I tapped the board behind me and the kids all dutifully wrote down what I had projected onto it.
“As you can see, you need to account for your budget for things such as medicine in the field, food, tents, and more when you leave Pewter. For now, I know you have the tents that I gave you, but those need to be assembled correctly. I have a trainer available to lead an expedition for any that might have gotten rusty on setting up camp.”
Dennis, who was standing to the side, straightened a little and nodded seriously to the kids. I gestured at him. “This is Dennis and for the next two days if you have any desire he can lead an expedition around Pewter and give you a little more of a safety net. He’ll also practise with you, both here, and when you’re out and about.”
The kids looked a little relieved to hear this and I chuckled.
“Yeah I know a lot of this was covered for you last year in school, but the refreshers help. Especially now that you have pokemon to help you. Now with the busy work and announcements out of the way, let’s talk about local pokemon and pokemon team compositions.”
The kids sat, if possible, more upright, their pens poised.
“Alright, so the foundation of your team is always going to centre around the pokemon that you got as your starter. It, along with you, are the beating heart of the team. You should expect it to be your most powerful, or versatile, as it is the pokemon that will have the most experience. If this is not the case I will be shocked.”
“Now at Pewter, we start with a pokemon that don’t have any large risks such as if you started with a fire or electric type pokemon.” I gestured around at the rattata, pidgey, geodude, nidoran—both male and female— and finally an aron that was happily nudging Humphrey in the leg for attention.
“Aron, come on buddy,” Humphrey whispered as he rubbed along Aron’s head.
I hummed. Everyone thought that Humphrey would have it better having been given a ‘stronger’ pokemon. The truth was that he’d need to also work harder to draw out that potential. It also would mean that he’d need longer to evolve his pokemon compared to someone like Mia with Silly Mouse. She could have her Raticate within a few weeks if she wanted to, and be ready to work on perfecting a style of fighting with him by the time the mid-circuit tournament came around. This would see her hopefully gaining momentum while others were playing the longer game.
“Now, if you are looking to create a team that will make things easier for you as you travel I would highly recommend getting yourself a flying type such as Pidgey or Spearow. Their final evolutions will not only allow flight, but they are also powerful pokemon in their own right with a versatile set of moves. But if you’re looking for a comfort pokemon that will help around the camping area, and in the battling arena, then I think you need to go with the risky pokemon.”
The kids tilted their heads.
I smiled at them. “I’m talking about a Fire type. Now if you think about it, the two easiest pokemon to catch in all of Kanto. Who are they?”
I waved a hand about and Mia shot her hand up. Silly Mouse glanced at her before copying her. I pointed at her. “Oh! OH! Oddish! Weedle! Caterpie! Goldeen! Zubat! And… and uhmmm oh… Pidgey?” she said while biting her lip.
I nodded. “That… was much more thorough than I was asking for, but you’re correct. Ten points to Silly Mouse House,” I said, feeling rather ridiculous myself.
Humphrey raised a tentative hand. “I thought Magikarp was the easiest to capture?”
I pointed at him. “Point to the Aron trainer, you’re correct. However in the context of you having to face such a trainer, then unless they’ve put in an obscene amount of training, the Magikarp is sadly not going to have the strength. Its evolution is what makes it amazing but you need to really dig deep or fulfill a real niche emotional sweet spot depending on that specific Magikarp’s temperament. If someone throws out a Magikarp and you keep your guard up for a trick then you should walk out of that fight with an easy win.”
I then grabbed a black pen and wrote in huge letters.
NEVER TOY WITH IT!
I then underlined it. “If you all only take one thing from this lesson today? It is that you should; Never, Ever, Ever! Spend time smacking around a Magikarp, and lording it over the trainer for their pathetic choice. That is one of the best methods that people using Magikarp have to get an evolution from them and for you to suddenly face a fish that just leapt from a puddle to an ocean in terms of strength.”
I underlined it again and then spent a moment locking eyes with every child in the room.
“I get stories about this every year, and I have to say, the trainers that force this? Well, they had it coming. There is no better irony than having that happen. If you see it happen back up and watch from a safe distance of roughly fifty metres and stick around in case the newly evolved pokemon can’t be controlled by its trainer. If that is the case you might need to help them or get that trainer out of there.”
The kids all swallowed tightly at that. I smiled at them.
“But, I was talking about Fire types. And what do we not want a fire Fire type to face?” I said leadingly.
“Water types!” chorused the group. I nodded, pleased. I gave out booklets to everyone who participated in the tournament, but some people thought they were too good to read the matchup list.
“Good! Now obviously, fire types need to be monitored in places such as forests, grasslands, and caves if they’re using their fires. Pokemon like Ponyta and Charmander will always have a fire on them, so be aware of this. High-emotion states will result in the occasional spray of fire. For all of you, the perfect pokemon to get yourselves if you find them, is a Growlithe or a Vulpix.”
I clicked the projector and began to extol the virtues of the pokemon. Both of them were easy to train and had the potential for strong fire moves with other skills. This made them high value to people that I taught as they came with minimal risk but high growth potential.
One of the girls raised her hands. “If… If I don’t want to go for a gym circuit what should I do?”
I nodded at her. “Good question, and I’m glad you’re thinking about that sort of thing. If you haven’t thought about it, this year is pretty much entirely about considering what you want to do. No one will demand anything of you.”
I raised a finger. “However! This is also a good time to open some doors and experience some new things. I would recommend trying to at least get four badges; that way, you'll have had a good trip around Kanto. Also, this will look good to any prospective employers looking to hire you.”
“Also,” I waved a hand around. “You get to spend it with other people that are in the same boat as you! The bonds you form on your journey with people and pokemon can last a lifetime!”
Humphrey raised his hand. “What if we do want to go for the end-of-year circuit?” This had more of the room perking up.
I chuckled at the greater show of interest before replying, “Well, find a way to train yourself and your pokemon as much as you can. Do it in the wild and against other trainers. You’ll need as much experience as you can because there are going to be people that have had their starters for longer. However! With your minds and dedication, you can overcome this! The circuit lasts nine months and for some people, that’s going to be a whole new lifetime.”
Humphrey coughed sheepishly and ducked into himself. “Oh thanks! But I meant… what pokemon should we catch?”
I shook my head. “That’s not for me to tell you. I will caution against trying to just get a perfect team with a ‘pokemon for every situation and type match up’. That doesn’t work out as well thanks to being able to swap out pokemon or having an initial bad call. Create a team that you can work with and identify your strengths and your weaknesses. When you start getting more than four pokemon I will be in discussion with all of you to help you specifically identify what your team has and lacks.”
The kids shared smiles at that. I heard the boy with the Nidoran outline how he’d get a pikachu first, then a growlithe, before getting an exeggcute before he broke into mumbles on pokemon and moves to create a great team. I coughed to refocus the kids.
“Alright! That is it for the talk today. Remember that we’re going to have another two of these, and then I have you all locked in for a match with me in two weeks.” I grinned evilly as the kids swallowed.
“I’m putting you under the pump here, but if you’re not up for it then just swing by and tell the receptionist. A deadline will just help keep things in perspective.” These kids obviously didn’t know what to make of this, so I just waved them off.
“Remember that Dennis is available for anyone wanting to go on an expedition to brush up on their camping skills. Otherwise, make good use of the battlecourts out in front of the gym.”
Mia tapped one of the girls with a Geodude on the shoulder, and they both got a look as they locked eyes. I chuckled and stuck around to answer some simple questions while avoiding the one boy's request to help him create the perfect team for his journey.
Eventually, I was done with the morning session. I was walking to my office when I was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. Janine smiled at me with a hint of pride shining through.
I blinked at her in surprise. “Oh…”
She stared at me and a small frown marred her aura of smugness. “Oh?”
“I just… well, I had been expecting a message for when you were coming around but this…” This made so much more sense. What had I been expecting? Koga to call and set up the date and time and have a drop-off with his daughter. I really should have known better.
“You're not surprised to see me? You… Your response to this is rather sub-optimal. Where is your flinch response?” she said with a scowl.
I scratched the back of my head. “I think it got conditioned out of me?”
Janine stared harder at me. “Hmmm, I see I have my work cut out for me then,” she said with a sigh.
I grunted noncommittally. “Hnnn, say how long have you been around?”
“Since you have been advocating Growlithe. That is a suboptimal pokemon. They should catch themselves a pokemon like an Oddish. They are easier to care for and some of their spore moves can be used as fire starters.”
I considered her for a moment. “Eh, that’s not something I knew. Maybe I could get you to hold a lecture in future?”
She tilted her head. “But you are supposed to be teaching me?”
“Sometimes you learn best from teaching others,” I said sagely. Then I shrugged. “Anyway, I can’t know everything, some things certainly, but I think your father merely wanted me to show you a different way of doing things.” I looked her over and noted a large carry satchel that was hanging over one shoulder.
“Got everything you’ll need there?”
“Indeed! I am ready to camp out!”
I shook my head and checked my watch. “Hmmm I can’t give you the tour straight away as I have a match against an Ace trainer for some Championship points, so stick around for that. Then let’s do a tour.”
“You’re holding matches already?” Janine said as I walked towards the arena.
“Oh yeah, we start taking all challengers from day two of the circuit starting up. Does Koga not do that?”
Janine shook her head. “There is a week blocked out where Koga spends it on this circuit’s apprentice. He will be doubly sure to train this one better!” She shot me a look as though I had said I would doubt that.
Then I recalled that Celia had in fact knocked out Koga’s sponsored trainer in the group stages to advance. “Ah, well, you just saw my gym’s selections this year.”
“You’re taking six of them?” she said, glancing back. “That seems ambitious.”
“I want to give more to the community. If I had my way it’d be way more than that.” I pointed to a set of stairs that would lead us up the back to the trainer area overlooking the arena. “Right, hang tight up here. If you want a drink, feel free to take something from the fridge. Bathroom is through that door. I’ll have a break after this.”
I stepped to the edge of the trainer area that was sectioned off with a low-rising wall that looked like stone on one side but sported a simple railing that you could pull a chair up to if you wanted to watch the fights going on below.
I toggled a microphone to a private channel. “Alright Missy check if we have the challenger yet?”
“Roger Brock! Challenger Himiko Hess is ready. We’re just getting through a few spectators, and then I’ll ask Rachel to do the introductions.”
“Roger,” I said as I began to toy with the pokeballs on my belt. With this being an Ace trainer match I wasn’t restricted to just pokemon that represented the Gym. I had the option of other pokemon as well.
When the time came, Rachel ran out. Her pink hair acted like a banner to draw people’s attention while a jacket that was way too big trailed after her with the gym’s symbol proudly on display. Instead of stopping to hype up the crowd, she did a half-hop into a flip. She spun once in the air and then landed in a perfect gymnast finishing pose. She grinned as the crowd cheered.
She must have had her microphone set for the gym trainer group, as I heard her whispering to herself under her breath. “Hell yeah, those Trixie sessions paid off! Go me!”
I snorted. “Change to the gym-wide broadcast before you start talking Rachel,” I said helpfully.
Rachel flushed red enough that I could see her from where I was standing before regaining her composure admirably. Her hand dipped to the radio at her side as she did just that. She held her huge smile though as she waved to the crowd.
“Hello! Hello! People of Pewter! Welcome one and all! Today we have a truly spectacular battle awaiting us with the first Ace challenge of the circuit! The contender, a trainer that has been a hot topic for quite a while and is known for their fiery personality! Give it up for Himiko from Kasado City!”
A tall willowy woman swept into the gym and glanced around at the crowd as she sped down the stairs to her podium. Her dark black hair hung over each shoulder and hugged her body before being tied off behind her back in a strange style. Perhaps it was something cultural?
Rachel swept her arm towards me. “AND NOW PEOPLE OF PEWTER! TO FACE THE CHALLENGER FOR AN ACE BATTLE WITH POINTS ON THE LINE! GIVE IT UP FOR YOUR GYM LEADER! BROCK!”
Lights slammed on and from long practise I avoided looking up and blinding myself. I held my pose and let my eyes adjust before marching down the stairs.
Rachel made a sign and from the speakers music that was oh so close to Queen’s famous we will rock you began to belt out.
“PEWTER GYM ARE YOU READY!? WE, WILL, BROCK YOU!”
I almost stumbled at that. I had to bite my lips to not burst out into laughter at the horrible flub as she tried to lead a ‘Brock you!’ chant that really didn’t have the backing it should.
When I neared her I shot her a small shake of the head. She gave me a confused look, but I waved her away. I’d talk with how… cringe I felt that chant was later.
When I reached my own podium I crossed my arms. “Welcome Himiko. As this is an Ace challenge, depending on your placing on the Ace board you will win a different amount of points. I will remind you that I am not restricted to only Rock or rock-themed pokemon.”
“Rock themed?” Himiko muttered under her breath, then she shook her head. “I understand and am prepared!”
“Very well!” I said. I looked to the side and found Rocko already standing ready as the referee. Forrest had tried to argue with me over fulfilling the position, but with it being in the middle of the morning I had instead sent him off to school with his friends. He’d have plenty of time to sit in and watch me fight more experienced trainers than the norm as that was one area that we expected a lot more challengers from for the year.
Rocko went through the usual ritual of checking that we were both ready before dropping his flags. “Begin!”
“Go Medicham!” “Go Zephyr!”
On the field a Medicham and my Noctowl appeared. Himiko blanched at the pokemon and I could hear her cursing the poor first match up.
“Medicham return!” she said as her opening move.
I grinned, “Calm Mind!” Zephyr’s eyes glowed and his head twitched in a rather creepy manner. With Himiko pulling out her first pokemon she had given me a free set-up move which she was already cursing herself for, but to be fair, it might be the best move available to her.
“Go Raichu!” she said, tossing out another pokeball. I whistled as the orange electric mouse appeared and began sparking instantly.
“Rai!” growled the little mouse.
I grinned at it, more than ready for this match up. Just as Shin had his own methods of dealing with Electric pokemon I hadn’t skipped Zephyr’s lead-up to the circuit.
“Attack it with Steel Wing!”
“Raichu use Thunderbolt!” Himiko ordered.
My pokemon swept forward from his low position as Raichu lit him up. The Calm Mind became useful straight away as the attack didn’t do anywhere near as much damage as it should, much to Himiko and the crowd's apparent confusion. Then Raichu suddenly had a faceful of angry owl. The wings swept in and slammed it away before stabbing into the ground and earthing any charge that was still coursing through him.
“Raichu up! While he’s grounded use Quick Attack!”
I watched carefully and let Noctowl remain where he was. Without my order Noctowl stayed still. This hold served to let all of the electricity be ground out as well as giving Himiko an apparent weakness to exploit.
Only it wasn’t a weakness. “Hypnosis,” I said firmly. Noctowl snapped his head to the side and locked onto Raichu.
Instead of charging into the Hypnosis, Himiko swept her arm to the side. “Circle around to take it from the back!” she said.
I chuckled as instead of being caught out, Zephyr’s head twisted around as only an owl could. By the time he reached two hundred and seventy degrees of rotation, the Raichu had notably slowed before collapsing into sleep just shy of a full rotation.
“Tch!” she raised a pokeball and withdrew her pokemon. Her next pokemon was quickly tossed out to reveal a Ninetales that had everyone in the crowd oohhing in appreciation. I chuckled and raised up my own pokeball.
“Return for now Zephyr!” I said as I pulled him out.
A few people in the crowd made noises of surprise only for their neighbours to helpfully remind them that as an Ace challenge, I was not restricted in withdrawing or the tactics I could use.
“Go Sanchez!” I said.
That got the crowd on their feet as the pokemon that had the most toy sales of the gym took to the stage. He waved expansively like the great hammy actor that he was.
Himiko was not willing to play to that script though as she stabbed her hand forward. “Attract!”
I groaned as Ninetales sashayed and flicked her tails in a ‘come hither’ manner. Having just withdrawn a pokemon I had to either endure or pull a move off myself.
“Sanchez show off for her! Rock Polish!” Sanchez obviously thought that was a great idea as he began rubbing at his body quickly to get it to shine.
Himiko sniffed. “Show this suitor he’s not worthy! Fire Blast!” she said. From Ninetales’s maw, an inferno shot forth straight at Sanchez in the shape of a fire symbol.
I punched forward and roared my own command, “Show her your passion by blasting it apart like a stylish man!”
“GO! GO! GOLEM!” said Sanchez as he lit up and blew apart the oncoming attack causing lightning and fire to clash and explode in a firework. Sparks and embers flittered down and I grinned. I’d picked that use for Thunder from watching a contest.
As the firework cleared, I caught Himiko scowling at me. I looked down to Sanchez. “Still like her, Sanchez?” I asked.
Sanchez dropped to one knee. “Go! Go! Lem Lem go!” he said like one would recite poetry.
“Riiiight, alright boy, take a break she’s not that into you,” I said as I returned him before Himiko could push her next move.
“So, Attract?” I said. Himiko grinned at me.
“Most boys like having male pokemon!” She shrugged and gestured with her arm. “I merely make use of that weakness!”
I grinned as I selected my own female pokemon. “Go Bertha!”
Bertha landed and snorted as she locked eyes with the Ninetales. She was clearly unimpressed with what she was seeing.
Himiko growled and glanced at the sideboard where her withdrawals were listed.
At the Ace level to stop it from just becoming who could switch out pokemon to find the best match up there was a limitation on the number of withdrawals that you could use. Moves such as Roar, Baton Pass, and others that enacted changes, were not counted towards this limit but it was rare to see them used. I could tell from Himiko’s expression, she apparently didn’t have a pokemon that knew any and with how I was pressuring her she needed to be wiser with her substitutions.
Also, anyone who’d seen Bertha fight Lance knew that you couldn’t give her time to build up in any way shape or form.
“Tch! Use Psychic!” she said, deciding to try her hand against Bertha with her Ninetales.
“Earthquake!” I said to show her the error of her ways.
Psychic energy built up and slammed into Bertha, but she barely flinched as she stomped and caused the ground to buckle underneath her.
Ninetales was thrown up, and when she hit the ground, she landed awkwardly only to be tossed up again as the shaking continued. When she landed the second time she did so with a limp thud that indicated she was out cold.
“Bertha! Stop!” I ordered not wanting to ragdoll throw a limp pokemon and potentially injure them. Bertha stopped, allowing Himiko to quickly recall her pokemon out of danger.
I swallowed and watched as Himiko checked her pokeball for any warning lights that indicated the pokemon that was within was injured. She relaxed, and a collective sigh of relief was released by everyone in the room. I shot her a chagrined smile.
“Sorry for the scare!” I said.
She merely nodded and selected her next pokeball with a determined glare. “Go Medicham!” And once more the fight was back on.
I grinned. “Stone Edge!”
The crowd roared their approval at the move, having watched it be used to great effect against Lance. Huge slabs of stone shot forward at Medicham.
“Medicham! Use Detect and weave your way through the attacks!”
I grinned, amused at her method of closing the gap. Ah? So you needed to come closer? By all means then. I thought as I watched the pokemon gracefully dance her way through the attacks. When she got close I smiled.
“Earthquake!” I shouted. Bertha once more stomped her foot down.
“High Jump Kick!” Himiko responded quickly enough and her pokemon leapt high with her pokemon soaring with its leg raised in preparation.
“Dig!” I ordered as fast as I could. Bertha pulled a hard twist from her planted foot and threw herself into the ground, causing it to be ripped open as she created a giant hole.
“Medi!” cried the Medicham as it suddenly came down with no pokemon to dampen the blow. It cratered the ground where it landed but grimaced in pain. I exhaled in relief. Whew, I definitely hadn’t wanted to take that hit. Medicham hopped back from where it impacted only to fall to the ground.
Himiko raised a pokeball to use her next withdrawal option, only for Bertha to emerge in all her glory and smash into Medicham from the side. Medicham went flying into a wall and just like that, two of Himiko’s pokemon were down for the fight.
“Urgh!” she said, pulling her pokemon out for good as Rocko signaled the knockout.
The crowd cheered, and Bertha grinned before rolling her shoulders and getting ready for the next match.
“Go Blastoise!” she said as a signature giant blue turtle took to the stage.
I chuckled. She obviously thought she had a good match up here.
“Earthquake,” I said to start things off.
“Surf!” said Himiko. From behind Blastoise a huge wave rose and bore him skyward where he grinned at Bertha as she stood with her foot planted once more. This time she wouldn’t be able to dodge with a well timed Dig as I could see the wave was deep. I just shook my head. They’d obviously forgotten the other move that Bertha had used to great effect.
“Ice Beam the wave,” I said. Bertha blasted a beam of blue energy that froze whatever it touched.
Himiko tossed her head slightly. "Blastoise, don’t worry! You’re resistant to it! Push through!”
I chuckled as Blaistise tried to do just that, only to find himself overextended and toppling from the wave. “Blas!” he shouted. I watched him fall and waited for the next order. There would be a window here… I just needed to have Bertha ready for it.
“Blastoise withdraw into your shell!” Himiko ordered before her pokemon could slam into the ground. He tucked his legs, head and water cannons in and slammed into the ground causing a great wave to blow outwards.
“Move in, Bertha!” I said.
From the dust a large form rose up only for another to charge straight up to it. “Finish it!” I said suddenly, and just as the dust dispersed the crowd were treated to the sight of my pokemon in close range with one arm cocked back just as Blaistosie was fully standing.
The Blastoise spotted Bertha just as she smirked.
Her arm spun up and launched forward to impact into Blastoise. Then he twisted as though a giant hand had grabbed him and started him on a cartwheel only instead of rolling to the side he was blasted backwards while spinning around. He slammed into the wall and was knocked out signaling the third pokemon down for the count.
Himiko stared. “Darkrai… what did I sign myself up for?” she said quietly enough that I doubted the crowd would have heard her. I merely grinned at her.
She must have thought she could come in here and stomp me like others had when they came for their first badge. It always amused me when people had a mental disconnect between my first badge team and my Ace/Elite team. It also surprised me that my showing against Lance hadn’t made her more cautious coming into this match.
“Go Cloyster!” she said for her next pokemon. I nodded. A good pokemon to use in this situation and she obviously had a number of her pokemon ‘ready’ for me. She just wasn’t ready for the actual divide in strength my pokemon had over hers.
I whistled and raised a Pokeball straight away without a hint of shame. “Return Bertha, and let's go Sanchez! Redemption time!”
With the quick return of pokemon, I was still at risk but obviously in a much better position with an electric pokemon on the field against her Cloyster. Sanchez looked around hopefully before making an ‘oh shit!’ face. He knocked himself on the side of the head and laughed before adopting a much more serious pose against his new opponent.
Himiko growled and swept her arm forward to resume the match. I grinned as I set to work dismantling the rest of her team.
When she only had her Raichu left she made a sign to forfeit instead of sending them out. I nodded and Rocko raised the flag in my direction. “Gym Leader Brock is the victor!”
“Brock!” “Pewter city!” Brock you!” cheered the people that made up the crowd. At that last chant, my burgeoning smile became forced. I really hoped to nip that ‘Brock you’ chant in the bud. I mentally made a note to correct it with Rachel and give her a few lyrics from what I could remember.
Coming into a gym match with the crowd chanting ‘we will Brock you’? Yeah no. That was way too much cringe.
I marched across the arena and shook hands with Himiko. “Hey thanks for the match! Good luck this season.”
She sighed and nodded. “Yeah, thanks… I think this will serve as a good wake up for me… Urgh I’m going to lose a few points for this.”
I hummed. “Oh? You were higher on the list than me?”
She shot me a bemused look. “You didn’t check my ranking?”
I shrugged. “I don’t really keep track of it. I get a few Ace Challengers each year, so I know I’m on the board in the… five hundred range?” I said sceptically. “Again, it isn’t what I focus on. I have a gym to run and young trainers to test. The Ace battles are mostly fun for me.”
“Fun for me, he says,” she muttered under her breath. She shook her head. “Well, I was four hundred and fiftieth on the chart… I think with this loss I will be dropping a good number of spots.”
I hummed. “So that will net me… six Ace tournament points?” I said carefully. I wasn’t sure of the exact mechanic. You could win more points for taking part in Battleclub tournaments and from beating trainers higher than you but after about a hundred places difference there was no worth in challenging a trainer as you only got one point for a victory. Most people looking to soar up the ranks had to either pony up a lot of money to make it worth a higher-ranked trainer's time or meet them in a tournament and beat them there.
Fighting and winning against a Gym leader added a small addition to the points you could earn but you only got one shot at it each circuit period. When I first started out I lost a few matches but my wins versus losses ratio was very strong these days. It would be further tested with the upcoming circuit.
“—you’ll get seven points, all things considered,” Himiko said, making me tune back in. I nodded as though I had been paying attention to her and not lost in my thoughts.
“Hmmm, that’s nice. Hey out of curiosity, your Raichu. It knew Iron Tail right?”
Himiko blinked at me. “It did not, as a matter of fact.”
I hummed. “Might be a good move to look into for him for fighting rock and ground type pokemon. I think you need more moves that defy expectations of type match-ups ready.”
She blinked at me. “Oh, thank you?” she said tilting her head.
I chuckled and waved my hand back and forth “Sorry! Force of habit.”
I turned and gestured to the camera that Battlecast had. “I’d keep an eye out for tonight's broadcast. I think we might have been live locally, but there will also be a run down later tonight.”
Himiko perked up before wilting. “Oh… my first Battlecast appearance is a defeat.”
I shrugged at her, “It’s still something.” I led her off the arena floor and returned to the trainer area. Thankfully I didn’t have any other trainers booked in so far. I quickly checked my transceiver for the schedule and relaxed when that was still the case.
I walked back up the stairs to the trainer area. A number of fans approached and spoke to me for a while before I eventually broke off. I tapped Rachel on the shoulder and gestured to the side for a quick chat.
“Hey, so I think in future maybe stick with we will, we will, rock you? Brock you is…” I coughed and shook my head. “A bit on the nose…”
Rachel squirmed. “Sorry! I was working on this to surprise you, but I should have tried it out earlier.”
I chuckled. “Just try a stomp, stomp, clap next time?” I then looked at Himiko, who was talking with a few people from the crowd. “It seemed to have gotten her off balance anyway, so there’s that going for it. But let’s try and get rid of that for now, yeah?” I patted Rachel on the shoulder and moved back to the trainer-only area.
Leaning on the dividing wall Janine watched me with an inscrutable expression.
“So? First match! What do you think?” I said, happy that I got to put on a good show for everyone.
“Your gym…” she eyed the crowd of people milling about with some talking with Rachel who was rubbing the back of her head sheepishly. Everyone had smiles and there was a lot of laughter. I spotted that Himiko had gotten dragged in front of the camera by a reporter and she was being interviewed. “It is very different than the Fuchsia gym.”
“It’s so lively, and… modern. Everything is a big show but the fights are still well done…” She eyed me. “That use of Thunder? How did you know Sanchez would accept the attack order? Usually, besotted pokemon refuse to even potentially harm the target of their affections.”
I smiled. “It’s all about knowing how your pokemon reacts to certain things like that. Sanchez likes showing off, so as long as I make it so that he is doing that for his new ‘love’ then he will follow the order. It’s all about how the order is given.”
I waved a hand toward the back door. “Come on, let's give you that tour.” I led her through the gym and introduced her to Rocko and Dennis. Rocko happily took the rest of the afternoon off and when I found him sprawled out on the couch in the common area, I wasn’t surprised to find him playing on his game console.
Janine gave him a disapproving look that he ignored.
I opened a room halfway down the hall and gestured inside. “So! This room will be yours to treat as you like. It has an attached ensuite for privacy. Sometimes I rent these out for trainers that want to work with us as part of the package or people that are looking to stay the night when the Pokecenter is full.”
A door opened behind me and I turned to find Daniel and his wife staring at me and Janine. Daniel was in fact openly gaping.
Janine offered them a bow. “Hello I am Janine from Fuchsia! I have the honour of attending your gym for the next few months to learn your ways. It is a pleasure to meet you!”
I hummed. She’d been just as formal when meeting Dennis, but she’d been notably more distant with Rocko. So she had meant that as a snub then?
Daniel sketched his own bow. “Ah! I’m uhm, Daniel and this is… my wife! Yes! My wife!”
“Helen!” said the woman as she continued to stare at Janine.
I gave Janine a look over, Helen and Daniel must be weirded out by her ninja attire. “I think we’re going to have to get you a change of wardrobe. The ninja look… might not be so smart for Pewter…”
When she frowned at me I raised my hands. “Or do your own thing. I don't mind. I just think that some of your clothing choices might see you… freezing your toes and fingers off. This isn’t Fuchsia after all.”
She relaxed at that. “Ah, I understand… I will consider changing my attire.”
She stepped into the room and deposited her satchel. “There. I am unpacked.”
“Cool well, I’ll show you the back of the gym where you can let your pokemon roam. That’s where we will do most of our training. I happen to do it in the morning with my pokemon so if you’d like to join me by all means. It’s not a requirement though.”
Janine looked mildly scandalised by this. “Trainers should join the Gym Leader in training!” she said with a firm stomp of her foot.
I shrugged. “We’re more relaxed here.” I began to lead her out.
“Oh Daniel, throw me that report on your tour around Pewter later alright?” I said over my shoulder. When we stepped out into the common area once more Janine stiffened.
“Professor Oak!?” she said in surprise.
Oak spared her a glance only for a clobbering noise to herald his character being hurled off screen. “Tch! Cheap move Rocko!” he said cuttingly.
Rocko merely smiled and patted his Gloom. “All’s fair in video games, Sammy my bro!” he said with a dazed tone.
“Pro… Professor Oak?” Janine said again weakly. This time Oak ignored her as he squinted and furiously began to mash buttons.
I tapped Janine on the shoulder. “Hey, just to get ahead of you. Yes, that is Samuel Oak. He likes to come around to.. Well he tells his granddaughter he’s checking in on the breeding program and his assistant he left here, but he mostly comes to hang out with Rocko, me, or Salvadore to play games.”
Janine rocked back as though I’d just struck her. “Huh?! How does that…” She held a hand to her head. “I think I must request that we pause the tour here for now… I am… I feel unwell.”
“Oh, uhm, sure thing,” I said, leading her back to her room where she promptly sat on the bed. “I’ll come check up on you in a bit yeah?” She nodded, her eyes staring fixedly at the wall.
I then walked back out. Rocko smiled and raised the third controller. I grinned and accepted it. As we were selecting the battlefield I checked my schedule and paused.
“Your Grandson is booked in,” I said aloud.
Samuel grinned. “Wonderful! I’ll hide in the crowd and watch on!”
“Why do that?” I asked, slamming his character off the screen.
He clicked his tongue. “Kids these days don’t want their Gramps hanging around looking lame.” He looked a bit sad by that.
“Maybe he’s just saying that?” I said reasonably. “Cheer for him anyway.” I grinned as Oak considered that for a moment. Rocko and I focussed on each other and left him be until he tried to sneak attack us. I relaxed fully, more than ready to enjoy the next hour or so.
Janine poked her head out and seemed more startled to find me playing along with Rocko and Oak without a care. I barely won the few games I played.
I was honestly more caught up in the thought of having Gary Oak turn up.
He’d be first…
An author practising his stories with fanfic right now. Trying to slug my way through an actual story in my free time...
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WOOO LETS ROCK AND ROLL
“Now, if you are looking to create a team that will make things easier for you as you travel I would highly recommend getting yourself a flying type such as Pidigey or Spearow.
I heard the boy with the Nidoran outline how he’d get a pikachu first, then a growlithe, before getting an >>Exeggcute<< before he broke into mumbles on pokemon and moves to create a great team.
I like that your MC is so great at demonstrating that he is a strong trainer beyond just having strong Pokemon. That sequence with Sanchez obeying through attract was really great!
It also highlights that this is an actual world and not a game. And it gives him the sort of combat deviousness that Gym Leaders are required to have some of. Like Surge lightning people in his Gym to throw them off. Or Sabrina literally mind-reading or scaring them.
Thanks for the chapter