You ever just die then somehow find out that you ended up reincarnating in some other world that you’ve been familiar with ever since your childhood?
No? Well good because I wouldn’t want you all to know the sheer pain it was to experience and be cognizant through childbirth and the horrible, inevitable child rearing that came with being a helpless baby.
Now…ugh, okay, I’ll just skip all pretense because using prose and referential words that imply what you’re already understanding (or completely missing) is tiresome and seriously killing my deep meditative trance that helps my focus before an oncoming match.
So, lets speedrun through all of this together, alright?
Bit the big one.
Went the way of Ol’ Yeller…or Ol’ Growlithe in terms of the world I mysteriously found myself reborn into. Yep, I was reincarnated into the world of pokémon, it was super obvious when my new mother held me as she and my father were given the general rundown of my health by the doctor, an extremely familiar yet attractive tanned pink-haired nurse, and the egg-shaped creature chiming “Chansey! Chansey! Chansey!”
You couldn’t get any more obvious than that.
After that, I’ve basically lived a standard childhood. Being born to a family in Hoenn was a shock, but not unwelcome. I got to live next to the beach, my family was financially well off, and I got to finally learn how to ride a surf board after years of being envious of those damn “Rocket Power” kids from my old life childhood.
Still, I ate loads of sand from my first days of trying to catch that good wave as my mom had put it.
Dewford Town was just your average island settlement with the weirdest traditions. Since everyone lived so close together, you can basically get to know any and all of the usual happenings in a separate single family unit without even trying. The weirdest tradition of all was the annual “Trending” tournament held down at Town Hall.
If you and your pokémon can triumph over any and all challengers who seek to throw in a “trend” or “catchphrase”, then that trend will officially be adopted by the island as a new word. That was freaking hilarious and awesome! Once I worked hard enough at school and convinced my folks to send a recommendation to the League so that I could receive a starter pokémon from Prof. Birch himself, I immediately got to working towards getting my catchphrase out to the people of Dewford Town.
Sure, I placed my Gym Circuit time on hold for about a month or three, but with Granite Cave literally nearby, I managed to capture and work up a great team to dominate my neighbors and the island locals’ teams. Man was that such a cathartic day, and after billing in my catchphrase it sort of just stuck with me. The locals were all too nice and decided to keep using it to this day.
It had even gotten to the point to where it somehow became my all-around catchphrase once my achievements began to show themselves to the public of Hoenn.
Going on a pokémon journey at 11 years old (I know, what an arbitrary change from the canon 10 years old…) was super enlightening. Not being boggled down by the constraints of the video games pushing in the plot of defeating the region’s bad guys and capturing the doomsday Legendary provided so much freedom. Though since this was now real life that was to be expected. I made some friends along the way, even had to break things off with some really close friends, but my first journey was one I'd never forget.
Though I was immediately taken out of the loop once I realized how early I was in the timeline. There was no Dewford Gym leader, and both Roxanne and Flannery weren’t gym leaders yet. They were fresh newbies like me. Along with a certain Mr. Moneybags that was filled with too much hot air at the time to admit that he lost to some “No-name Islander” and his “overgrown chicken”.
Hehehe, the future scion of the Devon Corporation sure came a long way since back then.
I guess me being there to knock him down a peg sure did wonders for his budding sense of integrity.
Anyhow, I had managed to collect all 8 gym badges and trained myself and my pokémon to the very limit to reach the Finals of the Hoenn League's Ever Grand Conference. So when it came time to participate in the Conference, my team and I blitzed through all of the opposing trainers with 100% of our effort and at the end, we faced my rival, Steven, in the Finals.
The battle was literally the second hardest one that I’ve ever been in since I’ve begun my career as a pokemon trainer. And to top it all off, it was the first ever time I had tied with someone before. Sure, I’ve lost, but tying against an equal in the final match of the League Finals was a huge deal. Everyone was just as surprised as we were since with no clear victor, things didn’t have any finality.
Until my rival and I decided to give everyone the clarity they needed by agreeing to the tie and sharing the victory together. And so, Steven and I became the first pair of Ever Grande Conference contenders to tie and consequentially win the tournament in Hoenn history.
Though neither of us deigned to take on the Elite Four Challenge to tackle the League Champion, Drake. Not with such a big score to settle between us having been left unfinished.
And so, we both went our different ways with me saying goodbye to old friends and unexpectedly welcoming some new odd ones along the way. It was awkward at first, but they were more than a delight to have as company when I had found myself deprived of the much needed human contact when studiously training in the wilds.
Yep after making it as far as I did in the tournament, I could have just gone on to solely training in Hoenn and eventually settle down to build up a Gym back at Dewford City. I’d gain a lot of money from my run on the Circuit, and my new close companion was willing to chip in to support the idea. Heck, after my spectacular showing at the Conference, the League would be hard-pressed to search for a reason not to allow me into the ranks as one of the region's vaunted Gym Leaders.
I didn’t want to be some surfer dude who owned a quiet gym in my hometown. I actually wanted to expand my horizons and see what the world had to offer. So, I chose to challenge the other Battle Circuits of the other regions. Freaking shame that only Kanto and Johto were open to us, but I took what I could get and made SO many mountains out Diglett hills. And so, I just obtained their badges after five years of battling, training, cave spelunking, studying under various masters, and learning the lore of each land. I never did actually participate in their Leagues though. Since I still had a score to settle with the newly minted CEO of Devon Corp, Steven Stone.
Once I returned home, I basically doubled down on my training and prepared for the day of my rematch. I hated to be so callous against my opponents when the next Ever Grande Conference came rolling around again, but they were nothing more but warm-up matches to the Grand Finale that I had been preparing for those past five years.
And when it came for my rematch against my rival, Steven, I then experienced the hardest battle of my life with myself barely gaining a victory over the talented Scion. Both my Starter and his Metagross held the stage, and either one could have taken the match for their own based on their dual opposing typings countering each other.
Yet despite all of that…
We had still done it.
Then came the Elite Four challenges…
And finally, the epic Title Defense Match against Drake, the Dragon Master of Hoenn.
And…well, I guess after all of that, I can safely say that I accomplished what I sought out to do. Didn’t really have anything bogging me down. Certainly didn’t choose to take the canon route that my cool but underwhelming canon counterpart took in regards to living a simple surfer's lifestyle.
...Oh, yeah, you might pieced it together some time ago, but allow me to introduce myself.
Yo, the name’s Brawly Slater (18) from Devon Town, and after besting Hoenn's Finest a year ago, I’m now officially the Hoenn League’s one and only Champion!
My personal locker room shook itself as the rhythmic and coordinated stomping of the crowd outside filled the air along with the excited tension of the upcoming match that would soon play out in a matter of minutes. The various chanting of my name “BRAWLY! BRAWLY! BRAWLY! BRAWLY!” would always get me pumped up to just burst into the stadium of Ever Grande City and give them the best time of their night.
But no, I had a ritual.
One I could never ignore.
The grunting of my pokémon doing their last minute stretching, exercises, and spars filled the background. The meaty sounds of fists and paws rang out throughout the locker room as Ryu and Shisui, my Lucario and Gallade respectively, engaged each other in one last spar. Neither one fully going at it, simply moving through the motions.
Like every spar they’ve ever been in coalesced into but a vicious dance of well-practiced and earned muscle memory.
Aerosmith quickly dove through the various sized rings hung up from the ceiling, the Swellow was always well-practiced with handling his large wing span, doubly so at the high speeds that he was going at.
While Optimus, my trusted Aggron and first pokémon ever caught was tanking the harsh palm strikes from my stout Hariyama, Honda.
But no, none of them were included in this pre-match ritual.
I studiously towered over my quiet companion, who sat before me.
My blue eyes seriously met her blank, violet ones.
If you were a complete stranger to her, then you would have missed the clear amusement in those delicate pupils of hers.
Going down to one knee, I grunted. “You know what I want.”
“…” She blinked.
“No, you know what I need…” I coughed.
“…” She tilted her head.
“Please, I don’t think I’ll get through this exhibition match without it. So please…give it to me.”
“Give it to me! I can take it! C’mon, do it! Fucking do it! I can take anything you throw at me!”
“…” She shrugged her shoulders and with the air of top tier kuudere, raised both her hands to do the peace sign, and winked at me. “Umu…”
I took in a deep breath, framed my hands around the glorious sight of my…”companion’s” face, and grinned.
“Moe…” And like that I now had the energy to face that Icy Cougar herself, Glacia.
“Are… …you recharged, Brawly?” I leaned in from my place on my knee to the bury my face into her midriff. My arms shamelessly wrapping around her sides.
“More than recharged… As always, you’re the absolute best, Courtney.”
“…Hm…” She awkwardly wrapped her arms around me and kissed the top of my head. Well, she kissed my goggles, but the thought still counted. Dealing with the girl’s awkward tendencies have been a consistent staple in my life since the mid-way point to my first journey.
I unknowingly caught her interest after I flattened her team around the time that I got my third gym badge. Since then I had to deal with a stalker that followed my every move throughout the Hoenn Battle Circuit until I confronted her and just invited her to travel with me.
Since then she’s been with me the whole way until my crowning as the Hoenn League’s champion. My folks were insufferable when I brought her home with me, doubly so when she wouldn’t deny my mom’s probing questions...
…Still I wouldn’t change my decision for taking her along with me to see the world for anything...
Not even for the fact that she was apart of an ecoterrorist cell in some other dimension or form of canon from my somewhat unreliable meta-knowledge.
“Blaziken…” Too bad the moment couldn’t last though as the knowing grunt from my partner stirred me from further hugging my beloved companion any tighter.
With my game face slowly being put on, I looked up to give Courtney one last tender smile. “Looks like it’s time for me to go… Wish me luck.”
“…Luck…” She might have missed my forehead and gave my upper eyelid a peck, but I’ll take it!
Giving her one last hug, I mentally recalled Bruno and Chuck’s teachings and channeled the aura from deep within my core and began to let it course through my whole body. The sheer and utter passion for battle welled up inside of me, it burned as hot as the flames of Moltres. Which was only solidified with the utter “Strength” of will that was needed to direct it through a proper outlet: Combat.
I was ready.
I whistled and in an instant, all of my pokémon were standing at the ready in front of me. I gave them a glance over, and when I saw that each of them were mentally and physically prepared. We shared a singular nod as one before I returned them all into their pokéballs. All of them save for the one who’s been patiently waiting, arms crossed and standing tall near the door.
It never amazes me how much that little uppity Torchic that would always squawk, pick a fight, then run away from the ocean tides of my hometown would grow to be the imposing ace of my team, Blaziken.
Walking up to him, I nodded. “You ready, Ken?”
“Blaze…” Then I guess there’s nothing else that needs to be said.
Opening the locker room door, the flood of the crowd’s cheers and vibrant energy swept past us as we coolly thought about nothing more than the battle that lied ahead of us. Though one thing did slip past and manage to capture my focus.
“…Win…” Courtney’s quiet voice echoed far louder than the thousands of people in the stadium.
And once again, I dropped my game face for her and only her. “Count on it.” I grinned then grinned even wider when Ken gave her a big thumbs up. And like that we were off, I gathered aura to my legs and the soles of my feet and in a blink of an eye, I was gone from the locker room.
After burning the image of my close partner into my mind, Ken and I took off. The stadium hallways became a blur to me as I moved with speeds that most would refer as superhuman. A few league officials meant to direct me to the field were passed over with me having to occasionally apologize whenever the force of my speed knocked them down. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I knew exactly where I needed to be.
When the overwhelming stadium lights began to hit us from the opening mouth leading to battlefield itself, I shared a grin with Ken and we both launched ourselves upwards into the air. Enjoying the crisp, cold night air beating against our bodies, we deftly landed on our side of the upraised podium of the battlefield facing our chilly opponent.
The crowd went crazy.
I chuckled to myself.
Well, who wouldn't after seeing a man jump from the entrance to the steep 30 foot tall trainer’s podium?
“A-AND MAKING HIS GRAND ABRUPT ENTRANCEE, YOU ALL KNOW HIM AS OUR REGION’s ONE AND ONLY CHAMPION, BRAWLY SLATER!”
The crowd went even more insane after the rather delayed announcement from the announcer. I’ll just apologize later for not better coordinating with them when they must have worked so hard to give me a proper introduction.
But until then…
I took a deep breath gathering all of the strength within me to overpower the sheer noise of the stadium filled crowd with my one voice. “HOENN, ARE YOU ALIVE!?” I spread my arms out as the cheers only heightened. I powered through the irritating glare of so many cameras being flashed from the crowds and around the battlefield.
“GOOD!” I punched my fist into the air with as much strength as I could muster as my Starter shared in my high energy and took a deep breath as I spoke the very catchphrase, I proudly proclaimed back at my little island hometown. “THEN PREPARE TO BEAR WITNESS AS WE SHOW YOU ALL THE OVERWHELMING AWESOME STRENGTH…OF OUR DRIP!”
“BLAZIKEN!” And as Ken released one of his signature flamethrowers that filled the night sky in the intense crimson glow, the start of this year’s Ever Grande Conference kicked off with a bang!
See you there?