached for his throat, unable to move the shadowy hand from around his throat. “Gaius…Gaius knows this is wrong. Whatever is happening, this isn’t you Gaius. You need to fight this. You need to gain control. You can’t allow this to happen. Fight Gaius, you need to fight.” He continued to gasp as his breath became labored. The young man could feel his life slowly fading from his body as each breath drew less and less air. Richard knew that he only had minutes or seconds left, and in that time, he wished only for home.

Gaius squeezed tighter and crushed Phillip’s spine and neck. “Control? Oh, you little boy you were delusional,” he chuckled as he talked to the corpse. “I am in complete control. You had no idea what I can do, and my power is unbeatable. No human or Pokemon can ever stop me, and they can and will literally die trying.” He laughed out loud, his maniacal laughter now piercing the silent night. “I guess there’s no need for this circus anymore, for after all, what is a stage without its performers.” Gaius walked through the tents and dark tentacles struck out from his body and ravaged the tents and big top.

Beds and cages were torn apart and ripped to shreds, supports were torn asunder, and posters were torn off wooden posts. In all the chaos, a fire broke out as one of Gaius’ claws struck a gasoline supply that was used by Johnny to store supplies for his act. As fire raged all around the fairground, Gaius laughed out loud as he continued his rampage of wanton destruction. “I could really get used to living in a world like this,” he laughed as he started to pull the entire large tent to the ground, “so much destruction and fire, I daresay it’s perfect.” He continued to walk back towards the exit, carving a path of absolute mayhem and carnage as he went with wagons and trailers ripped apart and debris strewn everywhere.

Fire continued to rip through the remaining convenience food stalls which had been abandoned by their workers earlier when the circus closed. “I guess they left or escaped when they saw me fileting Taylor and the others,” Gaius said as he chortled and neared the exit of the grounds. With each step, his pace slowed. As he exited the park, he continued walking in a straight line. “There must be some other poor soul for me to torture,” he gleefully yelled as he walked by a series of fields, “come out wherever you are, judgment day is here, and I’m the one to decide your fate.”

He walked along the road next to a large fence that seemed to block off a farm of some kind. Gaius formed a tentacle with which to rip open the fence, but he found himself unable to use his power. He then quickly stumbled against the fence and collapsed, his eyes closing as he grasped at the fence to stay upright.

After what could have been minutes or hours, Gaius’ eyes opened. ‘I wonder where I am,’ the young trainer thought, ‘the last thing I remember I was fighting Taylor and the others and then total darkness, another blackout just like before with Ash, and with my father.’ Suddenly Gaius felt a searing pain in his chest. He looked down, and a large hole had been burned through his shirt, and his stomach seemed to have burns on it as well. ‘Did Johnny or someone else attack me too?” Gaius was struggling for answers, and in his weakened state he kept trying to rack his brain for a sliver of the memory that he had lost. Suddenly, several flashes came back to him.

He could see through his eyes, him somehow choking Taylor and Medusa, and then stabbing and murdering Johnny and Frost. Finally, a hazy memory returned of what he had done to Richard. Gaius began to bawl as tears rolled down his face. ‘What have I done? What’s more, how did I even do this?” The snippets of memories replayed in Gaius’ head on repeat as he relived the murders again and again. ‘I can’t, I need to find a way, I can’t do that ever again.’ Gaius continued to grasp for answers, but his body finally gave out. He collapsed against the fence and fell unconscious. Unknown to Gaius, his collapse did not go unnoticed....

Current Team: Gengar, Munchlax, Oddish, Poliwag, Pikachu and Whismur
Post reserved for Tauros, because yeah I decided to write things out of order xD
Chapter 7: The Mysterious Team Rocket?

Floating high above Viridian City, three shadowy figured looked down on the city below, plotting a deed most heinous. “Well, well, the sleepy town of Viridian,” the tallest figure said, “let’s show them how we do business.” The figure then dropped a rose toward the ground below and he laughed.

“Yes, let’s,” a shorter figure replied, “it’s only a matter of time til all of the Pokemon are ours. After all, we’re the best at what we do.”

“That’s right,” a small figure chimed in. The trio then laughed in unison and stared down as they neared the Pokemon Center.


Feeling rested and rejuvenated from his time at the Winchester Farm, Gaius continued to travel up the route, heading towards Viridian City. The lush green of the small trees along Route 1 and several varying ledges and hills were certainly a welcome change from his time spent recovering the last couple of weeks. He looked down at the Pokeballs on hand, eager to use his recent acquisitions. ‘I have Gengar, Munchlax, Oddish, Poliwag, Pikachu and Whismur with me that I can use.’ He then looked into his right pocket and saw several dark-tinted Pokeballs that were diminished in size. ‘These must be the newer Pokemon I got at the circus. Since I can only use six Pokemon, I guess I have to store some before I can use my new Pokemon.’

The young trainer walked along the pale dirt pathway that connected Pallet to Viridian, stopping only when he saw a Pidgey in a nearby open patch of dirt. He thought for a moment and then laughed to himself, deeming the small Pokemon not worth his time. Moving onward, he crossed a quaint stonebrick bridge that was situated over a small river. The deep-blue river seemed to be devoid of any Pokemon, causing the trainer to move on and keep walking towards the city. Before long, he reached the edge of Viridian City. 

The city was dotted with a mix of small houses and corporate buildings, with none of the buildings or offices being more than several stories tall. The plain dirt path ended as it reached the city limits, and a normal suburban sidewalk began. The young trained quickly checked his phone for a map of Viridian City, and then he decided to make his way to the Pokemon Center. His first priority was healing his Pokemon, and also exchanging the active members on his team. After a brisk walk among the slate-colored buildings, Gaius saw the Pokemon Center in the distance. The traveler immediately noticed that something was wrong. There was smoke billowing out a large hole in the roof and he could see a collection of police squad card and a motorbike outside of the building.

He then raced towards the Pokemon Center, a gigantic building with white collumns out front and a large red dome in the middle as part of the roof. A large portion of the dome seemed destroyed, and smoke continued to slowly rise. Upon closer inspection, he could see what looked like the remnants of flames inside the building.

He was both eager to discover the mystery, as well as worried about what had happened. ‘I hope the Pokemon are ok,’ he thought as he reached a police checkpoint. He saw a pale, blue-haired woman in her early twenties. Her dark blue skirt and matching hat were accenting her natural features and she seemed to be directing several police officers in the area.

“Johnson,” the woman yelled, “try and get in there and see what’s going on.” She then looked down at a red and tan Pokemon that was at her feet. “Don’t worry Growlithe,” she soothed the seemingly aggressive Pokemon, “we need to wait for Johnson to get back and then we can go in ourselves.”

The Pokemon let out a guttural growl in response and its tan and orange fur seemed to be standing on end. It was  vigorously sniffing the air in search of someone to track down.

Gaius walked up to cordoned off Pokemon Center and saw a small crowd of gawkers forming around the police line.

“Go back to your homes people,” the woman yelled, “this is an active crime scene. We can’t do our jobs if we have to keep you safe in the area too!” She sighed as the group began to disperse, leaving only Gaius and a few other stragglers behind. She then turned and faced the young man. “I told you, young man, please disperse.”

Gaius shook his head and looked past the officer and peered towards the Pokemon Center. The structure seemed very worse for wear and some of the pillars had collapsed. “I need to get into the Pokemon Center,” he explained. “Some of my Pokemon need to be switched out, and I need to heal a few from injury. They were in a tough fight, and I need to make sure they’re safe.”

The young woman sighed for a moment and looked back towards the Pokemon Center. After several seconds of thinking, the officer nodded her head and waved Gaius through the barricade. She slowly led Gaius towards the large building, her eyes quickly shifting back and forth as they neared to the doorway. “Johnson,” she called as they reached the steps leading to the door, “is everything under control in there? I have a civilian who needs to heal his Pokemon.” The pair waited a moment until a tall auburn-haired man in similar attire exited the Pokemon Center.

“Yes mam,” he began, “the fire has burnt out and we’ve partially restored power. Nurse Joy should be able to come back inside as well so she can care for the Pokemon.” He nodded to the female officer and went back to manning the perimeter with other officers.

The female officer nodded and grabbed a radio which hung at her waist. “Hello, Joy, this is Jenny. You can come back in now.” She paused for a moment as another feminine voice answered.

“That’s good, I’ll be back in a minute. Has there been any word on the missing Pokemon?” A lighter voice inquired.

“No, sorry, there’s no word yet,” Jenny responded. “Your description seemed to match those of the Team Rocket thugs we have up on wanted posters, but we haven’t been able to follow a trail. I’ll be sending Growlithe in as well to try and see what he can smell.” She looked down to towards the small puppy-looking creature at her feet. “Go on Growlithe, do a quick search and let me know if you can follow their scent.”

Gaius was surprised by the apparent turn of events. “So,” he began, “Team Rocket stole the Pokemon that were being treated here? That’s horrible.”

“Yes,” Jenny replied. “They used some Poison-type Pokemon and some sort of escape vehicle. They used a large Smokescreen to get in and out, and destroyed the generator which started a fire. Thankfully we have some Pikachu that managed to evade capture. They’re providing emergency power right now.” She then watched as her Growlithe ran inside, and led Gaius in several feet behind the Pokemon.

The interior of the Pokemon Center was coated in black dust and sludge. The normally yellowish brick walls were discolored and several walls had holes in them. Potted plants were knocked over and dust and debris from the roof littered the floor. To the right of the room, Gaius saw a large door with a red cross on it, near a row of destroyed computers and telephone terminals. ‘I guess that’s where Nurse Joy works,’ he thought.

At that moment, a young woman who looked in her late teens came running through the entranceway. She had a formal looking short pink dress and a tattered white apron around her neck. Her eyes appeared bleary and her dark pink hair was unkempt. She had seen better days, and appeared to be running on little sleep, if any.  “You said you have Pokemon in need?” The woman shouted as she approached Gaius and Jenny.

Gaius nodded and spoke. “Yes, please. My Pokemon were in some seriously tough battles, and I was unable to get them care until now. Viridian was the closest Pokemon Center.” He reached into his bag and pulled out his Pokeballs. “I’d also like to deposit some Pokemon for transportation back to Professor Oak’s laboratory in Pallet Town, if that’s possible. I acquired more than six and I want to use my newer captures.”

Nurse Joy nodded and grabbed the miniature Pokeballs from Gaius’s hand. “With our Pikachu-power we should be able to help you out. Just take a seat where you can and I’ll let you know when it’s done.” She paused for a moment and then tears formed in her eyes. “It may be a bit longer as I don’t have my Chansey to help, but I know I can manage.” She then walked into the back room and Gaius took a seat on a mostly undamaged bench.

While he waited, Gaius reached into his pocket and grabbed his cell phone. ‘I may as well tell Oak that I’m sending him some new Pokemon.’ He quickly dialed the number and heard the Professor on the other end.

“Oak’s lab, who’s calling please?” The old researcher answered.

“Hello Professor, this is Gaius Vi Britannia. We met a bit ago when I was in Pallet,” Gaius explained.

“Oh yes, Gaius,” Oak replied dryly, “how are you?”

“Well, I’m here in Viridian City and there’s been some sort of attack on the Pokemon Center. Thieves managed to steal most of the Pokemon and the center itself is in shambles. I’m just calling to let you know that I’ll be sending some Pokemon to you for care. I managed to acquire some new ones, so I’ll be keeping Pikachu, Gengar, Oddish, Munchlax and Growlithe. The rest I’ll be sending back to you.”

Oak exclaimed in surprise. “All of those Pokemon were stolen? I saw a report on the news but I didn’t know it was that bad.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “About your Pokemon, that should be fine. I’ll set some more space aside for you at the ranch.”

Gaius smiled, feeling enthusiastic that his other Pokemon would be well cared for in his absence. “Thanks so much Professor. I’m glad I can count on you.” He then hung up the phone and looked again towards the red and white center door. Within a few moments, Joy walked back out of the room with Gaius’s Pokeballs on a metallic cart.

“Your Pokemon should be fighting fit. I hope to see you again, soon.” She announced. “Just tell me which ones you want to sent back to Oak, and I’ll take care of it for you.”

Gaius tilted his head for a moment, in thought. ‘She hopes that I come back soon? Don’t people only see her when their Pokemon are injured?’ He shrugged and then separated his five chosen Pokemon from the others. “I’ll be taking these five with me. The rest can be sent back to Oak’s.”

Jenny then returned to the large entranceway, following Growlithe’s lead. “Joy, Growlithe hasn’t been able to find any scent of the thieves. My department and I will canvas the neighborhood. Please give us a call if you see anything suspicious or can think of something that could help.”

Joy nodded waved towards the officer, who then left the building with her Fire-type Pokemon in tow.

Gaius was preparing to leave the center himself when a thought crossed his mind. ‘Perhaps I can use my Growlithe as well to try and track down the thieves. Johnny’s Growlithe may be at a higher level than Jenny’s so it may work.’ He grabbed Growlithe’s Pokeball and opened it, revealing his own small orange and tan Fire-type. “Growlithe,” Gaius commanded, “there’s been an attack on the Pokemon Center, see if you can track where they went.”

After several moments of the Pokemon sniffing around, the quadruped focused on an area that was heavily coated in remnants of toxic dust and soot. He then yelped loudly and looked towards the hole in the ceiling.

‘Since my Growlithe was used to smoke from his circus routine, he may have actually figured it out.’ Gaius thought excitedly. “Come Growlithe, lead the way. We don’t have time to wait for Jenny or the others. The thieves may escape before they’re able to come and assist.” He raced out of the Pokemon Center following his Growlithe as the Fire-type led him West.

After ten to twenty minutes, the Pokemon and trainer found themselves at the outskirts of Viridian City, near a small forested area. The Pokemon continued to lead Gaius into the forest, and through the trees Gaius could see what appeared to be the top of a deflated air balloon.  ‘Wow, I think this is them,’ Gaius thought. ‘I can just call Jenny now and she should be on her way.’ He grabbed his phone and was dialing, but then he saw that he did not have any phone reception. ‘I guess it’s all on me, he pondered, hoping that he was up to the task.’ The trainer recalled his Growlithe and crept forward, slowly inching towards where the balloon was grounded.

From this distance, he could see a small campfire that had been erected in a clearing amid the trees and bushes of the forest. As he moved closer, he could hear three human voices, as well as that of several Pokemon. The voices seemed to be excitedly discussing something. Gaius peered over a large bush, and he saw two trainers dressed in white, as well as three Pokemon nearby.

‘I guess the third trainer wandered off,’ Gaius surmised as he continued watching the scene. ‘Their guard seems to be down, however I should wait until they’re all in one place. I can’t afford the third trainer to sneak up behind me during a battle and knock me out.’

At the left side of a campfire, a woman in a short white skirt was resting against a large oak tree. A small purple snake Pokemon was coiled in her lap and stretched down her legs. The woman’s long dark-reddish hair was lit up by the bright light of the fire. To her right, a thin purple-haired man was sitting near a floating purple Pokemon. The man was eating a large fish that had been roasting over the campfire and he had ripped off a piece to give to a small white cat-looking Pokemon that was between them. The cat smiled and nodded, happily using his front paws as if they were hands.

Gaius felt this was quite odd, as he was sure that the Pokemon in the middle was a Meowth. From what he had seen or read in the past, Meowth always walked on all four of their legs, but this Pokemon seemed to be standing up-right. ‘Perhaps this is a rare genetic breed, or some sort of mutation,’ he thought. He once again grabbed his cell phone, and began to take several photos of the group. Each of the humans had a red “R” emblazoned on their white shirts, clearly identifying them as members of Team Rocket. ‘Even if they somehow manage to escape,’ Gaius thought, ‘at least I have some proof for Jenny and the others.’ Unknown to Gaius, his phone’s flash was still enabled. This caused a bright light to shine towards the group as he took the first photo.

The pair of humans jumped up and looked towards the bushes where Gaius was hiding. “Come out now, and you won’t be harmed…much” A male voice boomed.

Gaius froze in place behind the bush, unsure what to do. He felt so foolish that he did not disable his phone’s flash, but now that they knew his location, his options were limited. ‘I can either try to escape, or I can confront them. I’m still wary about that third trainer, wherever he is.’

“He’s right, if you fess up now to creeping on a lady, I promise I’ll only break a few of your bones,” a female voice called out.

“Yeah,” a third lighter male voice joined in, “I’ll only gash your face. I’ll make sure to leave your intestines intact.”

Gaius was stunned when he heard the third voice. ‘Wait,’ he thought, ‘did the third trainer come back and I didn’t hear them?’ The trainer decides that at this point, fighting was his only real option. He stood up from behind the bush and faced the Pokemon thieves. “My name is Gaius, from the town of Pendragon. I won’t allow members of Team Rocket to steal other people’s Pokemon. Give them back to me, or else.” At this, he felt a faint surge of power flow through his body which he quickly suppressed. ‘No,’ he thought quickly, ‘they are just thieves. I can’t give into my aura, not after I’ve tried to repress it.’ Gaius could still only see two humans, so he wondered where the third voice came from.

“So, the little twerp reveals himself,” the male remarked. “The name’s James, and my Koffing and I will leave you gasping for air!”

“Let’s get him James,” the woman screeched. “I’m Jessie, and my Ekans will bite you in two!”

The small white Meowth then chimed in as it faced Gaius. “You’ve never tangled with Team Rocket before kid. Your number’s up!”

Gaius took several steps back in surprise. “A talking Pokemon,” he exclaimed in amazement. “I’ve never heard of such a thing. He looked towards Jessie and readied a Pokeball. “No matter, I want the two of you to hand over the Pokemon that you stole immediately.”

Jessie laughed and looked towards James. “This fool just doesn’t get it, does he?” She shrugged her shoulders and glanced back at Gaius. “Even if we gave you the Pokemon back, there’s no way of telling who they belong to. We’ve stripped all identifying marks from the Pokeballs, so each one has its original trainer ID removed. That way we can present them to the boss and he can sell them without any evidence of the crime coming back on him. We also destroyed the servers in the Pokemon Center so they have no record of what Pokemon were taken either.” She then looked towards her small purple snake Pokemon, and nodded. “Ekans, use Wrap on that intruder. Squeeze the life out of him!”

Gaius quickly opened his chosen Pokeball and Growlithe emerged. The Pokemon’s orange body and black stripes were illuminated by the light of the fire. Its trainer called out an attack as the snake Pokemon tried to wrap itself around Gaius’s Pokemon. “Growlithe, use Ember!” Gaius shouted.

While Gaius was confident that he could beat them one-on-one, he shifted his gaze over towards James and his Koffing. ‘If he decides to join the fight, it may be hard to keep up,’ he thought. ‘I better end this soon.’

The aspiring trainer looked on as Ekans’s large yellow eyes were fixated on Growlithe. Its segmented purple body and yellow rattling tail began to wrap around the Fire-type as the puppy quickly opened its mouth.

Fire spewed forth from Growlithe’s mouth, and the raging Ember attack singed both the Ekans’s body as well as the nearby fauna.

Gaius watched as fire spread from one bush to another and as more plants and the surrounding brush became engulfed. ‘If I had a water Pokemon, I could try to put out the fire,’ he thought, but I guess there’s nothing I can really do.’ He looked back towards the battle, and saw that Ekans was squeezing his Pokemon.

“Ekans, use Poison Sting,” Jessie ordered. Her Pokemon then opened its mouth and stinging barbs flew towards the Fire-type.

Growlithe yelped in pain as the barbs pierced his fur. Its trainer knew that he had to act fast, before his Pokemon was knocked out by the onslaught of attacks.

“Growlithe, now fight back.” Gaius yelled. “Use Bite on the Ekans. Get it to let go of you so we can regroup!”

The small Fire-type Pokemon then opened its mouth and bit down hard into the snake’s body.

Ekans screamed in pain and quickly released its hold on Growlithe’s body. The Poison-type slithered back to its master and Jessie ran towards the balloon.

“James,” she barked, “finish the launch sequence right now. Between the fire and that trainer, we can’t last long!”

“I’m on it Jessie,” James replied frustratingly as he ignited the hot air balloon’s propulsion. The purple-haired trainer then looked towards his opposition. “Koffing,” he yelled, “use Smog to cover our escape.”

The large, spherical Poison-type then began to spew gas out of its pores. A large crossbones pattern below its mouth glowed faintly purple as the creature spewed its toxic pollutant as a distraction.

Gaius held his hand to cover his nose and mouth. Even for the brief moment he breathed it in, the Smog attack entered his lungs and caused him to double-over in a fit of coughing. He blindly reached out with Growlithe’s Pokeball and tried to recall his Pokemon before the Poison-type attack affected him as well. After several attempts the Pokeball closed, letting Gaius know that his attempt had been successful. The thick black Smog still hung over the clearing, and Gaius’s eyes were watering from the exposure. The trainer quickly crawled on the ground, trying to stay below the gas as much as possible. After several minutes, he found himself free of the cloud of poison. He moved his hand away from his mouth, allowing him to breathe normally for the first time in what seemed like ages. The trainer looked towards the afternoon sky, searching for any sight of the balloon. The sky seemed empty, and, looking back, Gaius raced away from the approaching flames caused by his Growlithe. He then reached down and grabbed Gengar’s Pokeball.

‘I can use this to try and track Team Rocket and their balloon. Gengar can travel faster than most average Flying-type Pokemon, so they probably expected that they would have an easy escape.’ He then opened the Pokeball and his Ghost-type Pokemon emerged. “Gengar, float in the sky and try to find a large balloon with two humans from Team Rocket in it. After you find it, come back to me and lead me there.”

Gaius’s Gengar smiled and stuck out its tongue. The Ghost-type Pokemon was normally quite playful, so it didn’t mind exploring to hunt down the opposition.  The creature quickly rose in the air and floated off in search of his prey. After several minutes, the Gengar returned from the West. The purple Ghost Pokemon looked towards the west and stuck its arms out in that direction as its red eyes focused on the path through the forest.

The Pokemon trainer nodded looked towards his Pokemon. “Thank you Gengar,” he praised as he faced that direction. “You can lead the way. I’ll keep up as best I can.” The pair ran westward and the dark bark of the forest and the green of the foliage whirled by Gaius. Wild Pokemon aplenty lined the forest, but he quickly ran past all of them. The only thing on Gaius’s mind was catching up with Team Rocket and retrieving the Pokemon that they stole.

After several minutes, Gaius could see a Meowth-head balloon in the sky, seemingly heading Northwest. He looked towards his Gengar and smiled. “Gengar, use Shadow Ball on the balloon. Force it down and then lead me where they land.” He chuckled as he saw his Pokemon float towards the balloon. He knew that victory was in his grap. There was no way they could get away, not now.

The grinning Ghost-type Pokemon formed a ball of energy in his hand and thrust it towards the balloon. The balloon quickly tore a hole and and basket began to plummet to the ground off in the forest. The Pokemon then quickly returned to Gaius and led him North.

Gaius raced towards the North, eager to face Team Rocket and to take down the thieves. The trainer began to see bits of branches and leaves cluttered around as he drew closer to where Gengar was leading. ‘They must have struck these trees on their way down,’ Gaius thought as he continued to run forward. The path began to widen for a bit, and Gaius then saw a damaged green wicker basket on its side in a small clearing.

The balloon had been punctured and the canopy was torn and damaged, likely from repeated impacts as the balloon violently descended. It seemed as if it would be hard, if not impossible, to repair the vehicle for future use. Gaius chuckled as he saw both trainers and the balloon’s namesake crawl out of their vehicle and onto the ground.

“Meowth,” Jessie yelled. “are you alright? That Ghost-type Pokemon came out of nowhere and knocked us out of the sky. We’re nowhere near Lavender Town, so where did it come from?”

“Yeh Jessie,” the talking cat replied, “I may-a used one of my nine lives, but I’m ok.” The cat Pokemon then turned and looked towards his male compatriot. “Wha about you, James?”

The male human member of the trio grunted and groaned loudly, until Jessie crawled over and shook him by the hair. “Wake up James, that Gengar may still be around.”

Still half-unconscious, James lazily responded. “Shh, let me sleep mom. I need to get my beauty rest today.”

A sudden strike by Jessie to James’ head quickly roused the injured team member.

“I’m up, Jessie, I’m up,” James moaned as he wiped away his eyes and started to rise. His eyes caught sight of Gaius who was approaching the group. “We have company Jessie. That twerp from earlier is back. Is your Ekans up to fight?”

Gaius smirked as he stood behind his Gengar. Partially, the trainer didn’t want to even let the thieves have a chance to respond, but he knew that he shouldn’t give into his darker impulses. If he was going to beat them, he would do so fairly. The hopeful Pokemon rescuer chuckled and began to speak. “Say Team Rocket, are you having some trouble with your balloon?” He then looked towards his Gengar, ready to command the Pokemon if the villains still desired battle.

“James,” Jessie responded sounding slightly worried, “my Ekans still isn’t doing well. If we didn’t tie the bag so tight I could just use some of the Pokemon that we stole, but if it rips we’ll lose Pokemon. You’ll need to take this fool out yourself.”

James reached into his pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. He threw it, and Koffing appeared from the ball.

The Pokemon’s large spherical design was pitted with exhaust ports, and Gaius recognized it as what they used to escape earlier. ‘They probably also used that to break into the Pokemon Center. That’s why Nurse Joy couldn’t fully identify them. They were concealed in Koffing’s gas.’ He shook his head and looked towards the trio. “Give back those Pokemon, or my Gengar will to do you what he did to your balloon. Let’s see what you look like after he’s done popping your body!”

James recoiled while Jessie and Meowth took shelter behind the damaged canopy. “Koffing,” James shouted, “don’t let him talk to us that way. Defend your master in the name of Team Rocket! Time to use Sludge.”

Koffing grinned and opened its mouth. The Purple Pokemon began to rotate quickly and black sludge shot out from its pores and its mouth.

The sludge struck Gengar’s body and face, but the Poison and Ghost-type Pokemon easily wiped the poison away. The Ghost Pokemon seemed mostly unfazed by the Koffing’s attack. The creature stuck its tongue out at the thieves and its eyes glowed bright blue.

Gaius laughed audibly and looked at James as the man seemed frightened. “You may have been able to injure my new Growlithe,” Gaius chided, “but it’s much harder to take on my Gengar with such weak attacks.” He glanced towards his Gengar and ordered a command. “Gengar, use Psychic on the Koffing.”

Gengar’s eyes continued to glow and the Pokemon waved its small arms. A bright blue glow enveloped Koffing and the Pokemon began to move erratically. The Ghost type moved its arms upwards and down, and his Poison-type opponent seemed trapped in its effects. Gengar slammed the Poison-type onto the ground harshly and then forced it to collide with a tree before finally smashing the spherical Pokemon against its own trainer.

The move now subsided, Koffing seemed to be in great pain. “Koff-Koffing-Kof,” it weakly proclaimed as it looked towards Gengar. His trainer, having just survived an impact to the torso, did not seem much better off.

“Jessie,” James hissed as he tried yet failed to keep his voice heard by Gaius. “How are you and Meowth coming on our emergency second balloon? Is it rigged to deploy soon? Koffing can’t last much longer.” The purple-haired thief tried to quickly come up with a solution to buy some more time.

“Almost James,” Meowth called loudly. The small cat Pokemon had apparently not gotten the message about staying quiet. “A few more minutes and we’ll be good to go!”

“Great,” James replied sarcastically, now knowing without a doubt that their plan was on full display. He gritted his teeth in both anxiousness and worry as he commanded his Pokemon. “Now Koffing, use Smokescreen again to distract the do-gooder!”

The large purple Pokemon smiled and noxious and putrid gasses spewed forth from its body. The trio of thieves had hoped to use this for their getaway like earlier in the Pokemon Center. However, Gaius was not the same kind of pushover trainer they were used to facing.

Gaius smirked and nodded towards his Gengar. The Pokemon rescuer had planned for this eventuality. He knew exactly what move he could use to bring all of their plans crashing down around them. “Gengar,” he commanded, “counter with Will-O-Wisp. Set the gas cloud on fire. Let’s see how the thieves like having burns all over their body!” Deep down, a part of him felt enjoyment at imagining James and the others covered in burns and being disfigured. That same dark energy that he had felt at the carnival and the ranch seemed to take pleasure in inflicting suffering upon others. Gaius had no qualms no qualms about hurting thieves, as long he made sure to leave them alive. The trainer’s eyes turned black for a moment as Gengar acted.

The floating Ghost-type Pokemon brought its hands together and a bluish flame formed in front of its body. Once the flame had grown to six or seven inches, the Pokemon thrust its hands forward and the flame collided with the gas that was being expelled by Koffing.

The resulting chemical interaction between the flames and the noxious gas caused the gas to ignite. In a sudden plume of flame, the Koffing and Gengar both became engulfed in fire. The area of red-hot carnage extended further back behind Koffing’s trainer, as James found himself suddenly alight as well. The flames quickly moved along the cloud and both Jessie, Meowth, and their balloon were caught in the edges of the fiery explosion. The propane in the balloon ignited and the large explosion sent the human thieves as well as their Pokemon flying into the air and away from the forest.

The forest seemed mostly unscathed from the blast, as only several nearby trees had caught flame. The trainer rushed forward and looked up, hoping to escape the flames and catch sight of the where the thieves were. Gaius could see the large bag full of stolen Pokeballs hurtling through the air in the same direction as the balloon. ‘I can’t let those thieves keep those stolen Pokemon,’ he thought as he quickly thought of a solution. “Gengar,” he yelled urgently, “use your Psychic attack to bring down the bag safely. I don’t want those balls to break or be damaged in the fall!”

The Ghost and Poison-type then waved its arms and a light-blue light enveloped both the Pokemona and the large brown-colored sack that was no doubt filled to the brim with Pokemon. Under the Genar’s direction, the bag slowly moved towards the ground until it rested several feet in front of Gaius. 

The young trainer raced forward, eager to retrieve the stolen Pokeballs. He knew that even if the Pokemon could not be reunited with their proper owners, they would at least receive better care from him than at the hands of Team Rocket. He opened the bag, expecting to see only a large mass of Pokeballs. However, he instead saw Meowth as well.

The cat looked up at him, claws extended and seemingly ready to pounce. The Pokemon looked at Gaius and then Gengar, before retracting his claws. “Awh what’s tah point. Your Pokemon can definitely thrash me in a fight, and I only know Normal-type moves anyway so I couldn’t even hurt that if I tried.”

Gaius was surprised by this turn of events. He was already prepared to issue an order for Gengar to knock out the troublesome thief, but the creature seemed to give up. The human nodded towards Meowth. Even though the Normal-type Pokemon seemed to have some level of independence from the Team Rocket trainers, no doubt he was beholden to them.  Since the Pokemon was not fully responsible for his actions, Gaius was prepared to let him go.

Meowth looked down, seemingly upset and let down by his current predicament. The creature jumped out of the bag and slowly started walking towards the direction where his Rocket allies were headed as they blasted off. “Jus keep the Pokeballs. There’s no way I could stop you anyway.” The Pokemon kept walking several feet until Gaius looked at the Pokemon and yelled after him.

“Wait Meowth,” the trainer called as he caught up to the Pokemon. A Pokemon with abilities like Meowth could have a host of uses in a Pokemon journey. Covert surveillance, communicating the normally unknown thoughts and feelings of wild Pokemon, the possibilities could be endless. Gaius knew he could not let such an opportunity pass him up. “Meowth,” the trainer continued, “I have a proposition for you. Come work for me, instead of Team Rocket. I’ll pay you more than you ever made with the group, and you won’t worry about being caught for your crimes.”

The wild Pokemon turned and looked at Gaius, his head cocked as if he was considering the proposal. “What’s tha catch,” Meowth asked, seemingly expecting a trick of some sort from Gaius.

“No catch,” Gaius assured, “honest work at double the cost. I’ll ensure you always have whatever food you prefer, fancy rooms whenever available. You’ll be living the high-life instead of your life stuck at the bottom.

Meowth eagerly nodded, his mind made up. “Yes, I guess that will work,” the cat replied. “I’ve always wanted to have the life of luxury with the boss, but I’ve wasted almost a whole one of my nine lines with no progress. If I spent even the next ten, fifteen, or even twenty years, I don’t think that would change. I have some rules though, think of it as an employee contract.”

Gaius sighed but nodded. As long as the rules weren’t unreasonable, the trainer had no problem with whatever the cat demanded.

“First off,” Meowth began, “I am a wild Pokemon, and I will stay one. I’ll travel with you, but do not catch me. If you do me good, I’ll do what you ask.” He paused for a moment, lost in thought. “If we see Jessie and James, just tell them you caught me so they don’t think I’m with ya willingly. The other rule, I won’t tell you anything about Team Rocket. They may be my old crew, but I’ve been with them ever since I left Hollywood.”

The trainer nodded once again and looked from the Pokemon to the large bag. “That’s fine with Meowth, just help me organize these Pokeballs.” As the two looked through the cache, Gaius saw many low-level repeat Pokemon such as Pidgey and Rattata. “I don’t need those,” he said, “let’s leave them there for someone else to find.” He continued to examine the haul and saw many fully-evolved Pokemon, even some that he had not heard of before. “Aggron, Cinderace, Greninja,” he spoke aloud as he read the writing on the ball, “they don’t seem native to Kanto so I’m keeping them for sure. He also found numerous other rare Pokemon such as Nidoqueen, Blastoise, Crobat, among several dozen others. Gaius kept the Pokeballs he deemed worthy in their miniature form and reached into his backpack. He retrieved the experimental Pokemon transporter machine that Professor Oak had given him in Pallet Town.

After fiddling with the machine for several minutes and attempting to transport several of his new acquisitions back to Professor Oak, the machine kept displaying error messages. He sighed and slid the machine back into his backpack. .“I’m going to have to deposit these in Pewter City. Maybe I can get the device looked at there, too.” He then put the new Pokeballs into his backpack and looked down the pathway. With the haul sorted and the chaff discarded, Gaius walked westward with Meowth in tow. The trainer was eager to see what the rest of this new forested route would bring.

Current Team:

Pikachu, Gengar, Oddish, Munchlax, Meowth and Growlithe.

Target: Koffing
MCR: 10-20K
CC: 35k~

Note: I thought of having Koffing be involved in the original battle along with Ekans, but decided not to. If that's needed, please let me know. I also considered having Koffing use Self-destruct at the end as well as the means of their blasting off.
The verdurous forest surrounded the pathway as Gaius trekked west along Route 22. Small bushes and shrubs dotted the route and Gaius was on the lookout for new Pokemon to add to his ever-growing collection. Following his most-recent confrontation with Team Rocket and the group’s robbery of the Viridian City Pokemon Center, he found himself the new owner of several dozen new Pokemon. The trainer looked behind him and saw Meowth trailing several feet behind, still walking on his hindlegs. While Gaius did not trust the former Team Rocket compatriot, the human knew that the cat’s skills were not to be underestimated.

“Are you sure you don’t want to be in a Pokeball,” Gaius teased, knowing that the tan-colored creature would insist on his independence. The human knew that he was all Meowth had after Jessie and James had blasted off without him, and he doubted that the feline would be able to find them if he tried.

“Hey no,” Meowth yelled as he caught up with the trainer. “We agreed no Pokeballs. remember. I’m my own cat!”

The human chuckled and nodded. “I know,” he paused and laughed for a moment. “Have it your way then. Maybe I’ll see if I can get one of those see-through backpacks for show Pokemon in Pewter City. That way you can ride on my back and wouldn’t have to walk.” He shrugged and then stopped for a moment. “Meowth,” he began, “please try to discreetly run ahead. Let me know if you see any interesting Pokemon. You roughly know what I have from when we sorted the bag from the Pokemon Center, so point it out if you see or hear something new.”

Meowth nodded and walked forward. The small whiskered creature made his way through the dense brush, traveling where the trainer could not hope to explore safely. After several moments, the Cat Pokemon returned with a smile on his face.

“You’re in luck,” Meowth proclaimed. “Not only did I find one Pokemon, I found two!” The creature pointed back towards the brush with his three-toed hand. “The male seems real friendly wit the female, so you may be able to sneak up on them!”

“Male,” Gaius pondered aloud, “you mean you found a pair of Nidoran? I don’t have the evolved form Nidoking so that would be a good addition to my collection. I have no need for the extra Nidoran female, but I may as well capture it and trade it off in case someone wants it.” He then followed his Pokemon off the pathway and into the forest. After walking for a few minutes, he came across a perplexing scene.

The Nidoran male and female were both under a large Oak tree. The male was looking at the female and quickly racing around the tree, keeping his focus and eyes on the female. The female seemed mostly ambivalent to the male’s actions as she yawned and sat with her rear against the tree. Both Nidoran looked similar to each other, barring color and some defensive capabilities.

The male Nidoran had a large forehead horn and its body was colored pink with small purple patches dotted around its body. It had several spines on its back and on the tips of its ears. The female, on the other hand, had no forehead horn and its back horns were smaller in size. In contrast to the male’s coloring, the female was light blue with darker spots in various places. Both Nidoran species had large front teeth, red pupils, and a pair of claws on each of their four legs.

Gaius found it humorous that in this species of Pokemon, the stereotypical masculine color of blue was present in the female, whereas the more feminine purple was a feature of the male. ‘I guess it’s easy to tell them apart, their horn differences notwithstanding,’ he thought as he observed the pair.

Meowth then watched the peer and quietly commented to his new partner. “I think the boy Nidoran is trying to impress the female. Normally in the Pokemon world, males try to impress the girl by showing their unique talents. The girl then has to decide if he’s worth her time or not.” He thought for a moment and then muttered in a more hushed tone. “I actually know a bit about that myself.”

The trainer smiled as he watched the Nidoran male try to impress the female. “He sure seems to be trying hard,” he commented, “but she doesn’t seem all that interested in what he’s doing. Now may be the perfect time for us to move in since he’s tiring himself out.” Gaius stepped forward from the brush and readied a Pokeball. “Go Pikachu. It’s time for you to battle again!” Pikachu actively disliked being in its Pokeball, but the trainer had not needed it since he revived it in Viridian City.

The small Electric-type Pokemon emerged from its ball and looked around, confused. The creature’s reddish cheeks bristled with electricity as he looked towards its trainer.

“Yes Pikachu,” Gaius sighed as he prepared to order the Pokemon. “You were badly damaged in battle and I figured you may want to rest in your Pokeball for a while. We can talk about this later.” The trainer then looked towards Meowth. No doubt the three of them could come to an understanding after the battle was over. Gaius then looked towards the pair of Nidoran.

The female was already trying to flee while the male stood and faced the trainer. With the Nidoran Female already halfway through the dense foliage of bushes and tall grass, Gaius sighed. The human did not care enough to pursue the fleeting creature, as the Nidoran male was his true target anyway.

“So,” Gaius began as he watched the Nidoran male, “you’re trying to stop me from taking that other Nidoran, right?” He laughed for a moment and then continued to speak. “That’s very chivalrous of you, but you’re who I’m after. She was just a bonus prize.”

“Nidoran, ran Nido Nidoran!” The wild Pokemon exclaimed as it dug its claws into the patch of dirt under the large tree.

“He says you’ll never take her,” Meowth chimed in. “He says loves her with all of his heart, and he’ll defend her with his dying breath.”

Gaius smiled slightly as he looked towards his Pikachu. “I guess there’s nothing stronger than love, even if it’s unrequited. Pikachu, time to battle. Use Thundershock on the Wild Nidoran!”

The tip of the yellow Pokemon’s lightning-bolt shaped tail suddenly glowed yellow and illuminated the area under the dense treetops. A bolt of electricity burst from Pikachu’s tail and it struck the Purple-colored Pokemon.

The wild Pokemon yelled in response and lowered its head towards its foe. The large horn was aimed right at Pikachu’s midsection and the male Pokemon rushed forward, hoping to impale its opponent with its sharp horn.

Gaius tried to issue a command, but he opened his mouth too late. The still freshly owned Pikachu was unable to move fast enough in time as the wild Pokemon bore down on it with its horn.

The Horn Attack struck the small electric mouse creature, causing the small yellow Pokemon to shriek in pain. The horn seemed to penetrate the skin, but not incredibly deep. Drops of red blood fell from Pikachu onto the ground, and the tip of the Nidoran’s horn was covered in red.

The trainer looked towards his Pikachu, who despite a puncture wound was still able to stand. “Pikachu let’s try to finish this fast. Use Quick Attack!” As he watched his Pokemon move, Gaius was already reaching into his bag for a Super Potion to use when the battle ended. While battling such a ferocious wild Pokemon, the human doubted he could heal his Pokemon without putting himself at risk.

Pikachu nodded its head and got on all fours. Electricity coursed through its body from its tail to the black tips of its ears. The creature sprung forward and slammed itself into the Nidoran’s body.

The wild Pokemon recoiled in pain from the impact but stayed strong. He then leapt into the air and Tackled the Pikachu with the full weight of its body.

The spines on its back dug into Pikachu’s sides and front, causing repeated yelps from the Electric-type. Pikachu was half doubled over in pain, and Gaius wasn’t sure if there was anything he could do.

‘If I tell Pikachu to come back to send out someone else, the Nidoran may not care,’ he thought. ‘The wild Pokemon may attack Pikachu anyway and just ignore my new active battler.’ He assessed the area and came up with a plan. “Pikachu, you need to get back here,” he yelled. “it’s time for Oddish to battle.” He then threw a Pokeball quickly from his belt, trying to give the Nidoran a new target as soon as possible.

Pikachu nodded and slowly made his way behind Gaius. The Pokemon wasn’t in good shape, but Gaius knew that its injuries were not life-threatening. The trainer watched as his blue Grass-type Pokemon emerged from the ball and as it waved its grassy leaves around in front of the foe. ‘Good,’ Gaius thought. ‘We can use Oddish as a distraction to weaken the Nidoran.’ He looked at his Grass-type Pokemon and quickly issued a command. “Oddish, use Absorb on that Nidoran. Drain its energy!”

Orbs of energy then emanated from Nidoran’s body and they traveled to the leaves on the top of Oddish’s head. “Oddish, odd-dish,” the eager Pokemon exclaimed as it received nourishment.

The Nidoran tried to run past the new Pokemon to attack the still-wounded Pikachu, but it turned on its focus on its new opponent as the Absorb attack hit. He ran towards the Grass-type and then turned for a moment, planting its back feet near the Pokemon’s body. Nidoran rose up on its front legs and kicked backward with both of its legs. The Double Kick struck the Oddish on its small face, causing the creature to fall backward.

Gaius shook his head and looked at his Pokemon. He knew that he had to end the battle as soon as possible to tend for his wounded Pikachu. “Oddish, use Stun Spore on the Nidoran. Paralyze it so we can be done with this battle!”

Oddish quickly got back on its feet and the green leaves on its head began to shake. Small particles from the tips of the leaves blanketed the battle area and struck the wild Pokemon.

The Nidoran that was in the process of charging towards Oddish suddenly stopped moving and fell onto its side. “Nidoran Nido!” it screamed as it struggled to move.

The trainer then reached into his pocket and grabbed a Pokeball. “Time to end this. Pokeball, go!” He then threw the ball which connected with the wild Pokemon. The Nidoran was sucked inside and after several shakes the ball settled and an audible click was heard. Gaius then turned towards Pikachu who was sprawled out on the grass behind the trainer. He quickly applied the Super Potion to the injured Pokemon, and after several moments Pikachu was mostly back to normal.

Gaius patted the Electric-type’s head and smiled. “I’m glad you’re almost back to full strength Pikachu. I’ll give you a dose of a plain Potion later to get you back to normal. I don’t want you to overdose on too much, ya know.” He then looked towards Meowth, who had spent much of the battle lounging against a nearby tree. “You could have offered to help too. Pikachu could have gotten seriously injured.”

“Hey,” Meowth complained, “why should I? Our agreement was recon and communication, not battling. I can’t even use my Signature Move anyway so I don’t know what use I’d be.” The small cat sighed and closed its eyes while it laid in the shade of the forest.

Gaius sighed and looked back towards the battle scene. He recalled Oddish and walked over to grab Nidoran’s Pokeball. Surprisingly, the ball responded to Gaius’s touch the way any normal Pokeball would. ‘I guess since Meowth doesn’t really count as mine, and since I haven’t officially deposited the other Pokemon yet, I really do only have five with me right now.’ He put the Pokeball on his belt and looked towards Meowth and Pikachu. “Let’s get back on the path. I think there’s a bit more to explore from what I saw on the map.”

The trio then ventured back towards the dirt path that they were traveling on before the diversion began. They continued West and passed a small lake on the southern side. Gaius could faintly make out a building in the distance, but he then spotted a young trainer walking his way. He immediately recognized the trainer as Gary Oak, the young upstart whom he had battled and beat in Pallet Town. Gaius scoffed and shook his head as the young trainer approached. “Wow, if it isn’t the Pokemon trainer prodigy himself. With the way you talked, I would have expected you to be at the Pokemon League by now.” He paused for only a second before Gary had a chance to respond. “But then,” he continued, “you actually have to win battles to get to the Pokemon league, right?” He sneered as Gary stood in front of him.

The younger trainer clenched his fists and a look of pure rage was in his eyes. “How dare you talk to me like that, old man!” His scream was so loud Gaius wouldn’t have been surprised if it was heard in Viridian. “You just beat me in one Pokemon battle, so don’t go thinking like you’re something special. Besides, you’re like almost twice my age so you have the advantage anyway!”

Gaius smiled and lowered his head to conceal his ear-to-ear grin. “If that’s how you measure skill Gary, then I guess I’ll always be better than you.”

“Why you,” Gary shouted as he reached for a Pokeball. “I challenge you, right now to a three on three Pokemon battle. Let’s see if you manage to leave a scratch on my Pokemon!” The prepubescent trainer looked indignant, as if he would punch Gaius if they were closer in age.

The older trained smiled and reached for a Pokeball in response. Gaius held no real animosity towards Gary; however, the Pendragon native could not stand Gary’s obnoxious ego. Despite both being novice trainers in terms of badges and time spent on their journey, Gaius already had a varied selection of Pokemon whereas Gary seemed to have only three.

Gary threw his Pokemon and a small blue-colored turtle Pokemon appeared from the ball. “Let’s go partner,” Gary yelled, “we’ll show this guy for beating us last time!”

The turtle stared at Gaius with a glare of determination. It seemed eager to redeem itself to its trainer for its previous loss.

With Gary’s Pokemon now chosen, Gaius stowed the Pokeball he had selected and looked behind him. Meowth was laying down and Pikachu seemed fighting fit. The older trained nodded towards his Electric-type Pokemon and Pikachu came forward. “I’ll choose Pikachu first, Gary,” Gaius boasted. “I’m sure that with my type advantage I can easily win.”

Gary glanced at Pikachu for a moment and then his eyes moved back to Gaius. “That Pikachu looks different,” he remarked. “Did my Gramps give that to you? He was saving that for Ash, but that dunce never showed up. He probably knew he couldn’t handle being a Pokemon trainer, so he ran away from home.” The adolescent bully laughed for a moment and locked eyes with Gaius. “Squirtle, use Tackle!”

The small tan and blue turtle Pokemon jumped towards Pikachu, hoping to slam its body against the electric mouse.

Pikachu quickly jumped out of the way and looked towards its trainer, awaiting a command.

Gaius smiled and nodded. He was glad that Pikachu was slowly adapting to battle. Though the Squirtle moved sloppily, the older trainer was still impressed that his Pokemon was able to dodge the attack. “Pikachu, use Thundershock on the Squirtle.”

Electricity emanated from the small yellow Pokemon’s body and it coursed from its body towards the blue turtle. The Water-type Pokemon was struck by the electrical shock and it yelled in pain.

“No, Squirtle,” Gary yelled. “Use Tackle again. Make sure you hit that Pokemon this time!”

His Pokemon obeyed, albeit a bit slowly than the first attempt. His Electric opponent was too off-guard to notice the second Pokemon attack until it was too late. Squirtle slammed its body into Pikachu, causing the electric rat to stumble backwards.

Gaius looked at his Pikachu and judged its capability. Despite it not being fully recovered from the earlier wild battle, his Pokemon was still more than holding its own. “Pikachu, use Quick Attack into a close-range Thundershock!” He commanded.

His Pokemon raced forward at a high-rate of speed, moving in circles around his Water-type opponent until he was mere inches away from the blue turtle. Electricity exploded from the small Pokemon’s body and the Squirtle screamed in pain as electricity flowed through its body.

The Water-type shook its head and tried to move in response. The attempt proved to be in vain as Squirtle fell over and was knocked unconscious.

Gary’s faced turned beet red and he clenched his fist. “No, you’re not allowed to lose Squirtle.” He shook his head in disgust and then recalled his Pokemon. He then reached down and grabbed a second Pokeball. “I know I’m at a disadvantage here, but you can handle this. Go, Pidgey!” He threw the Pokeball up into the air and a small brown and tan bird emerged.

The bird was petite in size, had a dark-brown wings and head as well as a light tan stomach. It looked towards the Pikachu and Gaius could see its eyes grow large. The Pokemon started to flap its wings and fly in the opposite direction, as if it was trying to hide behind Gary. The younger trailer looked back towards his Pokemon and shouted in anger. “I called you out to fight. Take on that Pikachu, no matter what! Use Sand Attack first to blind it so it can’t hit you.”

The small Flying-type Pokemon swooped down in front of the electric mouse and flapped its wings profusely. Dust and dirt from the surrounding plains rose in the air and struck Pikachu as the Electric-type was momentarily enveloped in a sandstorm of debris.

Gaius gritted his teeth as he watched his Pikachu anxiously turn its head and track its opponent as the Flying-type quickly circled around its foe. He had assumed this match would be easy, and now he was regretting his delay. “Pikachu, try to wipe off your eyes and then use Thundershock. You’re strong against Flying-types, so this should only take one attack!”

The electric Pokemon frantically wiped away its eyes as it stood on the defensive, trying to see where its target may be.

The younger trainer took advantage of this delay and moved in for the finishing blow. “Pidgey, use Quick Attack on the Pikachu. It’s already weakened so you should be able to take it out!”

The small bird quickly swooped down from high above the battlefield and struck the struggling Electric-type with blinding speed. The yellow Pokemon fell backwards and was unable to battle.

Gaius’s anger rose, but he quickly took several deep breaths to keep himself in check. Despite his young opponent’s flaws, he had not actually done anything wrong. Gaius wanted to ensure that Gary was kept safe. The older of the two walked forward and grabbed Pikachu. He quickly brushed off its eyes and pulled a yellow diamond-shaped item from his bag. The trainer then opened his Pokemon’s mouth and put the yellow item inside. After a few moments, Pikachu was awake and alert again. “There, I’m glad that Revive helped you,” the trainer said as he coddled his creature. He then sat Pikachu down near Meowth and looked at his other Pokeballs. “I’m going to use my newest Pokemon. From how it performed in battle I’m sure it will be a fighter.” He grabbed Nidoran’s Pokeball and opened it.

The small purple-colored horned creature emerged and looked relatively fit for battle. It started at the flying Pidgey and a look of anger appeared in its eyes. The Pokemon started to pad the dirt of the path, as if it were readying a charge.

“Nidoran,” Gaius yelled, “use Horn Attack!”

The Poison-type Pokemon leapt into the air and stabbed the Flying-type Pokemon with its horn before it landed on the ground.

Pidgey cawed loudly and started to fly lower towards the Earth. The Pokemon was visibly hurt from the intense Horn Attack, as there was a large indentation on its chest where the Nidoran had stuck.

“Don’t give up now Pidgey,” Gary called. “Use Quick Attack again. It worked last time!”

Gary’s Flying-type Pokemon attempted a Quick Attack, but seemingly due to both the damage it had sustained and its low level, the attack was more comparable to a Tackle.

Gaius then sneered and directed his Pokemon. “His Pidgey’s slowed down. Use this opportunity to Tackle it before it can hit you with its full weight!”

The Poison-type jumped forward and connected with the Normal-type Pidgey. The force and weight behind Nidoran’s attack was much stronger than Pidgey’s bungled Quick Attack attempt. After the two bodies collided, Pidgey fell to the ground as its left wing appeared to crumple from the intensity and angle of the impact. It then fell over and was rendered unconscious.

“No!” Gary wailed. “I can’t be losing this! I’m Gary Oak, grandson of the great Professor Oak. It’s my destiny to become a Pokemon master. Pokemon masters aren’t allowed to lose.” He reached down for his third and last Pokeball. “If you’re going to use your newest Pokemon, I will too!” He opened the ball and a small blue-colored Pokemon emerged.

Gaius immediately recognized Gary’s Pokemon as a Nidoran female, perhaps even the same one that his Nidoran was chasing earlier. “Say Gary, when did you catch that Pokemon?”

“Why do you care, Gay-us?” Gary responded. “He then rolled his eyes as he mocked the older trainer. “If you must know, I caught it a bit ago, right before I ran into you. It seemed to be running away from something, so my Squirtle managed to catch it off-guard.” He then looked at his newest acquisition and issued a command. “Nidoran, use Scratch!”

Gary’s Nidoran seemed hesitant as she walked towards Gaius’s Pokemon.

A grimace formed on the older trainer as his theory seemed to be correct. He knew that his own Nidoran adored Gary’s new Pokemon, but he tried to push such thoughts away. “You can’t let feelings get in the way of a Pokemon battle,” he called to his own Nidoran who seemed frozen in surprise. “You battle your hardest, no matter your opponent. I know you don’t want to fight her, Nidoran, but I know you can do it. Use Tackle and knock it out.”

Gaius’s Pokemon remained motionless as Gary’s Nidoran approached. At first the female Pokemon seemed unwilling to fight as well, but those qualms seemed to have vanished. She used her small claws on her feet to gash and scratch on Nidoran’s body.

Her male equivalent just stood there, still motionless as it took each cut and scrape from his former love interest.

“That’s it Nidoran,” Gary called, seemingly oblivious to the situation. “Keep using Scratch until it’s knocked out!”

His Pokemon complied and the Scratch onslaught continued.

Gaius, feeling distraught at both the turn of the battle and his Pokemon’s predicament, called out. “Nidoran, if you don’t want to fight her, I won’t make you until I have to.” He pressed the button on Nidoran’s Pokeball, and the male was sucked inside. The trainer then shook his head and looked at Gary. “You really can’t tell, can you? Our Nidoran used to be friends. Mine even liked yours. How can you force them to fight each other?”

Gary opened his mouth, seemingly in awe of this realization. “Hey, how was I supposed to know your Pokemon had a crush on mine? Besides, who cares. In Pokemon battles the only thing that matters is winning.”

Gaius sighed in disgust and grabbed another Pokeball. “Let’s end this,” he opened the ball and a red and tan Pokemon with black marking emerged. “Growlithe,” Gaius commanded, “Use Bite. It’s your turn to battle. Show Gary what it’s like to lose for a second time.”

Gary once again clenched his fists and issued an order. “Nidoran, use Tackle!”

The Poison-type Pokemon rushed towards the Fire-type Growlithe, however the latter used its skills from training to move faster. As the Nidoran jumped towards its opponent, Growlithe sidestepped the attack and clenched its jaws around the Pokemon’s midsection. The Fire-type bit hard and the Nidoran squirmed trying to escape its captor’s mouth.

“Nidoran,” Gary screamed, “use Scratch on Growlithe’s face!”

The Poison-type reached out and began clawing at the puppy Pokemon’s nose and muzzle. The small claws seemed to hurt, but not enough to do major damage.

Growlithe quickly moved its head and let go of the Pokemon before it could continue to attack him. The Fire-type stood in front of its trainer and seemingly prepared to pounce on its opponent.

“Growlithe,” Gaius called out, feeling slightly confused. “What are you trying to do?” The trainer quickly pulled out his black-colored Pokedex and brought up Growlithe’s page. “I see,” Gaius mused. “Did you learn a new move? Let’s try Take Down!”

“Nidoran,” Gary yelled fearfully, “try to fight back with Poison Sting!”

As the Poison-type Pokemon was preparing its Poison Sting attack, Growlithe struck with the full force of its body. The impact caused Nidoran to fly up backwards and strike a nearby tree that was off the path.

Growlithe seemed to be hurt from the intensity of the impact as well as its breathing became labored. It quickly shook its head as if it was trying to mentally recover from the impact.

Gaius looked towards where Nidoran had fallen after hitting the tree, and the Poison-type seemed to be unable to battle. “I guess I win again, Gary,” Gaius remarked. He then watched as the younger trainer recovered his fallen Pokemon.

“Hey, don’t go thinking you’re some expert trainer or nothin!” Gary yelled. “It was a close battle. I almost won!”

Gaius sighed and nodded. “True, you did do a bit better than last time, but you still have a long way to go if you want to beat me.” He paused for a moment and then posed a question. “What were you doing out here anyway? Just in search of new Pokemon?”

Gary scoffed and shook his head. “How is it that someone who’s older than me is this dumb? I was trying to scope out the Indigo Plateau, but there’s all these gates and guards in the way.” He then motioned behind him. “Up through there is the Indigo Plateau, where the elite Pokemon trainers battle once a year for supremacy and recognition. You need at least eight badges from Kanto to enter, and whoever wins the tournament has a shot at challenging the Elite Four. I thought I could use my grandfather’s name so I could get a sneak peek at this year’s battlefield, but I was turned away.”

Gaius smiled and nodded. He knew of the tournament, and he was already determined to win. “So,” he countered, “you were trying to get an unfair advantage on the competition? Normally I’d be surprised, but we are talking about you, after all.”

The younger trainer’s brow furrowed, and he clenched his fist. “I don’t need to be talked down by some wannabe trainer who’s having a mid-life crisis. I’m out of here!” He then stormed off towards Viridian City, walking along the dirt path back towards civilization.

The remaining trainer laughed and looked towards his Growlithe. “You did really well,” he mused as he bent down and pet the Pokemon’s head. “Just make sure you don’t take too much damage the next time you use that attack.” He then recalled his Pokemon and headed East.

‘What Gary seems to never understand,’ Gaius thought, ‘is that there is sometimes more to Pokemon than just pure power. Strategy and skills are important as well. I need to be at peak performance if I hope to win and get an audience with Lance. He may be the only one that can help me understand what’s been going on with this darkness inside of me.’ He sighed and continued to walk along the path, hoping that he would have answers soon.

Current Party: Pikachu, Gengar, Oddish, Munchlax, Nidoran and Growlithe. With Meowth following

Pokemon Attempted: Nidoran Male
MCR: 10-20K
CC: 27K~
Chapter 9: The Unbeatable Foe

Viridian Forest, the Kanto region’s green jewel for lumber and Bug-type Pokemon. Deep in the forest, a young man is struggling in an intense Pokemon battle. “Why can’t I defeat you,” the trainer screams at his seemingly unbeatable foe. Frustrated and nearly at wit’s end, the young man runs off and tries to call for reinforcements. Unknown to him, help is already on the way from quite an unexpected source…

Gaius looked down at the Pokeballs that hung on his black belt as he prepared to leave Viridian City. "I'm glad we can finally move on from this town," he said as he contemplated recent events. 'That Team Rocket Group stole all of the Pokeballs from the Pokemon Center, but I was able to track them down and take revenge.' His gaze shifted to his hands as he remembered hurting the pair of buffoons who thought they were stronger than him. 'I shouldn't given into my inner darkness like that when I ordered that Will-O-Wisp attack. I shouldn't try to actually hurt people unless my life is truly in danger.' A yawning noise from behind him shook him from his contemplative state.

"Ya know boss," the small Meowth whom Gaius had gotten from Team Rocket began, "when you promised me a larger salary than I would have ever gotten from being with Jessie and James in exchange for my skills in helping you catch Pokemon; I kinda expected us to be out of this rat-trap of a town by now." The feline Pokemon stood on its two feet and stood behind its trainer.

"Yes Meowth," Gaius casually replied, "we're leaving shortly, just remember to not talk in public unless I ask you to, and to walk on all-fours like a normal Meowth unless you want me to actually capture you in a Pokeball." The young trainer riffled a hand through his black hair as he grabbed the Pokemon's Pokeball in his hands, attempting to convince the feline that he was serious about the threat.

"Awright," the Pokemon sullenly replied, getting on all-fours and beginning to speak his name. "Meowth, -owth, Meow-"

"Good," the black-clad trainer stated while smiling at the rest of his Pokeballs. 'With Meowth, Pikachu, Gengar, Whismur, Munchlax and Growlithe with me, I actually have a pretty balanced team. I can always swap these guys out with the plethora at Professor Oak's lab as well.' His thoughts drifted back to the theft at the Pokemon Center. 'I almost for bad for keeping all of those Pokemon that were stolen, but I guess it's better I have them than letting Team Rocket use them for evil.' As his thoughts once again focused on the road ahead, he followed the sign marked "Viridian Forest", Meowth and Pikachu both following behind him.

As he approached the forest, he was surprised by the sudden denseness of the foliage. 'I know that the Viridian Forest can be called a forest maze, but I didn't know it was this accurate.’ As the trio of two Pokemon and their trainer approached the forest, they passed through a small gated building with various posters and signs about the Forest. “Yes, ‘beware the maze, don’t get lost,’” he muttered to himself as he quickly read a few of the signs and walked past the rest, avoiding several novice trainers who were milling about the building. He passed through the far opening and found himself finally in Viridian Forest.

The verdant greens of his surroundings overwhelmed the young trainer at first. He had been in forests before throughout his life, but nothing as dense or expansive as this. ‘Wow,’ he thought as he studied the terrain, ‘there’s so many different types of trees and plants here. I hope there’s some strong Pokemon too. I don’t have need for anything like Caterpie or Weedle.’ He continued to explore the forest with Pikachu and Meowth in tow.

He passed several novice-looking Bug Catchers who seemed barely older than 10. ‘I really shouldn’t waste my time with trainers like those,’ Gaius thought as he ignored their requests to battle, ‘their Pokemon are probably so weak that they’re not even worth catching. Nearing the back of the forest, he caught sight of a make-shift cabin that seemed to be amateurly made. ‘Perhaps this is some kind of rest stop for those who get lost,’ he thought as he knocked on the door, ‘it would certainly be odd if someone actually lived in the forest.’ After several seconds of knocking, the door was flung open and a mysterious figure stepped outside.

The figure was dressed as if he were a feudal samurai. He had a black kabuto helmet with yellow accentuations and seemed to be carrying a sword on his hip. Gaius stepped back several feet as he was surprised by the stranger, both by his sudden appearance and his unusual dress. ‘I wonder why he has a weapon,’ he thought as the young trainer began to speak to the samurai. “Hello, my name is Gaius. Do you live in this forest or are you just a passerby?”

The young boy who seemed several years younger than Gaius glared at the older boy with eyes that were akin to daggers piercing flesh. “My name is Anzo, I live in this cabin to challenge worthy trainers and to hone my skills as a Bug-type expert. It is my hope to eventually rival the likes of Bugsy of Johto. If you are not the one I summoned, I kindly ask that you leave. I’m in no position to battle right now, and a novice like you would merely get in the way of solving my problem.” The young man shook his head and looked impatiently at Gaius, seemingly wanting him to leave as soon as possible.

Feeling curious, Gaius began to question the strange boy. “Hello Anzo, you said you have some sort of problem? What’s the matter? I know I’m in a relatively low-level area, but I assure you I am no novice. Perhaps we could try to work together and solve this?” ‘I wonder if his problem is some powerful Pokemon,’ he thought as he tried to imagine what issues this samurai could have, ‘if he’s unable to deal with it, perhaps I can catch It myself and kill two Pidgey with one stone.’

The samurai chortled and shrugged his shoulders. “You seem a capable enough fellow, certainly better than the rabble that usually comes from Pallet Town. There’s a strange Pokemon deep in the woods that seems to be absorbing all the nutrients and pollen from the surrounding area. I’m worried if it continues it could grow in size or power and eventually ruin the entire forest. Verily, the situation is most dire! Can I count on you, oh Gaius of Pallet Town?”

Gaius nodded but quickly corrected the samurai. “I’m from Pendragon, not Pallet Town. It’s a small town to the South, but anyway please show me where this Pokemon is. I’m sure that I’ll be able to defeat it.” The trainer’s mind raced as he followed Anzo. ‘If this Pokemon is absorbing all of the water and killing plants and trees, it must be exceptionally formidable. I wonder if it’s something like a Venusaur or Vileplume.’ The trainer imagined using his powerful Gengar to do battle with a massively powerful foe and subduing it, ready for capture. After twenty minutes, the pair entered an area where the normally deep green foliage started to turn brown and pale in color.

“I already tried to defeat it before,” Anzo the samurai explained sheepishly, “but the foe was far too powerful even with all my strength, so I staged a tactical retreat.” He continued speaking as he led Gaius to a large clearing that was completely brown with leafless trees dotting their surroundings. “Here it is Gaius,” the young trainer motioned forward, seemingly to indicate something in the middle of a raised patch of blackened grass, “please, help me defeat my nemesis.”

Perplexed, Gaius looked around trying to figure out what Anzo had meant. Bewildered, he looked at the samurai with his mouth agape and began to speak. “I’m not seeing anything around here Anzo, where is this big monster Grass-type Pokemon that you need me to defeat? I’m not seeing any Pokemon at all. Are you sure it didn’t move?”

Anzo nodded fiercely and once again indicated to the patch of grass. “The foe lies in the grass, mocking me with its presence. It knows of my failure and seeks to impugn my honor and skill as a trainer by remaining here. You must excise it now or I will continue to suffer along with the Forest itself.” With the young man’s wild gesticulations towards the patch of grass, Gaius walked closer to investigate.

He spotted a small, short Pokemon that was thin and brown in color, with a yellow cone or cylinder as its head. Floored, he turned his attention back towards Anzo. “That small creature is the terror that you’ve been unable to defeat? It’s barely even two feet tall and I could annihilate it in seconds. You must be some pitiful trainer if you aren’t able to deal with such a simple Pokemon.” Feeling confident, yet also let down by the wild Pokemon’s size, Gaius readied a Pokeball. “Come out Growlithe,” he commanded, “it’s time to do what Anzo couldn’t. Deal with this non-native nuisance, use Ember.”

In a flash of bright white light, a small orange Pokemon with black stripes materialized. It sniffed the air and caught sight of his target. It opened its mouth and a stream of reddish-orange flames shot out and aimed directly for its target.

Gaius laughed aloud as he saw the flames move closer to the wild Pokemon. “What’s your problem Anzo? Did you just not have any Flying or Fire type Pokemon? We’ll be done in time for me to be in Pewter City by the evening.” His humored expression quickly changed, however, when he saw the small brown Pokemon skillfully move its thin body and leaves to avoid each burst of flame. “What, how did it do that?” Gaius yelled as his eyes were transfixed on his opponent. “I’ve never seen a Pokemon be able to dodge that fast. Growlithe, use Ember again, double the flames. There’s no way it can escape this time.” To Gaius’ horror, the small stick-figure Pokemon once again dodged every flame attack that Growlithe threw at it. This series of events continued to repeat for several minutes, with Growlithe beginning to wear and slow from the repeated attacks it had performed.

The small Grass Pokemon used the stressed opponent’s actions to his advantage, as when Growlithe landed from a fifth dodged jumping Ember barrage, the wild Pokemon lashed out with root-like vines that erupted from the ground under which Growlithe stood. It Wrapped the tendrils around the Fire-type Pokemon’s legs and squeezed around the creature’s legs and extended to restrict the Pokemon’s midsection.

Gaius took a step back, his mind flooding with the memories of what had occured weeks ago at the circus. ‘No, I can’t focus on that now. I just need to stay calm and try to figure out a way to beat this wild menace.’ He quickly shook his head and looked towards his Pokemon. “Growlithe, try to break free of the vines and use Bite on the Pokemon’s neck. It may be able to avoid long-distance attacks but it should be a cinch to attack it up close.”

After several minutes of struggling, the vines finally began to recede and Growlithe made its move. The small Fire-type Pokemon jumped into the air and opened its mouth wide, trying to chomp down on its target.

The wily Grass-type Pokemon moved its body quickly to the left as Growlithe descended and sliced its Razor-sharp Leaves across the Pokemon’s side and stomach, causing the Fire-type to yelp in pain.

Gaius shuddered, feeling entirely bewildered. ‘What can I do,’ he thought as his mind raced with alternative plans, ‘this Pokemon is able to react to every attack I throw at it, no matter how fast my Pokemon more or what kind of attack I use. Such a small Pokemon can’t really be such a threat, can it?’ His thoughts were interrupted by the Grass Pokemon planting its roots firmly in the ground as it started to grow.

‘What is going on here? How can it increase in size like this,’ Gaius thought as he saw it first double and then triple in size, ‘if this gets any bigger I won’t have a chance against it.’ He steeled his nerves and called out a command. “Growlithe, I know you’re injured but you can still keep going. Try to use Ember again. Its large size may make it harder to dodge this time.” He then turned towards Meowth who was presently pretending to play with a butterfly several feet behind the trainer, and Gaius began to speak to the cat.

“Meowth, do you know what’s going on here? Bellsprout aren’t supposed to be this powerful or this large.”

The Meowth, first glancing towards Anzo and seeing that the samurai was transfixed by Bellsprout, quickly spoke. “I don’t know for sure. That thing hasn’t said a word since we got here. I haven’t seen any others around, so I have ta’ think that it’s out of home. Probably scared n’ lashing out.”

Gaius then turned his attention towards the now human-size Bellsprout as it continued to absorb nutrients from the ground, causing more plants and trees to wither and turn brown. “Bellsprout,” he called, trying to reach the wild Pokemon, “I know you’re probably lost and just trying to find food, but we can try and help you get back to where you belong. Just calm down and we can stop the battle. I don’t want to hurt you if I don’t have to!”

His plea seemed to fall on deaf ears as the tall plant Pokemon responded by having a large brown root burst from the ground and wrap itself again around Growlithe. This time, the Pokemon Slammed the Fire-type on the ground repeatedly, each time only leaving a second between attacks so the dog Pokemon didn’t have time to react.

Growlithe howled in pain as it was being slammed, and when it was finally released it collapsed on the dirt, barely able to move.

Gaius shook his head and quickly recalled his fainted Pokemon. “Fine Bellsprout, you want to do this the hard way? I can play that game.” He grabbed another Pokeball from his belt holster and threw it several feet in front of him. “Go Munchlax,” he called out, announcing his choice of Pokemon. “Use Body Slam. Even with its ability to dodge, you may be able to damage it!”

A light blue and tan rotund Pokemon appeared from the open Pokeball and it quickly ran headfirst towards the wild Pokemon. With its target taller than it, the Normal-type Pokemon launched itself off the ground and tried to slam the Pokemon’s face with Munchlax’s body weight.

Bellsprout tried to quickly dodge by lowering its head, but the sheer mass of Munchlax’s body proved too much to avoid. The wild Pokemon’s head was struck by the Body Slam attack and the Grass-type recoiled for a moment before swatting away the large Pokemon with one of its leafy appendages. Now damaged for the first time, the Grass-type’s roots grew larger as it began to once again draw nutrients from the forest. The creature’s Growth rate increased rapidly, and within a minute it was now as tall as a two-story house.

Gaius turned towards Anzo, now feeling quite worried about their current situation. “You said you were a skilled Bug-type trainer or something right samurai? Maybe you can try to lend a hand here? I know two on one battles are frowned upon, but in a situation like this do we really have a choice? Without a skilled Grass-type removal expert it’s up to us if we are going to save this portion of the forest.” He then looked back towards his Munchlax and called out the next attack. “Now Munchlax, use Rollout. Let’s see if you’ve managed to learn that attack since the last battle.” He looked on at the battle with a mixture of hope and desperation in his eyes. ‘This has to work; I’m running out of options. I don’t have any other Pokemon that is super effective against Grass-types.’

Anzo finally seemed to snap out from being in awe of the now-gigantic Pokemon and he nodded towards Gaius. “Verily, I shall come to your aid. Fear not Gaius, my powerful Bug-type Pokemon will save the day!” He quickly rummaged for a Pokeball and he threw it in front of the giant Bellsprout. What appeared caused Gaius to laugh aloud.

From Anzo’s Pokeball emerged a small green-plated creature that seemed incased in a hard exoskeleton. The samurai began to panic and reach for his other Pokeball. “I didn’t mean to send my Metapod,” he murmured in frustration at his failure, “but I may as well see what he can do anyway. Metapod, use Harden. Make your body as strong as steel!”

Gaius suddenly felt a wave of disgust and disdain wash over him from Anzo’s actions. ‘I don’t know what kind of other Pokemon he has, but he chose without thinking and set out that near-useless Pokemon instead of something that could actually be helpful. I guess it really is all up to me.’ He shook his attention off Anzo and looked again towards the ongoing battle between his Munchlax and the opposing Bellsprout.

Munchlax had begun to spin its body rapidly as it lay on the ground sideways, and once It reached a fast speed it launched itself at the giant Bellsprout. The attack slammed into the wild Pokemon’s yellow head, causing the creature to yell in response.

“Bellsprout, Bell-Bell sprout!” It then opened its mouth wide and began to wildly fire large black balls towards both Pokemon and their trainers. One ball hit Munchlax and the Pokemon quickly collapsed from the power of the enhanced move.

“He’s saying the Viridian Forest is his,” Meowth quickly chimed in. “to leave now or feed him as fertilizer.”

‘That must be Acid,’ Gaius thought as he recalled Munchlax, ‘I guess it’s up to Gengar now. None of my other Pokemon really have a chance. Normally I’d try Pikachu first, but electricity isn’t effective against Grass-type Pokemon.’ His hand reached for his solid black-colored Pokeball and he threw it high into the air. “Gengar, it’s play time. Demolish this pest.” The trainer could feel his anger rising from this prolonged confrontation, but he quickly took several deep breaths to try and calm himself. ‘I can’t let it happen, not now. I can’t risk hurting Anzo or destroying the forest.’

The purple Ghost-type Pokemon popped out of its ball and floated above his trainer, hovering eye-to-eye with the massive Bellsprout while he stared down the Pokemon with its large red eyes. A small purple ball formed in the Ghosts hand, and he quickly flung it towards the Grass-type Pokemon.

The Pokemon managed to bend its head just in time to avoid the Shadow Ball, and in return it launched several large green leaves towards Gengar.

The ghost managed to turn its body transparent and avoid the majority of the leaves, however it phased back in right as the last Razor Leaf was mere inches in front of it. The large leaf struck Gengar in its large mouth and the Ghost-type flew backwards in the air, losing several feet of elevation from the unexpected collision.

Gaius gasped as he saw his Gengar become injured. ‘I’ve always been able to rely on Gengar through my adventure so far. It shouldn’t fail now, especially not against such a basic Pokemon, even if it’s massive in size. Maybe I should keep having varied Pokemon and swap them for whatever my needs are instead of keeping Gengar as my hidden ace.’ Feeling distressed, he called out to his Pokemon, hoping to formulate a plan that would allow him to emerge victorious. “Gengar, use Psychic on the Bellsprout. It should be super effective.” As he issued the command, Gaius could faintly hear Anzo repeatedly ordering his Metapod to Harden again and again, at least three or four times in the span of a minute. ‘I guess he’s really committed to that weak Metapod, this battle really is all on me,’ he thought as he watched Gengar perform its command.

Gengar waved his hands and a blue outline of energy surrounded the giant Bellsprout. The Ghost-type tried to bring the Pokemon to the ground, but its ingrained roots and large size prevented its collapse. Instead, Gengar manipulated the energy to attack Bellsprout’s nerves and mind.

The wild Grass-type Pokemon yelled once again and suddenly a white beam shot from its mouth and hit Gengar. The Ghost-type Pokemon collapsed to the ground unconscious and the wild Pokemon then wrapped up Metapod in a root as it began to move the Bug-type towards its mouth.

“How did Bellsprout learn a move like that,” Gaius yelled to Anzo, “normally Solar Beam isn’t something they can use in the wild, but its power must have been so greatly enhanced it gained the ability to convert the energy it was gathering into a Solar Beam.” He pounded the ground as he bent down to recall his fallen Gengar. ‘What real hope is there now,’ he thought to himself as he considered his remaining options. ‘Whismur and Pikachu are either neutral or not effective, and I don't think Meowth really wants to battle anyway.’ He reached for Whismur’s Pokeball hurriedly and was readying to throw it when a loud yell broke his concentration.

“No Bellsrpout, please don’t eat my Metapod,” Anzo begged as tears filled his eyes. “He hasn’t been with me too long and I don’t want to lose him.” The samurai stared in horror as Bellsprout held Metapod over its now-massive mouth, its vines preventing Anzo’s attempts to recall his Pokemon. “No, Metapod,” he wailed as he started to try and run towards Bellsprout, hoping to take on the Pokemon himself.

“Anzo, control yourself,” Gaius shouted, “there may just be a way out of this.” He thought for a few seconds and continued speaking. “How many times did you use Harden? Four or five times?”

The samurai looked towards Gaius and he nodded his head as he regained his composure, “yes around that. I wasn’t sure what else I could do with Metapod since he evolved very recently.”

Gaius laughed and called out to Anzo. “Your Metapod may be the answer to this pest problem, but we have to be smart about it. Wait until the last possible second and have It use Tackle!” The older trainer hoped his theory was right and watched the battle, Whismur’s Pokeball at the ready in case his plan failed.

The Bellsprout started to shake the Metapod, seemingly playing with its prey before it dined. Suddenly, the wild Pokemon threw the Bug-type into the air and moved to catch it in its mouth.

It was at this moment that Anzo called out his attack, as his Pokemon was mere feet from being eaten. “Metapod, use Tackle on the Bellsprout.”

The green cocooned Pokemon twisted its body so the large upper segment was facing directly downward. Metapod then used its own energy to propel itself into Bellsprout’s mouth. The unexpected Tackle attack combined with the Bug-types incredibly hard carapace caused Bellsprout to fall backwards as the Bug-type continued to tackle inside its mouth.

Gaius cheered and laughed as he saw the Grass-type Pokemon fall. “Yes, it worked,” he exclaimed, “your Metapod used gravity and its own energy to turn his hardened body into a mini torpedo. Bellsprout wasn’t expecting such force and since it was inside, Bellsprout can’t dodge this one!” After several seconds, Metapod tumbled out of the downed Bellsprout’s mouth as the weakened wild Pokemon began to try and suck up more energy from the ground.

The Bug-types shell had several cracks from the impact, however soon the shell turned from green to white as the shell itself began to break away in larger and larger chunks. Within several seconds, the exoskeleton was no more and a light purple winged form emerged. The creature had large red eyes and pale wings.

“Wow Metapod, I can’t believe you evolved,” Anzo yelled,” We’ve only been training a few weeks since you evolved from Caterpie, but I am glad to see you. Now Butterfree, vanquish your foe! Use Confusion on the Bellsprout before its able to use Growth again.”

The white-winged Butterfly Pokemon already-red eyes flashed a darker reddish hue and Bellsprout was outlined in red. The wild Pokemon’s head slammed into the ground several times until Bellsprout stopped moving.

The Grass-type Pokemon slowly reduced in size and after a minute it was back to its normal size and it was knocked out.

Gaius watched as portions of the surrounding forest regained their green color as the Bellsprout had stopped siphoning nutrients from the area. He then turned to Anzo and smiled. “I’m really surprised, but your Metapod proved worth its slot on your team. It’s now even a Butterfree so its strength increased as well.” Gaius then looked towards Bellsprout. “I already have a Grass-type in Oddish, so I don’t really need another one right now. Maybe you can capture this one. Its final evolved form Victribel can use Sweet Scent to lure in Pokemon, so you could always use it to try and capture more bugs to add to your team.”

Anzo reached into his pocket and grabbed a Pokeball. “I can’t believe just this morning this Bellsprout managed to weaken my Pinsir. It was a worthy opponent, and it would have a use on my team.” He threw the Pokeball at the knocked out Bellsprout which became enveloped in a white light. After several shakes a low hum was heard, and the samurai walked over to claim his prize. He then smiled, new Pokeball in hand, and turned towards Gaius.

“Thank you for your help here today. You were truly valuable. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have thought of using Metapod’s Harden as a means of offense.” He paused for a moment and continued to speak. “Say, where are you heading? You said something about the Pewter City gym before, right? Do you mind if I accompany you there? My Pinsir needs some help from Nurse Joy and my new Bellsprout could use a long rest and healing there as well.”

Gaius thought for a moment as he weighed the proposal in his mind. ‘Well, Anzo can definitely be weird at times, and he certainly dresses very oddly, but he did prove useful today. Plus,' he continued, ‘if I have someone else around it may make confronting dangerous situations like this one easier. At worst I can give him a trial run to Pewter City and see how he is for an extended period.’ After weighing his options, Gaius nodded and began to speak.

“Yeah, of course you can come. I haven’t really had any traveling companions since I started my Pokemon journey so it will take some getting used to, but I’m sure we can make it to Pewter City without any problem.” He then walked towards Anzo and shook his hand.

“Thank you, great warrior,” Anzo replied, firmly shaking the older trainer’s hand. “let’s head back to my cabin so I can pack and ensure I have everything I need for the trip. Pewter City isn’t too far, but it can still be a day or two on foot from this part of the Viridian Forest.” The pair made their way back to Anzo’s cabin and Gaius watched as the younger trainer packed a bag. Before departing for Pewter, Anzo constructed a makeshift sign in front of his cabin that read “Free for use by Pokemon Trainers” and stuck it in the ground in front of his house.

“I figure if anyone comes across a Beedrill swarm or some other fiend while in the forest,” he explained, “they can seek shelter and rest in safety.” He then slung his backpack over his left shoulder and the pair departed for Pewter City. Little did the pair know, but they were going to have an Onix-spected time!

Pokemon Attempted: Bellsprout 5-10k
CC: 26,825

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)