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Old 06-29-2019, 10:16 AM   #1
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Ark's Journal

His hands were trembling in anticipation. He'd been the first to arrive; in fact, Ark had stood in front of the Pokémon Lab for the past 3 hours - since 6 in the morning, despite his father's protests.

Today's the day. I almost can't believe it - today I get to go on my journey with a actual, real-life Pokémon!

It had been his dream since he could remember. Not that he was that old - like most kids in Sinnoh, he only had to wait until he turned 10, but to him, it had felt like an eternity. His mind wandered to the eagerly-anticipated journey so much, that his school life began to suffer for it, but he didn't care. As a trade-off, he already had everything perfectly planned out in his head years in advance, in preparation for this very day.

And then, at long last, the doors to the Laboratory finally opened, and Professor Pine appeared to greet him.

"Hello there Ark! You've... been here a while, haven't you?" the red-haired man asked, smiling warmly. "I was waiting to see if anybody else showed up, but..."

"But I'm the only one turning 10 this year in all of Twinleaf, right?" Ark replied, smiling back. His planning had gone that far back - knowing the age of every kid in his hometown. He had to know the odds of someone taking the Starter he wanted. "Can I come in now?"

The Professor chuckled at the boy's palpable excitement, and nodded. Ark stormed in, taking in the sights as he followed the man along the Lab's ground floor. Why did these people need such high-end tech to study Pokemon anyway? It was still studying, after all. No amount of gadgets could turn that into something fun...

"Ark, if you don't mind me asking," said the Professor in a soft voice as they approached the coveted, almost legendary table at the end of the aisle. "Is your brother okay with this? Your journey, I mean."

The boy's smiled persisted, but became a sad, forced one. "Heh... I don't think he is. But it's my choice, my right, isn't it?"

"It's a right nobody can take from you, and one your brother also enjoyed. But you know what I'm talking about."

"I do," replied Ark, with a firmness and certainty in his voice most uncommon for a 10-year-old boy. "But I'm not responsible for Dell's choices, am I? If he screwed up when he was in my shoes, that's his problem. I won't make his mistakes."

Pine nodded and placed a hand on Ark's shoulder, reassuringly. "That's fair. And you're right - you are different from your brother in a lot of ways. Well, enough of that. Something tells me you already know what happens next!"

He sure did. Neatly arranged on the table ahead of him were three glistening PokéBalls, and Ark didn't even need to wait for Professor Pine to deliver his standard speech - he knew how it always went.

Grass to the left, Fire in the middle, Water to the right...

The display had always been the same in every Lab of every region, since the days of the legendary Red.

"This one." Ark's hand reached for the Ball at the very center of the table even before Pine could say anything.

"Well, that's new. Most kids your age flinch at the actual choice even when they've given it weeks of thought beforehand!"

"I've given it years. I want Chimchar, Professor."

Pine laughed and offered the PokéBall to Ark, along with a PokéDex.

"I suppose it's official then! Ark, you will now embark on a very special journey. Go out there, meet and befriend as many Pokémon as you can. Be whoever you want to be - a fighter, a scientist, a breeder, a coordinator - but always respect the creatures you meet along the way. I look forward to seeing what you become and how far you and Chimchar will go."

Ark felt tears in his eyes as his hands clutched the PokéBall and Dex simultaneously. The Professor was right: nobody could take this away from him.

"Th-thank you. I... I promise I'll make you proud!"

I'll even make Dell proud. He'll have no choice!

Heart racing like mad, Ark ran out of the Lab and made his way straight to Route 1. Tall grass, beware!
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:56 PM   #2
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rest up after he'd only just left (how silly would he look?) but at the same time, were they strong enough to move ahead to the next route? Was he overthinking this?...

Chimchar, meanwhile, continued to frantically search for more moving targets to put down. Unbeknownst to Ark - who Chimchar could already tell he was going to get along great with - the Fire-Type had a fascination with all manner of fictional heroes and martial arts masters, emulating their moves and signature phrases with every swing of his fists and legs. Prior to being chosen by Ark, Chimchar used to watch and read all manner of shonen anime and manga alongside Professor Pine, who was secretly a huge fan of them despite his outwardly stern, professional appearance.

With each punch and kick thrown, he growled in his monkey voice what, in his mind, sounded just like "SHORYUKEN!" and "MANCHESTER SMASH!"; to Ark, it definitely sounded like monkey growls.

"I'm sorry to bother, could you help me out for a moment?"

The blonde man called out to Ark, visibly lost, and for some reason, he looked terribly familiar. But no matter how long he kept staring, the boy couldn't quite figure it out...

"Hum, so... I'm looking for Twinleaf Town. I'm on my way to meet Professor Pine - any idea where that is?"

The boy blinked. For a brief moment, he could swear the man was somebody famous... but why would anyone important ever wander into the absolute most boring part of Sinnoh by himself?

"Oh, well, it's actually just a bit farther down the road to the south, mister," he stammered. But as the blonde man thanked him and prepared to go on his way, something clicked within Ark at the last second. "Hey! Wait up!"

"... Yes?"

"We made eye contact. That means we gotta battle."

He'd almost forgotten the most ancient, time-honoured tradition of Pokemon Trainers. This was it - the opportunity for his very first battle, and he had almost let it slip away!

"Oh boy... Are you sure you wanna do this?" Ark could tell the man was annoyed more than anything else, but he didn't waver. He had a badass Chimchar and he refused to back down from this opportunity! "... fine, if I have to. I supposed it's in the rules."

What followed was almost too fast for Ark to even register. A Lucario emerged from the man's PokéBall, and in the blink of an eye, sent Chimchar flying against a nearby tree with a mere strike. After that single Extreme Speed, the small ape did not get back up.


The man shook his head, recalled his warrior wolf and approached the still-shaken Ark. "You need to learn to pick your battles; that comes with time. I can tell you're just starting out, I'm sorry I didn't go easier on you. But pulling punches is an insult to any opponent."

The way he spoke, his level of skill... was he really someone famous? Who had Ark just challenged to a battle, after all?!

"Chimchar is a great Pokemon to have if you aspire to be a Trainer. Give him time, and you'll see him grow into a formidable fighter. Who knows? Maybe we can spar again i nthe future when you've gotten stronger," the blonde man continued, patting him on the shoulder before turning to walk away. But then, he stopped.

"Actually... here. Keep this."

He reached into his old, dusty Bag and pulled out a small sphere, along with a Revive. After he tossed them both at Ark, he waved and smiled.

"See ya around kid. Best of lucks to you."

Ark kept watching in stunned disbelief until the man disappeared from view on his way toward Twinleaf. It was only then that he remembered to take a proper look at the gifts - he swiftly administered the Revive to Chimchar, while at the same time gazing at the second item in confusion. A PokéBall?

In a silver flash of light, the device snapped open once Ark tossed it at the ground. From within, a sleepy-eyed Turtwig appeared, yawned, then quickly fell back into a peaceful slumber.

Why? Why would he give me this Pokémon? Is he... is he really mine to keep?

Questions swirled in his head, a whirlwind of doubts and confusion. But one thing was painfully, abundantly clear now...

"Chimchar... we need to get back to work!!"
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:01 AM   #3
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Flame Wheel!”

They’d been practicing this move for a long time now, but Chimchar felt he was struggling. Mere Embers had taken him a while to perfect also, and he’d taken a long time to master Thunder Punch as well despite his Ability; likewise, focusing his wild fire the right way to perform the spinning attack was proving much harder than he’d anticipated.

Chimchar was remarkably tenacious, but was also easily disappointed by his own failures. The heroes he admired so much never seemed to struggle with their awesome moves – the Chidoris and Yoga Fires of his beloved fictions never seemed to fail, so how was he supposed to pay homage to those warriors if he couldn’t even get the basics right?

Ark, however, did not share this sentiment. In his eyes, the monkey was prodigious as a fighter, capable of hurling electrical punches with power and ferocity well beyond what a Pokemon his age should be able to do. Fact was, Chimchar was too passionate for his own good, and despite always perceiving himself as not strong enough, he was actually much more capable than he realized.

The blazing circle materialized once Chimchar leaped and rotated while spitting fire, but missed the targeted boulder by a small margin as dizziness took the better of the ape. The embers faded, and Chimchar stared at the ground, defeated.

“Come on, don’t feel bad! That was the best one yet!” said Ark excitedly. It wasn’t just pep talk either – Chimchar was closer than ever to perfecting the technique. “You got the movement down, that was a legit Flame Wheel! We just gotta work on your aim now.”

The ape tossed Ark a forced smile and returned to his position, ready to try again. But then, he sensed something. He couldn’t quite tell what, but there was something different about the atmosphere of the mountainside clearing they’d been training in.

“Ah, the spirit of youth. You two are quite a sight to see!”

Ark and Chimchar immediately turned their heads toward the elderly voice that spoke up. Standing a few feet behind them was a man probably in his eighties, completely bald but with a rather long, white beard, slightly hunched over and dressed in a tunic so worn and ancient it almost looked like a rag. He leaned against a long wooden staff for balance, and next to him was a rather stoic-looking Greninja.

“Hum, thank you old ma… I mean, sir.” Ark had never been good with words, at least not with other people. And to be fair, the elder freaked him out, creeping up on them all silent like that. “Can we… help you?”

Running a hand through his beard, the man slowly shook his head. Chimchar felt restless.

“I suppose I could do something for you, actually,” he replied in a soft yet raspy voice, eyes firmly locked on the chimp rather than the young Trainer. “By his request, I mean…”

“Wh-whose request? What do you mean?!” Ark’s apprehension was slowly turning to hostility, a sense of self-preservation kicking in for some unexplained reason. Why was he afraid of this old geezer?

“Well… Dell’s, I mean. I should have started there, shouldn’t I?” The man chuckled, feigning embarrassment. “Your brother asked me to help you when he passed by here not too long ago.”

Ark was left speechless. Dell? Why would he even be here, on Fizzytopia? The last time he’d heard of his older brother, he’d won the Unova League, only to vanish afterwards. Ark had always assumed he’d stayed in that region, living comfortably off of his success, without a word to the family he left behind in Sinnoh. So how did this old man?...

“Liar.” It was the only answer he could muster; rage and confusion had taken over. Chimchar stepped forward, sensing his Trainer’s distress, but as he did, Greninja did the same.

“Far from it, young man. It’s just a truth you don’t want to hear,” the elder continued, now staring straight back at Ark. “You do look remarkably like him, you know? There was no way I would miss the similarities, even with these foggy old eyes. And both of you look so much like your mother…”

That was the tipping point. The sack of bones had it coming – how dare he compare him to that douchebag Dell, and how dare he say their mother was anything like him?!

“You better leave now, before you give me another reason to punch you old man!” Ark wasn’t above punching anyone who deserved it, no matter which century they were born in. All he wanted was to train in peace; now, he had a burning desire to put that practice to use to send the stranger and his Pokemon packing.

“Oho! Well then… make me.”

It happened almost too fast to see. Before he knew it, Chimchar was blasted back all the way against the boulder he’d been trying to hit with Flame Wheel earlier, courtesy of a vicious Dark Pulse from Greninja.

From there, the gloves were off; the exchange of pleasantries between the two Trainers was put on hold, and the battle ensued. Only, it wasn’t as much of a battle as it was a one-sided carnage.
Whenever Chimchar attempted to mount some kind of offense, Greninja was faster to react, countering any attempt at a close-range Thunder Punch with frighteningly accurate Feint Attacks and blowing straight through the ape’s Embers with powerful Dark Pulses.

This is ridiculous, we can’t land a single hit! And the old man’s just taunting us by not using a single Water attack! Greninja’s just too fast… Unless!..

“Chimchar, go for another Ember!”

Dutifully, the Fire-Type Pokemon complied, spitting forth a cloud of tiny flames. Just as before, Greninja, arms crossed and everything, unleashed another Dark Pulse, the jet-black stream of energy effortlessly piercing the scattering blazes and homing in on Chimchar.

“That’s it! Dodge quick with Acrobatics and use it to get up close, before he can counter!”

Chimchar’s movements were almost too fast for the human eye to see. Nimbly, like a bolt of lightning, he cartwheeled to the side dodging the vicious Pulse, and through a series of seemingly-erractic backflips and somersaults, the small ape closed the gap between himself and Greninja in the blink of an eye. Seeing his opening, Chimchar gathered electricity for a point-blank Thunder Punch well before Ark even needed to issue the order…

“Dodge the punch with Agility.”

Before Chimchar even realized it, somehow, Greninja was behind him, his movement speed so unfathomably fast he couldn’t even track him as he evaded the oncoming blow. That was it; they were completely outmatched. Disheartened, Ark reached for Turtwig’s Poké Ball, realizing that, despite the overwhelming difference in speed, at least a Grass-Type stood a better chance at dealing effective damage than Chimchar, his only trump card against Water-Types having been rendered useless by the foe’s ability to dodge close-quarters attacks like they were coming in slow motion.


Wait. That can’t be right…

A loud noise followed as Greninja fired off another Dark Pulse; Chimchar managed to dodge it again, but just barely, and the ground directly beneath him exploded from the release of energy, propelling the small ape high into the air, helpless.

“Meet him on the way down with a Feint Attack to end this,” calmly declared the elder.

Greninja leaped upward as Chimchar began to free fall. One final hit would end it, there was no doubt about it. But at the same time, with both of them airborne, there was no way for either Pokemon to dodge, was there?!

“Chimchar... Chimchar, listen! Use your Ember on the way down and start spinning! Go for our Flame Wheel!!”

Confused, Chimchar clearly hesitated as he came falling down towards the approaching enemy. Surely another attempt at Thunder Punch would be better against a Water-Type?

“Trust me! He’s not what he seems! Go for it!!”

Struggling to remember the practice in the heat of the moment, and after taking so much damage, Chimchar rushed to spit out enough Embers to cloak himself in fire, then somersaulted to create a perfect Flame Wheel just inches away from Greninja. As Ark predicted, there was no way for either of them to dodge what the other attempted in an aerial clash, and when the two Pokemon collided in mid-air, a violent explosion ensued.

When the dust settled, Chimchar and Greninja stood across from one another, battered and gasping for air. Only… Greninja’s appearance had changed completely.

“I knew it!”

In place of the stern-looking ninja warrior was a much smaller black fox, blue eyes locked on Chimchar as his secret had been uncovered at the last second. Greninja was actually a Zorua who’d been using Illusion all along!
The elder laughed in approval as he continued to lean against his cane.

“Well done boy, well done. What gave us away?”

Ark replied with a grin of his own; for some reason, he didn’t feel as compelled to despise his opponent as he did prior to their battle…

“Greninja are pretty fast… but they can’t use Agility.”

The elder slowly made his way toward the younger Trainer to get a better, up-close look at him while continuing to smile. “Yes, the similarity is uncanny…”

He then whistled, and Zorua limped over to his side. The black fox’s eyes were filled with a strange tranquility, a calmness that felt almost out of place for a Pokemon who seconds ago was in the middle of a heated battle.

“Dell asked me to test you and see if you’d grown. He knew you’d be aiming for him,” the man said, with an honesty in his voice that not even Ark could bring himself to doubt. “This Zorua, as you might recall was his. He wanted you to have it, if I considered you worthy. I do.”

As if it had been waiting for this moment for a long time, Zorua approached Ark without a hint of hesitation. The boy, on the other hand, was all kinds of confused. First that mysterious blonde stranger had gifted him Turtwig out of nowhere, and now this old geezer, who for some reason acted like he knew him, was just… giving him this Zorua?

It’s as if everyone I run into thinks I’m going to be someone special – why do they have such huge expectations of me?!

“I… I, well… Are you sure about this?”

“Even if I wasn’t, your brother was,” the elder replied, matter-of-factly. “But I would be lying if I said I also wasn’t interested in seeing how far you make it. I was blessed to see him become a Pokemon Master… I would certainly hope I live long enough to see you, too.”

“But… who are you? You never told me your name, or how you know Dell and I! Am I… am I supposed to know you?”

The elder chuckled once more and shook his head. “I would be rather surprised if you had any idea! But where’s the fun in outright telling you? I’m fairly sure you’ll have been able to piece it together by the next time we meet. Considered it a bit of a… riddle of sorts, eh?”

With that, he bowed ever-so-slightly, probably as much as his crippled back allowed, and disappeared back into the woods, leaving behind a very-confused Ark. Chimchar, meanwhile, kept his eyes locked on Zorua – the closest thing he had to a rival now – but the black fox remained serene, almost distant, as it watched the old man vanish.

“You can bet we’ll meet again old man,” muttered Ark to himself; he hated riddles. “And when we do, I’ll have you all figured out. That’s a promise!”
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:48 AM   #4
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"Come on guys, we gotta hurry!"

Ark ran across the streets of the City of Pentacles, holding Rookidee in his arms. Idiot bird, picking a fight with a wild Luxio just because he stole Turtwig's berry...

His heart's in the right place, but all he got was a Discharge for his trouble!

The Pokemon Center came into view, thank Arceus. As he prepared to dash through the door, someone unexpectedly walked out, and the two crashed into one another. Ark fell, still holding on to Rookidee, as did the other person, their respective belongings scattering through the floor.

"Ouch! Geez, watch where you're... I mean, sorry, I should've been more careful," said Ark while getting back to his feet.

"It's okay, I understand, you got an injured Pokemon," said the other. A kid some two or three years older than Ark, sporting a gray cap and a Bag much like any other Trainer, he retrieved the scattered items and Balls and handed back over to Ark. "You dropped these. Sorry for bumping into you, go and get that Rookidee healed up!"

"Th-thanks. I will. Have a nice day," Ark replied in a hurry, scooping up his belongings with his free hand and rushing over to the counter.

The other boy, meanwhile, waved and went on his way; tilting his cap slightly once he put enough distance between himself and the Pokemon Center, he grinned as he twirled the Premier Ball in his fingers.

"By the time he notices it's gone, I'll be on that ship to Kanto."
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Old 03-03-2020, 02:07 PM   #5
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“Rookidee, wait! What’s gotten you so worked up?!”

It was rare for the usually-composed bird to be this distressed. He flew overhead in circles, urging Ark to follow him. The boy had no choice but to do so, if only to find the motive behind Rookidee’s behavior. Grotle and Snorlax lazily looked at each other and yawned, clearly not interested in following, instead opting to stay at the camp and finish their curry. Infernape and Bagon, on the other hand, were quick to join Ark, as the Trainer knew they would. And Magikarp, well… didn’t have much of a choice, as it never got to leave its ball.

It took them a good while of running before they caught up with Rookidee. The bird was frantically circling a forest clearing with the dusk sky above him, and it soon became apparent why.

“Wow, this… what were the odds?!”

Certainly not many Trainers could claim to have seen what stood before Ark. A Larvitar, in itself an extremely rare Pokemon especially in this kind of environment, was about to engage a wild Hydreigon of all things! Or rather, judging by the look of it, the dragon was the one ready to attack the smaller Pokemon…

This isn’t even close to a fair fight! We can’t let… woah!

A spiral of flames, electricity and ice almost grazed him as the Hydreigon looked to pulverize Larvitar in a single breath attack. But the Rock-Type proved almost impossibly nimble, leaping in the air at the last second with such leg power that it rose above the dragon itself, before crashing down on the beast with a vicious Iron Head that sent Hydreigon reeling back in pain!

There isn’t a hint of fear or hesitation in its eyes, despite the obvious difference in power. That’s impressive, but… also completely reckless!

He wasn’t wrong. The second time around Hydreigon’s Tri Attack found its mark and Larvitar was sent flying against a nearby tree with such force it almost fainted right there and then. The black dragon flew near, baring its fangs… but stopped just short of the fallen Larvitar when Ark’s Infernape stood defiantly between them, arms spread wide.

Bagon, meanwhile, rushed to help Larvitar to its feet and pulled it behind some low bushes, disappearing from sight. And all that without Ark having to utter a single instruction.

“You guys…”

Hydreigon’s eyes glimmered red. Ominous shadows escaped its mouth. It reared its head back to unleash some sort of attack, but just then, a human voice echoed throughout the clearing, stopping the dragon its its tracks.

“Zyll! Where are you?!”

Seconds after, a red-haired man in a lab coat emerged, hastily readjusting his glasses as he looked around frantically. The look of relief on his face when he saw the Hydreigon was obvious.

“Oh thank Arceus. I just can’t let you out of my sight for more than a minute!” Just then, finally noticing Ark, he waved rather awkwardly. “H-hey there. I hope he didn’t cause you any trouble… Name’s Rorik. That’s uh, my Pokemon. In a very loose sense, as you can tell. Come on, let’s get going Zyll…”

A flash of light later and the dragon was gone, back inside its Luxury Ball. And just as he’d come, the man who at the same time so closely resembled a Pokemon Professor and not at all, was gone. Infernape looked profoundly disappointed.

“That was, uh… strange. But don’t worry buddy, who knows, maybe we’ll run into them again and you can have a swing at that monster, if that’s what you’re into…” It very much was. “Come on, let’s go check on Bagon and that Larvitar.”

Behind some nearby foliage the drake and the Rock-Type were clearly having a tense stand-off, Bagon blocking Larvitar’s path who in turn was eager to get back out there and settle the score with Hydreigon.

“H-hey! Uh, so… dragon’s gone. Not sure you’ll see that as good news, but trust me, it is. You could’ve ended up seriously injured, or worse…”

But then again… there isn’t a scratch on its body, even after that vicious blow. How durable is this Larvitar?...

The feisty Rock-Type glared at Ark in defiance, before letting its head hang low as the realization set it.

“If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one that feels that way. And although you look fine, I’d still like to make sure you’re not hurt… My friends and I set up camp nearby. Won’t you join us? At least you’ll be able to grab a bit eto eat. You can always leave afterwards if you want…”

Larvitar frowned, its gaze shifting between Ark, Infernape and Bagon. Ultimately, it relented and followed, hunger overpowering its pride. Soon after, unbeknownst to any of them, loneliness would then overpower its hunger, and the Rock-Type would not leave, even though it always could.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:22 PM   #6
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Ray’s hands were shaking. He could barely believe what was happening, even as the bodies of his fainted Pokemon kept piling up before his eyes.


The foe sat back down on the ground, legs crossed and eyes closed, as if Ray wasn’t even there. Around it, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle were lying on the ground, passed out cold.

A single Psychic each was all it took… what kind of monster is this?!

Minutes earlier, Ray was holding an empty PokéBall while watching the Meditite practice on its own from a distance. He was sure Charmander would make quick work of it for an easy catch, but as soon as the fire lizard emerged from its Ball, it was blasted away with a Psychic without Meditite even turning around to face them. Squirtle and Bulbasaur followed in quick succession, all defeated without landing a single hit. Without the wild Meditite having to move a muscle.

“Okay, that’s enough. You’re going down, no matter what!”

Without any of his usual hubris, Ray tossed his last Ball and called upon Zorua, his first partner. Stolen, yes, but that felt like ages ago. Their similar mindsets made them inseparable nowadays. The black fox growled, sensing the urgency of the situation; Ray’s pride was on the line, and the sight of its three companions lying motionless told Zorua all it needed to know about the caliber of this foe. Out of respect for all involved, it decided to forgo Illusion and fight seriously from the start.


The opponent reopened its eyes, sensing something different about this challenge. Seemingly realizing Zorua was on a different league from the previous, Meditite rose to its feet and assumed a battle stance. What followed was nothing short of a fighting spectacle, almost a coordinated dance.

Zorua nimbly dodged each Tackle and Drain Punch aimed its way, while Meditite did the same with each Scratch and Dark Pulse in retaliation. After forcing some distance between the two with a Pulse aimed at the ground, Zorua tried to catch its breath, but Meditite did not relent – its eyes shone blue, but to the fighter’s surprise, the fox was unaffected by its Psychic grasp, clearly leaving Meditite at a loss for a fraction of a second.

“Yes! There’s your opening! Aerial Ace!”

Zorua grinned; just like Ray, it’d been waiting for that misstep. Speeding forward like a bullet, the fox homed in on Meditite while its claws turned to small blades. With a single, swift upwards movement, Zorua slashed away like a samurai… and after a moment of standstill, the foe collapsed!

Ray tipped his cap and smiled. To him, fighting was exclusively about winning, but something about this fight got his blood boiling. It was almost, for the lack of a better word… fun. With newfound respect for the wild warrior, the Trainer put away his empty PokéBall and retrieved a rare red Ball from his Bag instead. A simple toss and three seconds later, the Cherish Ball clicked shut, and Ray captured the prodigious Meditite.

After a moment of quiet contemplation, the boy recalled his Pokémon and took a deep breath. Thankfully there was nobody around to see him get humiliated.

I have to get stronger, no matter what it takes. I’m never, ever going through this kind of embarrassment again, that’s a goddamn promise!
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:27 PM   #7
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Another one…

Ray knew was dreaming, and yet, he couldn’t force himself awake. He was in a dark and cold throne room, poorly lit by a mere three or four candles. On the unadorned stone chair sat an uncrowned king. Ray couldn’t see his features amidst the darkness, but he could tell the man was staring right back, seeing him clear as day. Slightly hunched over, arms resting on his knees, head slightly tilted to the side, Ray knew the man was measuring him, judging him somehow. Something told him he should run, but the overpowering aura the king exuded made the young Trainer unable to move.

…are you the one I’m looking for?

There was no sound, but Ray could hear him perfectly. A low-pitched, slightly raspy voice that delivered each silent word slowly, each syllable heavy with dread. Ray did not know what to reply, but something told him he an answer wasn’t expected.

Suddenly, without warning, the king reached for an until-then unseen sword, resting against the side of the throne, and swung at Ray. The blade stopped mere inches away from the boy’s neck, but he didn’t so much as flinch.

Why?, echoed the man’s voice. Ray smiled – this one, he knew the answer to.

“Because you’re not real.”

The sword lowered and the king rose. Ray still couldn’t see his face, but he could swear he heard a chuckle.

Not anymore. But thanks to you, I will again. Take the sword.

Ray despised being told what to do, but in this case, he’d make an exception. He wanted to see where this was going – even if it was just a dream, it was admittedly an entertaining one. Dropping to one knee, the Trainer grabbed the sword by the hilt, and it took on a faint blue glow.

I was once Krom the Conqueror. The world was mine, until I was killed in my sleep with my own sword – the one you hold. My will lingers in it, my thirst for domination. It resonates with yours, boy. Bring me back.

Ray couldn’t hold back a smirk. This wasn’t just corny, it was beyond ridiculous. Not just the story – the dea that he would ever answer to either a dream or a lump of metal.

“I’ll forget all about you ten minutes after I wake up. But fine, let’s say I play along – even if I bring you back, you’ll still have to answer to me. I’ll enjoy bossing a king around.”

The man chuckled audibly this time, and began to vanish in a swirl of shadows. The darkness gathered around the sword and was immediately absorbed by it.

Oh yes, you are going to do just fine...


Ray suddenly opened his eyes. He was in his tent. He was right – it was the strangest dream he’d ever had, but a dream nevertheless. But if that was the case…

Why was there a PokeBall in his hand?
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:32 PM   #8
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“There we go, all healed up!”

Ark smiled and thanked Nurse Joy while returning each of his PokéBalls back to his belt. It was still a little bewildering to him that this was a free service, but he wasn’t going to complain, not with all the training and battling they’d been doing as of late.

As he turned to leave, a nearby client caught his eye. A familiar face, though he couldn’t quite pinpoint where from… A man in his twenties with red hair, glasses and a lab coat stood by the counter, counting his PokéBalls with a concerned expression. He seemed goofy and strangely capable all at the same time.

“Ah, there you are! Thought I’d dropped you back at… oh, hey there! Nice to see you again!”

Ark waved back, but he must’ve done a bad job at hiding his confusion. The man walked over and shook his hand after a moment of awkward hesitation.

“Y-you don’t remember, do you? That, uh… tussle in the forest that other day, with Zyll? Uh, my… my Hydreigon.”

The boy’s eyes widened. Of course! How could he have forgotten? That was the day he met and caught Larvitar, after saving it from the man’s rampaging dragon. Felt like forever ago…

“My name’s Rorik Pine, Pokemon Professor from the region of… well… nevermind. I hope we… uh, we’re on good terms.”

“Sure,” the boy answered with an honest smile. “I can only imagine what it’s like having to look after a Hydreigon. I’m Ark, from Sinnoh. Nice to meet you.”

He began feeling a PokéBall twitch on his belt. It was Infernape.

“Say…” said Ark all of a sudden. “This might come a bit out of nowhere, but… you don’t suppose your dragon would be up for a fight, would it?”

Puzzled, Rorik adjusted his glasses as he struggled to find words. The man really was a bit awkward.

“I-I mean, when isn’t it? But uh… are you sure? Someoby could end up hurt, I’m not sure it’s a good…”

“It’s just something I have to do. A promise I gotta keep, to be honest.”

With that, Trainer and Professor left the Pokemon Center in search of a suitable area to let loose. Rorik’s concern was palpable, but Ark was surprisingly composed. Not long after, they arrived at a clearing in the outskirts of town, and both men knew there would be no better place to settle things.

“Sorry for dragging you into this, Professor Pine, I…”

“Just Rorik. It’s okay; I was a Trainer once too. You’re doing this for your Pokemon, aren’t you? If anything, I’m sorry I created this whole mess to begin with.”

The two combatants tossed their PokeBalls at the same time, calling upon Hydreigon and Infernape respectively. As soon as the ape saw the familiar foe, it grinned, knowing Ark had kept his promise. The dragon, in turn, merely roared; it couldn’t care less what stood in front of it – if it moved, it would stop moving.

“Hydreigon doesn’t truly listen to me, never has. So if you want to fight it at its best… I’ll let it do its thing.”

Reveling in the freedom it was granted, the hydra lunged straight at Infernape, jaws enveloped in malicious energy. Ark wasn’t going to stand by idly, though

“Well, we work as one. Infernape, dodge with Acrobatics!”

Fast as lightning, the fighter jumped high, narrowly avoiding the Crunch before diving back down with a somersault and striking Hydreigon on the head from above. The dragon was sent crashing hard to the floor, while Infernape landed graciously on its feet, looking cool as all hell. In its mind, though, it had white flaming hair and had unlocked Ultra Instinct, which would utterly ruin its credibility if anyone else could read its thoughts.

Not one to hold back, however, Hydreigon unleashed a massive stream of blue energy without warning; the Dragon Pulse struck Infernape hard, sending it literally flying several feet back and into the rocky side of a nearby hill. Then, something happened that Ark had never seen before – the dragon unleashed a mass of swirling shadows from its mouth, resembling a tornado of pure darkness! Although he couldn’t recognize the move, never having met a Shadow Pokemon in his life, Ark knew perfectly well what would happen if that move hit.

But there’s no time to dodge! What can we… uh?

Fire erupted from the hole on the rock, and like a meteorite, Infernape darted forward, prepared to meet the Shadow Blast head on! Arms crossed, he gathered flames around them, a technique he and Ark had been practicing for well over a month. Astounded, Rorik readjusted his glasses – just like Ark had never seen a Shadow move, the Professor had never seen a Crossfire!

“Infernape, wait! You still haven’t mastered it!”

It was to no avail. Determined to pull it off, Infernape advanced, a fiery X forming along his crossed forearms and expanding outwards. But as soon as they touched the Shadow energy, the flames dispersed - the warrior was once again pushed back violently against the nearby hill, this time being forcefully drilled into the rock by the spinning mass of darkness that overpowered it completely. When the shadows stopped dancing, Infernape was knocked out cold.

“N-no… damn it, we’re still not good enough!” cried Ark, dropping to his knees. “Why can’t I win?...”

Rorik smiled, recalled Hydreigon and approached the younger Trainer. He dropped to one knee and looked Ark in the eyes.

“I might not be the best one to give out advice, but… I’m not sure it has to be about winning all the time.”

Ark looked up at Rorik, a mixture of sadness and confusion on his face.

"We both learned from this battle. And if we learn even a bit from every fight, sometimes... isn't that a reward in of itself?"

The boy pondered in silence for a while, before recalling Infernape into its Ball. Then, wiping away tears forming on his eyes, he forced a smile and bowed respectfully.

"I... I think I learned something important today. Even if I lost. So... I guess you're right, Mr. Rorik. Thank you..."

The Professor looked on as Ak walked away, back towards the Pokemon Center.

"We both did, Ark. And I think I know what I have to do now."
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:33 PM   #9
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Rorik adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat. This was not the ideal scenario, far from it – but it was time to accept that it was the right thing to do.

A man approached in the distance. Unreasonably large and ripped, unreasonably naked from the waist up. But that was exactly what his father had always been – unreasonable.

“Hello, boy.” The man’s voice was deep as the abyss, and even in that simple greeting, filled with reproach. “Still skinnier than a damn Kirlia, I see.”

“Hello father. Y-yes, I suppose one doesn’t get a lot of exercise done inside a Lab. Because I’m, you know, a Prof…”

“ A professional nerd. I’m aware.”

Ulrik Pine ran a hand through his unkempt beard. It was impossible to tell if he was smiling underneath all that hair, but Rorik could easily imagine the man’s mocking grin. Oh well, he’d expected it – his father had never shown any recognition for his job, even if he knew that, deep down, the man cared for his son. Deep down, Ulrik was glad to see he was doing well. It just wasn’t the Heimlan way to admit it.

“I’m surprised you knew how to find me, boy. I wonder if I’m losing my touch.”

“Your touch for vanishing without saying a word to your family? No, I think you still got it, father – I’ve just gotten better at looking.” Where was he getting all this nerve from?

“Oh, look at you, all opinionated. Glad to see your stones finally dropped.” There was a mixture of surprise and, Rorik could almost swear, approval in Ulrik’s cavernous voice. “Well, seeing as you dragged me all the way to this shitty region, what the hell do you want?”

A moment of quiet contemplation later, the Professor made up his mind and handed his father a PokéBall.

“I need you to keep this one. It’s… more than I can handle. It’s becoming dangerous to everyone around it.” His voice trembled slightly, as he knew perfectly what this represented in Ulrik’s eyes: an admission of weakness. “I’m not a real Trainer, you and I both know it. Controlling that Hydreigon is beyond my level of skill, and a young boy was almost seriously injured, or worse, because of my… ineptitude. I can’t have it happen again. Since Dragons have always been your specialty, I thought…”

“Enough,” roared Ulrik, making his son shudder. “You are…”

His massive hand wrapped itself around Rorik’s taking the Ball from him. The colossus of a man stared at the small device in silence for a few moments, before letting out a sigh.

“… you are right, boy. This one’s too much for you to handle, I can sense it from here. I’m proud of you for admitting your limitations. It’s the first step to surpassing them!”

Rorik smiled instinctively. His father was missing the point – he wasn’t looking to surpass anything, just get the beast as far away from potential innocent victims as possible – but at least the Dragon Master recognized his heart was in the right place. It was already a better outcome than Rorik had anticipated.

“I’ll hold on to this one, don’t you worry. It’ll have a newfound respect for humans when I’m done with it, that’s a damn promise!”

“Thank you father. It… means a lot to me that you’d agree to help, I…”

“Stop being a wimp. It’s embarrassing. Now, get back to your studying and cataloging, leave the real man’s work to a real man.”

Rorik smiled again and nodded. His father was a brute, but an absolute prodigy as a Trainer even among Heimlans. Besides, he had come out of his hiding place all the way from a foreign region and agreed to help; in the end, he always would, no matter how much he complained along the way.

“Now, where can a man grab a decent bite to eat around here?!”
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:34 PM   #10
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It was down to the wire – or so it seemed. Ark stood face-to-face with Agnes, an old woman who had, in days long past, served as Gym Leader of a region since erased from the map after a tragic nuclear “freak accident”.

Ark could scarcely believe his eyes when he first ran into the old lady in town. She was famous worldwide as a master Fire-Type Trainer, and notable in that she held her position as Gym Leader for about as long as Galar’s Opal. It was only the destruction of her Gym that forced the elder into retirement, although even now her passion for battle still burned. It had been surprisingly easier to get an unofficial match out of her.

“You’re quite talented for your age, young Ark! It’s been a while since I enjoyed a battle like this.”

The woman’s Emboar roared in agreement, beating its chest. Ark grinned and wiped the sweat from his forehead – even all the way across the makeshift arena in the town square, the heat radiating from Agnes’s Pokemon was intense.

“And you’re every bit as good as I thought you’d be! But we’re not giving up yet! Rookidee, let’s get to it!”

Down to his last Pokemon, after Emboar had successfully defeated both Bagon and Larvitar, Ark had no choice but to call out his bird companion. Grotle and Snorlax wouldn’t help much against the enemy’s Types, and he preferred to keep Infernape as his “secret weapon” for the big leagues. Whenever that happened.

“Rookidee, use Taunt and stay on the move!”

The plan was clear – using the bird’s superior mobility, Ark would try to wear Emboar out after the beast had already fought two of his other Pokemon. Fatigue would set in eventually, and when that happened, they’d have a clear shot!

Rookidee, ever dutiful, relished the challenge of honorable combat, even against a foe as large as this. Goading Emboar into attacking with a well-placed gentlemanly insult, the bird sped up and flew circles around the enemy, who tried in vain to scorch it with Flamethrowers.

“Emboar, calm down and take aim! You’ll be exhausted if you keep that up! Try to grab it and hold it in place!”

But it was to no avail. Try as it might, Emboar wasn’t fast enough for Rookidee, hands catching nothing but air each time the bird flew by at high speed. Eventually, the boar’s movements became sluggish and its breathing heavy, and Ark knew that was his opening.

“There it is! Rookidee, Drill Peck!!”

Soaring high before crashing down while spinning on its axis, Rookidee took aim and homed in on Emboar like a spiraling missile. But that was also what Agnes had been hoping for.

“You couldn’t run forever! Emboar, Head Smash!”

Ark’s eyes widened – he had completely forgotten Emboar could learn that move. But now that he’d pulled the trigger, it was too late to back out – all he could do was watch as the attacks collided, kicking up a cloud of dust and gravel that forced the onlookers to shield their eyes. When it finally settled, Emboar was on its knees, eyes glazed over, while somehow Rookidee remained airborne!

Before either Ark or Agnes could say anything, the bird took on a powerful blue glow and grew in size, before the light faded to reveal an evolved Corvisquire!

“Rookidee, you… you did it!”

The bird struggled to turn its head and smile… but soon its eyes too glazed over and Corvisquire collapsed to the ground, fainted as well. It was ultimately a draw… but Agnes still had two Pokemon left. It was over.

“My, my. That was just as unexpected as it was exciting! Well done young Ark, well done indeed” said Agnes enthusiastically, walking over to the boy to give him a surprisingly firm handshake, considering her age. “Your partners respect you a great deal .That’s the first step to stardom – you’ll go very far, I’m sure of it! Hopefull I will stay around a little while longer to witness it…”

Ark smiled back, emabarassed by all the praise, but deep inside feeling a fire coming to life. Agnes’s words, more than idle praise, were an invaluable boost to his confidence.

“I… Thank you very much, Lady Agnes. I promise I’ll do you proud, so make sure you keep watching!”

That battle would mark one of the most important events in the early days of Ark’s journey; after the loss to Agnes, spurred on by her words, he would go on to train harder than ever, and reach new and exciting heights. But that’s a story for another day…
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