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004. The Oddly Appearing Audino
The sun rose on Accumula Town. It steadily began to peak its way over the tops of the many layers that built up the town. As it climbed, its glow made its way into a tiny window at the top left of the Pokémon Centre. The rays formed a small square on the wood-like lino floor. This square moved with the sun, until the light finally filled the room more solidly. Bianca opened her green eyes groggily, awoken by the brightness. She rolled onto her side, pulling the thin red blanket up over her shoulder as she was feeling a bit cold. Bianca looked across the brown-coloured room, seeing her two friends sharing the set of bunk beds on the other side. Hilda had taken the top bunk, Hilbert was the bottom. Bianca then rolled onto her back. Her bed wasn’t a bunk bed. Just a single. As usual, Bianca had found herself alone. This happened quite a lot to Bianca. Sure, she had friends, but even being in the same room as them she was always lonely. Even at dinner the previous evening, for all they were all listening to Professor Juniper explain things, Bianca felt like she had nothing to really contribute. And everything she did try to put out was dumb. Again, this was pretty much the norm as far as Bianca’s life was concerned.
All she could hear in her head was her father’s voice, “why can’t you do anything right?”
Followed by her mother adding, “how did I produce a child as stupid as you?”
Bianca’s parents were both extremely wealthy and owned half of Nuvema Town. They even donated a huge sum of money every month into Professor Juniper’s research laboratory. As far as Bianca was concerned, this was the only reason that the Professor was giving her so much special attention - why else would her parent’s let their stupid child go on a journey like this?
“Story of my life,” Bianca whispered to herself and rolled away to face the wall.
The thing was, both Bianca’s parents came from two of the wealthiest families in Unova. At the age of ten, they both went to a private school in Castelia City and stayed there for the next eight years. During that time, her parents met, fell in love and got married. This united the money of both families, making both twice as rich. When her mother fell pregnant, Bianca’s parents decided to relocate to the quiet Nuvema Town and stock all of their money into development, farmland and the research lab. When Bianca reached the age of ten, she too was sent to the private school in Castelia City. Bianca failed the first year and got held back. By the time she was thirteen and had failed three times, her mother brought her home to be home-schooled. Another three years of disappointment and finally Bianca was set loose onto the world. In Bianca’s mind, her parents had simply given up and now she was Professor Juniper’s problem.
Bianca stared at that tan painted wall for what felt like a long time, just thinking about every mistake she had ever made. If there was one thing Bianca was good at it was remembering everything she had ever done wrong. It was a skill (if you could call it that) that her parents had drilled into. Every time Bianca was in error with anything at all, her parents made her commit it all to memory - what she was supposed to do, what she had done, why it was wrong and what the correct course of action was. Bianca kept thinking about all of these things, recounting in her mind all of these times from day one up until now. It had gotten so bad that she had even started doing it to herself, listing everything she could’ve done differently. It had become a bit of an internal obsession for her.
Bianca was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn’t realise that she was crying. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Are you all right?” Hilbert’s timid voice emerged from behind her.
Bianca rolled over sharply, seeing his concerned brown eyes staring at her. He wasn’t blinking at all.
“I’m fine,” Bianca answered shakily and wiped her eyes. “Must’ve been a bad dream…” she lied. “I’m sorry if I woke you up,” Bianca’s voice grew shaky and her eyes began to water again, “it won’t happen again I promise.”
Hilbert did not remove his hand from her shoulder. He did not stop staring at her, his eyes refusing to even blink. “Okay,” he eventually said.
This was the first time that Hilbert had really seen Bianca for who she really was, with the exception of last night. Every time Hilbert had been in company with Bianca, she was always overly-dramatic and, in all honesty, overly annoying. This was a very surreal experience for him… it was like she was finally a regular person. Hilbert very much felt that he was seeing the real Bianca. He knew that she had lied to him about why she was crying. However, there was nothing Hilbert could do about that. They simply weren’t that close and it really wouldn’t be his place to intrude on personal things. He did wish though that he could talk to her about it and help her. Hilbert, accepting that from his perspective that there was nothing he could really do, removed his hand and turned away.
Bianca let out what she thought as an inaudible sigh of relief. She just couldn’t face having a conversation like that with Hilbert, who was practically a stranger to her. As far as Bianca knew, Hilbert had a pretty normal life with good parents. In Bianca’s opinion, it would be unfair of her to dump all of her issues onto him, especially because of how strange they were. Honestly, she couldn’t imagine anyone else having parents as bad as hers.
“What time is it?” Hilda groaned, interrupting both trains of thought. Hilda rolled over onto her side and propped her head up against the wall, her eyes fixed on Bianca.
“About eight,” Hilbert responded automatically.
“Breakfast?” Bianca chirped as she noticed Hilda watching her. Immediately, the annoying and bouncy nature was switched on and Bianca made her way to the bathroom to get dressed.
“I heard that,” Hilda smirked and jumped off of the top bunk, landing with a thud. By the time she looked up, Bianca had left the room. “What was that about?” Hilda asked Hilbert lowly.
“Nothing,” Hilbert didn’t turn to face her at all. “She just had a bad dream,” he lied.
A short while later…
Hilbert turned to his two friends as they sat at the table in the waiting area. He was sitting opposite Hilda, while Bianca sat at the other side. They had just finished breakfast and nurse Joy had not beed long in taking away their plates. Bianca hadn’t really eaten much of hers.
The Pokémon Centre was fairly empty. The other tables were all empty, the library was closed for a private seminar on “Knitting with Sewaddle”. Because of this, the mart was dead too.
“There is nothing to do here!” Hilda shouted. “I am so bored!”
Bianca jumped in fright and turned to face Hilda, a look of almost anger in her eyes. However, she calmed herself down quickly and simply smiled before turning away again. They were sitting at the same window seat they had been sitting at the previous night. Bianca looked out of the window at the white streets of Accumula Town. She rested her head on one hand and sighed. Even the town seemed empty.
“You kids all right?” A Nurse Joy asked as she walked passed their table, her pink-ringed hair bouncing with her cheery steps.
“Yeah,” Hilbert smiled weakly.
“No!” Hilda said loudly. “We are so bored!”
This made the Nurse stop and approach them. “Well why don’t you kids check out the Battle Club?” Nurse Joy suggested.
“Battle Club?” Hilda suddenly perked up. “What and where is that?”
“The Battle Club is run by a man named Don George,” Joy explained. “It’s a place for trainer’s to battle one another and hone their skills.” She then pulled out a pad and pen from her apron pocket and began scribbling done something. Joy then tore off the piece of paper and handed it to Hilda, “these are directions to the Battle Club.” And with that Nurse Joy departed.
Hilda read the directions carefully… across this way, down those stairs, round that corner…
“Well,” Hilda stood up, her heart pumping with excitement, “I guess we’re going to the Battle Club!”
Later, over at the Battle Club…
It was a big blue round building, with a huge glass dome on top. The double doors were like half ovals and were tinted blue just like the Pokémon Centre. The official Unova League symbol was etched into the glass of the dome right at the front. A series of eight flags lined the path up to the Battle Club on either side. Each flag at a slim metallic symbol on it. Hilda, Hilbert and Bianca walked along the path in awe, looking at all of the symbols.
Approaching the door, Hilda immediately noticed a number of people milling around.
“You guys go on ahead,” Hilda motioned forward with her hand and made her way to one of the people hanging near the door.
Hilbert, seemingly knowing what Hilda was up to, led Bianca inside without question.
“Hey,” Hilda smiled politely to a young man wearing tight red jeans. “Can I scrounge a fag off you?” Even though she appeared calm, the guy could sense that she was a little desperate - her eyes kept darting around and her hands were patting against her thighs.
With a rather hefty sigh, the man reached down with a gloved hand and into the pocket of his loose black waistcoat. Even though his long ginger hair was tied back by a blue bandana, it still managed to fall around him He pulled out his packet of cigarettes and handed one to Hilda.
“Guessing you wanna light too, huh?” The guy huffed.
Hilda let out a big cheesy grin. “Please,” her response was almost sarcastic. “You here for some battles too?” Hilda asked, making conversation as she waited for him to light the cigarette.
“Obviously,” the young man shuffled on his feet, his black trainers scuffing the blue wall of the Battle Club. “You?” He suddenly looked at her with his piercing red eyes, smoke flowing from his nostrils.
Hilda did not flinch - she was used to creeps like this whenever she asked to borrow a cigarette.
“Yeah,” Hilda said proudly, placing one hand on her hip and taking a long, impressive puff. “My name is Hilda and I am going to be a Pokémon Master!” She blew out smoke cautiously, almost in the guy’s face and peered at him with one eye.
The man took one final long draw of his cigarette and dropped the end on the ground, “I see…” he said as he squished it into the concrete. “My name is Matthew,” he looked back up. “What kind of Pokémon do you have?”
“Snivy,” Hilda remained proud in both her pose and tone. “You?”
“Just Snivy?” Matthew smirked. “New trainer?”
“Yeah… what of it?” Hilda snapped.
“Nothing, nothing,” he raised his hands defensively. “I’m new too,” Matthew blushed. “I only have Sewaddle and an Audino.”
“Oh…” Hilda calmed down at this, feeling slightly embarrassed. “That’s cool.” She took in a few more hurried puffs and dropped the end of the cigarette. “Well, it was nice to meet you Matthew,” Hilda smiled politely and turned to the door. “See you around, I guess,” she waved weakly as she made her way to the door.
“Sure,” Matthew grinned back and pulled out another cigarette, holding it up for Hilda to see. “You owe me one!” He called out to her.
Hilda chuckled and waved again, before turning fully to face the building. As Hilda neared the door, they opened automatically with a whoosh.
The first area of the Battle Club was fairly small. It had blue-tiled floors and the two side walls were covered with big fabric hangings of legendary Pokémon trainers. At the far wall at the back was a long countered, behind which lay many doors. On one side of the door was a small healing machine, while on the other side sat some of the computer-phones Hilda had seen in the Pokémon Centre library. Milling around near the reception desk were Hilbert and Bianca.
“This. Is. Awesome!” Hilda was practically bouncing up and down, her messy hair vibrating with excitement as she approached her friends.
“Good?” Hilbert asked, Hilda grinning in response.
“How can I help you kids today?” The receptionist greeted them all with a smile.
“We’d like to each battle three trainers each!” Hilda very nearly shouted. “Now!” She was getting a bit over-excited now.
“If it’s all right,” Hilbert began quietly, “if we can all go in together so we can watch each other’s battles?”
“Of course,” the receptionist smiled. “May I have your names please?”
“I’m Hilda,” Hilda answered fast. “He’s Hilbert and that’s Bianca.” She began to hop a little on the spot. “Can we move this along please?” Hilda turned to face her friends. “I am dying for some action!”
The receptionist continued to smile politely, even though Hilbert could tell that Hilda was getting on her nerves. She typed fast on her sleek silver computer.
“And how many Pokémon will each of you be using?” The receptionist asked.
Hilda turned back to her and leaned in close to read her name badge. “We’ll be using one each…” Hilda squinted to make out the name, “Linda.”
Linda smiled rather rudely and turned back to her computer. Behind her was a machine that began to beep and buzz, hum and whir. Three cards were that plopped out. Linda turned to the machine, picked up the three cards and handed them to the trainers.
“These are your passes,” Linda explained and opened up a panel to the left of the desk. “Please enter through the door behind me.”
Reading their passes as the went, the three trainers shuffled their way through the narrow space in the desk. Making their way passed Linda, Hilbert hurriedly called “thank you”, before joining Hilda and Bianca as they made their way through the door.
The door led to a large open room, with blue-panelled walls on either side. At the centre of each wall was a large rectangular window that seemed to lead in to some kind of spectator area where other trainer’s could watch the battles. Lining both of these walls as well were series of benches. Right in the middle of the room was a large dirt battlefield, around the size of a football pitch. At the very end of the room, opposite the side that the three new trainers had come in from, was another door. Given that the Battle Club was a circular building, Hilbert figured that there was another series of reception desks and doors on the other side for other challenger’s to enter through.
Through this door entered a little girl, only about eleven or so. She had long blonde hair tied up neatly into pigtails, just stopping short of her shoulders. She wore a yellow sunflower vest and blue shorts. The girl stood with her hands on her hips and one end of the battlefield.
“Hey! You!” She pointed at Hilda. “Big girl! I wanna battle you!” The girl yelled across the room.
Hilda was a little dumb-struck at first, but nodded. Her first battle - she really didn’t care if it was against a little kid or not.
“Alright!” Hilda practically jumped to her end of the field.
Bianca and Hilbert took a seat on the benches nearest Hilda, placing all three of their bags at the end.
“My name is Marissa!” The girl pulled out a Pokéball and swung it violently into the air. “And this is my Pokémon!”
The red-and-white ball burst open and shot out a stream of blue crystal-like energy. The energy bounced off the ground. While in mid-air, four stubby legs plopped out along with a short tail. A big shaggy head shook its way out of the tiny main body, the energy crystals dropping off to reveal innocent brown eyes. As the emerging Pokémon landed it began to roll, causing the rest of the energy to fade away. The Pokémon came to a stop, sitting with a confused looked on its furry cream-coloured face.
As it titled its head to the side, it’s large tan ears flopping to one side, it asked, “lilli?”
Hilda pulled out her Pokédex and aimed the camera lens at the Pokémon in front of her. With a click and whir, the second screen slid out of the top and a voice emanated:
“Lillipup, the puppy Pokémon.” The mechanical voice with a feminine twang described. “The long hair around its face provides an amazing radar that lets it sense subtle changes in its surroundings.” With that, the Pokédex let out another clang and a buzz, the top screen slid back inside and the machine shut down.
“Okay!” Hilda put away her Pokédex and pulled out her Pokéball. “Snivy! Time to strut your stuff!”
Hilda threw out her Pokéball onto the field. It bounced, opened mid air and flew back to its trainer. The energy from the Pokéball slithered along the ground, taking on the form of a small snake with a large leafy tail. Slender legs and arms appeared and, as the Pokémon stood upright, her large head and snout formed. Snivy’s red eyes opened sharply and she struck a dramatic catwalk pose just as the crystal energy shattered around her.
“Vee!” Snivy called out.
“We’re really strong!” Mirassa’s voice was shrill and highly annoying. “You can go first!”
“Fine by me…” Hilda shrugged. “Snivy, show off your Tackle!”
Without any hesitation, Snivy launched herself using her slim legs and tail leaf. Snivy had propelled herself hard with the force of the push, leaving a trail of dust behind her as she slammed into the little dog’s body. Lillipup was knocked backwards, landing just near the end of the room.
“Lillipup!” Marissa moaned.
With great effort, the Lillipup got to its feet, growling at Snivy. It half ran and half limped its way back onto the field. Panting heavily, it glared at both Snivy and her trainer. Snivy paid no attention, turning away with her nose in the air.
“Use Leer!” Lillipup’s trainer shouted.
The tan-coloured dog hobbled over to Snivy and got right up in her face. It lowered its brow, focusing its eyes deeply into Snivy’s. Without a word of warning, Snivy shot out one of her vines and smacked Lillipup across its shaggy face.
“What? Snivy!” Hilda scolded.
Snivy did not listen, now using both of her vines and slap the dog repeatedly across its whole body.
“Well…” Hilda shrugged. “Use Vine Whip I guess…”
Snivy lifted the puppy into the air with one vine, tossing it high up. Snivy then pulled out her other vine from underneath her yellow collar, swinging it strong and slamming it into Lillipup. The force of the blow sent Lillipup flying! It landed just in front of Marissa, knocked out cold.
“Lillipup is unable to battle!” A voice suddenly boomed. “Snivy wins and the victory goes to Hilda!”
Looking around, Hilda noticed four large speakers in each corner of the room. Turning her attention to the glass, looking through into the other room she could see a largely built muscle man with a moustache. He was holding a microphone while flexing his big arm.
“Oh no!” Marissa wailed and ran to her Pokémon. “You battle valiantly!” She sobbed and recalled it back into it’s Pokéball. Disappointed, Marissa stood up and made her way to the door. Before leaving, she turned back briefly to stick out her tongue and shout: “meanie!” Then she was gone.
“Wow,” Hilda wheezed. “That was sure something!” Smiling, she scooped Snivy up into her arms and ran her hand across her sleek body. “Good job, girl!” Snivy pulled out on of her vines and gave Hilda a high-five. “Awesome!” Hilda beamed and pulled out the Pokéball, “return, now!” A beam of red light shot out of the Pokéball and pulled Snivy back inside.
“Oh my!” Bianca grinned and clapped her hands together. “Wonderful!”
“That was great!” Hilbert cheered as Hilda made her way over to the bench.
Hilda took off her cap, running a hand through her messy brown hair, “it was nothing!” Turning to Hilbert, she then said, “you’re next - I wanna see you go now.” She pulled Hilbert up off the bench and pushed him towards the field before claiming his seat.
Hilbert walked rather slowly towards his side of the field. He stood with his hands a little sweaty, his shoulders tense and waited nervously for his opponent to walk through that door. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the door whooshed open. Into the room stepped a young man wearing tight red jeans and a loose black waistcoat, which was open and showed off a Pokéball t-shirt. His hair was long and ginger, tied back tight with a blue bandana. As he stepped up the field, he caught Hilbert’s eye. Hilbert took a step back, his hands shaking, as he looked into the man’s red eyes - his iris’ were slits, like a cat!
“Matthew!” Hilda called out a waved. “That’s the guy who lent me a cigarette outside,” she explained to Bianca.
Matthew waved back, but immediately turned his focus on Hilbert. Matthew stood very still, just staring at Hilbert. This wasn’t helping Hilbert as he was already nervous enough about this battle.
“H-h-hi,” Hilbert closed his eyes shut tight and stammered out an introduction. “My-my-my name is H-H-Hilbert.”
“Matthew,” his opponent said calmly, a sly smile spreading across his face. “You ready?” He asked as he pulled out his Pokéball.
Hilbert opened his eyes and looked at the trainer standing opposite him. Matthew was leaning slightly forward from the waist down, but back from the waist up. He tossed the ball up and down in his hands for a while, a cocky grin on his face and the devil in his eyes. Hilbert turned and shakily reached into his backpack and pulled out Tepig’s Pokéball.
Matthew, noticing this, called out, “relax!”
Hilbert looked back again at Matthew and saw the same naughty smile. For a moment, a wave of comfort washed over Hilbert and he felt okay. But, just for a moment.
“Allow me,” Matthew smirked.
He stretched out one of his legs and pushed himself up, pulling his other leg up so his knee was pointing out. With the momentum he spun in the air for a few moments. Hilbert watched as if it was all happening in slow motion. As he spun, Matthew caught a glimpse of Hilbert’s gawping expression and gave him a wink, before tossing his Pokéball out before him.
The ball spun in air, doubling back on itself before opening out onto the field below. The crystal energy spiralled out and, from the ground up, took on the shape of two dumpy legs and a rotund body. From this, out stretched two short arms, a fluffy tail and a head with big ears and stethoscope-like attachments. As the crystal energy began to fall away, colour flooded the body. The Pokémon took a half step forward and stretched its arms out behind itself, letting out a dramatic wail as it did. Cream fur lined its body, with a purple patches forming a kind-of coat which came up over its head. Now fully formed, the Pokémon leapt into the air and performed a back-flip, which caused the rest of the crystal energy to shatter. As it whirled through the air, a series of seven stars shimmered across its body.
Matthew’s Pokémon landed and posed, calling out its name: “Audino!” The Audino then bowed as its trainer applauded.
Hilda and Bianca were watching in absolute awe. Hilbert stood in stunned silence, his sweaty hand clutching Tepig’s Pokéball tightly. Matthew was obviously extremely talented to pull off an entrance as powerful as that. Hilbert knew that there was no way that he could match up to that considering that he had zero proper experience.
“Come on now,” Matthew coaxed. “Show me your Pokémon!” He winked at Hilbert again.
Feeling the same sense of comfort again, Hilbert nodded. He kept the Pokéball in his hand and opened it, allowing the energy to come out on its own. The white and blue energy crept out slowly and formed a ball on the field. Out of the ball sprouted for stumpy legs and a springy tail with a ball on the end. The Pokémon began to shake off the crystals as his head began to take shape, showing off his floppy ears and long snout. Tepig’s brown and orange body shivered as it took full shape and he sneezed, blowing some embers from its nostrils.
“Tepig!” Hilbert’s Pokémon cried out and looked around the field cautiously.
“Cute,” Matthew grinned and cocked his head. “A Pokémon as cute as you should definitely get the honour of being first,” Matthew said as he looked from Tepig to Hilbert.
“Oh…” Hilbert hesitated, “okay…” He looked around, trying to think of Tepig’s moves and then asked, “um, Tackle?”
Tepig nodded in approval and charged at Audino with all of its might. However, Tepig was not moving very quickly at all.
“I don’t even have to tell you what to do girl,” Matthew said smugly.
At once, Audino dashed to the side to avoid the attack. Tepig stopped as sharply as it could and looked around to see where Audino had gone.
“Now, for some follow-up!” Matthew snapped his fingers. “Dazzle us with your Double Slap!”
The hearing Pokémon moved very fast, kicking off the ground to gain speed and momentum the same Snivy had done. Within seconds, she was right up close to Tepig and slapping him repeatedly with her tiny hands.
“Oh no,” Hilbert groaned to himself. “Um, Tepig, use, um… no, wait, try… no, um,” Hilbert couldn’t think, it was all going to quickly for him.
Hilbert had only been a trainer for a day. Even though they both started out at the same time, Hilda was more experienced. She had actually taken time to do some reading on Pokémon training and had watched battles ever since they learned that they were to be leaving on this journey. Hilbert hadn’t. He had just continued on with his life right up until yesterday. This lack of commitment was no failing him.
“Relax!” Matthew suddenly shouted, snapping Hilbert out of his thoughts. “Take it easy, calm down,” he smiled at Hilbert, “let’s just have some fun.” Matthew winked again.
Hilbert stood, once again, staring at his opponent. Hilbert couldn’t help but feel relaxed, something he simply couldn’t understood. Matthew began dancing on the spot to some unheard beat and was joined by his Audino.
“Come on!” Matthew grinned. “It’s just a fun battle, don’t take it so seriously.”
Hilbert noticed his Tepig watching him. Tepig nodded, telling Hilbert that he agreed with Matthew. Hilbert finally began to feel more properly calm and smiled.
“Okay,” Hilbert was filled with a new-found confidence. “Let’s go Tepig, try on your Ember!”
With a shiver of excitement, Tepig began to wiggle from his tail all the way through to his body. All the while, the fire pig Pokémon waddled backwards. Sharply, he pulled his head back and a burst of searing flames shot out from his snout and blasted towards Audino. It was a surprisingly fast attack coming from the timid Tepig and Audino failed to dodge it.
“Oh, I see!” Matthew was a little stunned, but still smiling. “Looks like someone knows how to party after all!” He snapped his fingers yet again as the fire dispelled. “Audino, grace us with your Growl!”
Audino grabbed onto her stethoscope extensions, shielding them with her palms, and let out a low rumbling growl. The noise reverberated through the air directly to Tepig, causing him to crouch down and try to block out the noise. This left Tepig wide open for a direct attack!
“Snap out of it Tepig!” Hilbert called out anxiously.
“Now, for a the finale!” Matthew beamed. “Now, my sweet Audino,” he began to twirl again, “finish off performing Pound!”
Audino grinned menacingly and charged at Tepig. As she neared, Audino hastily twirled around and slammed Tepig with her fluffy tail. Tepig was sent flying.
“Follow-up with a dazzling Double Slap!” Matthew snapped his fingers again.
As Tepig flew through the air, Audino ran after it. Predicting where the little piggy would land, Audino stepped into position. Just as Tepig hit the ground, Audino let loose with a barrage of smacks. It wasn’t long before Tepig was out cold.
“Tepig is unable to battle!” The voice boomed through the speakers. “Audino wins and the victory goes to Matthew!”
Both trainers recalled their Pokémon back to their Pokéballs. Hilbert stared at the Pokéball, feeling like he had failed Tepig. Matthew walked across the field and shook Hilbert’s hand.
“It was a fun battle,” his face had that devilish smile on it again, “let’s do it again some time.” That wink again. Matthew let go of Hilbert’s hand and walked away, back towards the door. As he passed, he waved to Hilda and Bianca, “see you around!” Then he was gone.
Hilbert return to the benches and sat down beside Hilda, still holding the Pokéball.
“Don’t stress about it,” Hilda put her arm around him, “it was great for a first time.”
Hilbert smiled and wiped his eyes. Deciding to move off the subject, he turned to Bianca and said: “guess it’s your turn now.” He gave her an encouraging smile.
“Yeah,” Bianca returned the smile. Even though she was a little bit concerned about Hilbert, she still got to her feet and made her way to the battlefield.
She stood nervously, constantly fidgeting her green beret and brushing down her white skirt. Bianca couldn’t stop thinking about Hilbert’s battle and how he had lost. This would be her first battle too. Then her parents popped into her mind.
“What if I make a stupid decision?” Bianca asked herself, tears forming in her eyes. “Maybe I should just quit…”
Suddenly, the door at the opposite end of the room rushed open. A big built man rushed in, his huge black boots crashing down on the floor as he stormed his way to the field. His huge muscles were clearly visible under his tight black vest and grey camos. He looked across the field at Bianca over his shades and ran a hand across his dark hair.
He let out a menacing laugh and shouted, “ah gotta battle that a kid right dere?” Even his voice was bulging and powerful.
Bianca looked terrified.
“Aw well den!” He rammed his hand into his pocket and pulled out a Pokéballs, slamming it into the ground. “Out with it den!”
The ball exploded open and shot out a huge burst of energy. Bianca was prepared for the worst - the biggest, meanest, most muscled Pokémon there was. She was sure that no matter what the choice, her dear sweet Oshawott was going to get flattened in some manner! Unexpectedly, the energy took on a rather slender shape that stood on floor slim legs. It had a very fine tail that came to a hooked end and a very feminine face - it looked like it was wearing make-up. The Pokémon stretched out its long legs and arched its bag before standing up on two legs, glaring at Bianca with its green eyes.
Hilbert pulled out his Pokédex to see what it was: “Purrloin, the devious Pokémon,” the machine defined. “They steal from people for fun, but their victims can’t help but forgive them. Their deceptively cute act is perfect.”
“Woah,” Hilbert wheezed as he put away the Pokédex. “Didn’t see that coming.”
“Uh-uh,” Hilda shook her head in disbelief.
“Okay…” Bianca shuddered and pulled out her Pokéball. “Let’s go Oshawott!”
Tossing the Pokéball into the air, the opening mechanism triggered and released the white and blue crystal-like energy held within. It flowed down to the ground like water and splashed back on itself, forming a chubby little body with thin flipper like feet and a tail. Arms formed and pushed a round head out from the mass, which was seemingly too big for the body. As the blues and whites energy melted into the colours of the body, a big round nose plopped out of the face and a scalchop appeared on its stomach.
“Oshawott!” He cried out and stood proudly.
“B-both my Pokémon and I are gonna give it our all!” Bianca shut her eyes and cried out, steeling her determination.
“Fine by me girlie!” The army dude bellowed. “Purrloin, Scratch dat ting!”
The purple kitty seemed to vanish and re-appear right beside Oshawott. Without warning, it extended large claws from its paw and swiped at Oshawott’s face. Bianca’s Pokémon fell backwards, rubbing its face from the pain. Recovering, Oshawott stood back up tall and glared at his opponent.
“Oh my!” Bianca howled and pulled her hands up to her cheeks. “Oh dear! Oh dear! Okay!” She was hopping from foot to foot. “Use Water Gun!”
Oshawott pulled a dramatic spin, sucking in lots of air as he did. As his body swung back around to face Purrloin, Oshawott crouched down so that one paw was on the ground. Briskly, Oshawott shot a stream of water into the ground in front of Purrloin, dislodging some of the soil, and carried it up to hit the cat Pokémon. This created an even more powerful it and knocked the Purrloin back away from Oshawott.
“Yous ain’t gonna get away wit dat!” Bianca’s opponent shouted angrily. “Assist!”
The Purrloin did a back flip to gain some space. It cried out and a beam of brown energy shot out from one of the army dude’s Pokéballs and into Purrloin. Digging its claws into the ground, Purrloin opened its move and shot out a blast of mud.
“Dodge it quickly!” Bianca shrieked.
Oshawott tried to jump, but got in the way of the attack instead! This caused the mud to hit Oshawott square in the face, covering his eyes. As he got back up from the attack, Oshawott’s eyes were filled with mud and he couldn’t see!
“Oh no!” Bianca screamed.
“Bwahahahahahahaha!” The guy let out a hearty laugh. “Well dat was a stupid ting to do!”
Bianca’s entire demeanour suddenly changed. She looked down at the ground and began to shuffle on her feet ever so slightly. Bianca looked positively pale and dizzy.
“Stupid?” She repeated.
“Yeah!” The guy smirked. “A stupid move from a stupid trainer!” He began laughing again, this time with his Purrloin joining in.
“Stupid,” she said again, her voice quaking. “Story of my life,” Bianca murmured to herself. Her hands had clenched themselves into fists. “I’m never gonna be good enough, am I?” Then she collapsed onto her knees, burying her face into her hands and sobbing.
Hilda stood up from her seat, but made no move towards Bianca. They weren’t close, it would be rather inappropriate for her to rush over and hold her, Hilda felt. Hilbert refused to care about that anymore and ran over to Bianca. Just as he was placing a hand on her shoulder, Bianca jumped to her feet and ran out of the stadium. Oshawott chased after her.
“Bianca!” Hilda yelled, grabbing their bags. “Wait!” She gave chase along with Hilbert.
They finally caught up with Bianca outside of the Battle Club, back on the flag-lined street. Oshawott leapt up onto her shoulder and began to snuggle into her hair, whispering calmly into her ear. Hilbert placed a hand on her other shoulder.
“Bianca,” Hilbert said softly. “What happened in there?”
“It’s nothing!” Bianca snapped as she began to compose herself. “I’m fine.”
Hilbert withdrew his hand and took a step back. He knew had intruded and he deserved that kind-of response. This was something personal to her and Hilbert just wasn’t that close to her - Bianca was not obligated to tell him anything.
“Hey!” Hilda squared up to her, moving round to face Bianca. “Talk to us,” Hilda pleaded, “we’re your friends, let us help you.” Hilda reached out her hands to take Bianca’s hands.
Bianca slapped Hilda’s hands away, “no!” She shouted, getting more exasperated. “You are not my friend! I barely know either of you - what do you expect me to say to you?” Bianca’s wavering green eyes searched Hilda’s face desperately. “I know what you think of me.” She then turned to Hilbert and added, “both of you.” Bianca then turned her attention away and directing her words to the ground. “You both think I’m stupid and dramatic and annoying and stuff,” she looked back up, “but you don’t know me.” Bianca’s eyes filled with tears, “you don’t know what I’ve been through and you’ve never asked until it got in the way of your fun day.”
Hilda and Hilbert remained silent. They couldn’t even look at her.
“I appreciate you taking an interest in my well fare in this,” Bianca began to speak more calmly, “but you know nothing of any of this, of my life.” She looked at both of them. “You’ve known me since we were little kids at school together and not once did you take in interest in the shit that’s been coming down on me my whole life, so please don‘t act like you care now!” At this, Bianca scooped up her bag and began to walk away from Hilda and Hilbert.
There was nothing they could do. They knew she was right and they just had to let her go for now.
Walking away with tears in her eyes, Bianca whispered to herself, “I’m gonna prove to everyone that I am not stupid.” She looked up to the sun that was now setting. “I am done being a victim. I am not a bad kid.”
Hilda and Hilbert watched on as she disappeared round a corner and back into town. Hilda wrapped an arm around Hilbert’s waist and cuddled into him. Together, they walked back to the Pokémon Centre.
Get ready for Chapter 005 ~ What the Wynaut?!