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  1. #76
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I did try to focus more on the recurring characters, and giving them their own plots, and I'm glad to see you liked that part of the story, since Maylene won't be hogging the spotlight as much for the few upcoming chapters.

    By now, I do feel that I've mishandled Candice's change of heart, and I feel that I could have explained it a bit better. Basically, I wanted to convey that she is the type of person who keeps their emotions hidden, and it wasn't until Maylene left that she had no one but Gardenia, who she couldn't stand. In metaphors, Maylene and Roark were the lid to Candice's bottled emotions, and when they both moved away, it blew up in Gardenia's face.

    Regarding Brawly, I wasn't sure how readers would react to that, since I tried to make him out to be a nice, likeable character, and then twist him, but I'm glad you found it realistic.

    Once again, thanks for reading, and it has been a long time. Welcome back!

  2. #77
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default §14: Reunion

    Summer on Cianwood was very unbearable, especially for someone who was used to the cold weather of Sinnoh.

    It had been a few months since both Gardenia and Candice left Cianwood, and Chuck revealed why Brawly was training, and for the longest duration of her life, Maylene felt alone. The only person who was there for her was Chuck, but she found it very difficult to spend significant time with him without feeling guilty about lying to him.

    And then there was Riolu, who became so engulfed in his training that he and Maylene grew apart. The pair had only spent time together when they were battling, and with Maylene barely battling Brawly anymore, she found a new training partner in Nob, a trainer she first battled when she had initially arrived at Cianwood.

    Nob, like most Gym Trainers training under Chuck, wore the uniform that Chuck demanded everyone should wear with pride. It was a common Karategi that represented the Trainer’s ability not only to fight with Pokémon, but on their own as well, and the only Trainers that were allowed to train in the Gym were those with black belts, such as Nob.

    Standing by her side was Riolu, and by Nob’s was his Machop. The pair was stationed against the mountain where she last battled Brawly, only this time, it was Maylene with her back to the mountain.

    ‘I hope you’re ready to lose,’ Nob shouted. ‘It’s time for me to take the lead, and break the tie!’

    ‘You can hope to,’ Maylene responded. ‘But I’ve been training the hardest since our last battle! You can never defeat me now!’

    ‘Machop, let’s show her what we’re truly made of!’ Nob shouted. ‘Use Karate Chop!’

    Machop sped before Maylene even had a chance to think of an attack to counter Machop’s. The side of his hand threw Riolu towards the sandy ground as soon as it connected with him, and he prepared to launch another attack.

    ‘Copycat, Riolu!’ Maylene shouted. ‘You’re faster than Machop!’

    Riolu grinned at Machop, who began another Karate Chop attack, and responded with the same attack. And as Maylene predicted, he was faster, and his attack landed first, causing a succession of quick Karate Chops to follow, leaving Machop in a hopeless state, desperately trying to block the coming attacks.

    ‘Did our last battle teach you nothing, Maylene?’ Nob said. ‘Use Revenge!’

    As soon as Nob gave his order, a cloud of dust rose around the Pokémon with a quiet explosion, and seconds later, Riolu flew out of it towards the mountain, and Machop ran after him. A singly punch managed to break through the rocks that were in his way, but it gave Riolu a chance to respond with his own attack.

    He tackled Machop to the ground before delivering the attack that Machop had just used; Rock Smash. A smaller cloud rose as Riolu pushed his opponent further into the ground, before jumping upwards and avoiding Machop’s attack.

    ‘That’s unfortunate for you, Maylene!’ Nob shouted. ‘Looks like I win this match, Focus Blast!’

    ‘Force Palm, Riolu! Don’t give him a chance to attack!’

    Machop began to prepare his attack, while Riolu descended to the ground, ready to knock Machop down again, but his opponent quickly fired a light ball of energy that smashed against Riolu and consumed him, before dragging him to the ground with a smash.

    ‘End the battle with a Karate Chop!’

    Machop jumped towards his opponent before Nob could finish his instructions, and delivered the final attack to Riolu before he had a chance to get up, ending the battle with a grunt from Riolu.

    ‘That’s eight wins for me!’ Nob exclaimed. ‘I have the lead now!’

    ‘Congratulations, Nob,’ Maylene said as she picked up Riolu. ‘But the next battles are all mine! You did a good job, Riolu, but we still have to train harder.’

    Riolu looked up at his trainer and nodded slowly before jumping back to the ground, and rushing towards Machop to spar, while Maylene walked over to shake hands with Nob, something that she picked up from watching some of Chuck’s Gym Battles.

    ‘I keep forgetting that you also train,’ Maylene said. ‘I always think that I’m the only one getting stronger.’

    ‘Everyone is getting stronger, even Chuck,’ Nob said. ‘I don’t think there is a limit to how strong we can get.’

    ‘I guess not,’ Maylene said. ‘We can never be our Strongest.’

    ‘Maylene!’ A single call from Chuck ended their conversation abruptly. ‘Come here! There’s someone here to see you!’

    ‘You better go see that person,’ Nob said. ‘I’ll look after Riolu and Machop while they train.’

    ‘Thanks, Nob,’ Maylene said. ‘Let’s battle again sometime soon!’

    And with a final wave, Maylene ran towards the Gym, where Chuck was waiting for her by the door. He gave her a pat on the head before urging her inside, when she couldn’t find words to describe her happiness.

    Even though she had spent the majority of the past four months with Nob, and they grew so close that they developed a sibling-like relationship, she still found herself alone and homesick. But at that moment, when she went through the door of the Gym to be greeted by the one person she admired the most, Crasher Wake, all of her feelings were replaced.

    She rushed towards him as he opened his arms to greet her, and in the spirit of their first meeting, she decided to show him how strong she had gotten, and delivered a punch that was able to knock him down.

    ‘You’ve been training!’ Crasher Wake exclaimed as his body smashed into the ground. ‘Soon enough I can make you wrestle with professionals!’

    ‘Yeah, I got stronger while you were away!’ Maylene said. ‘Nob has been teaching me how to fight!’

    ‘You got ‘stronger’?’ Crasher Wake looked puzzled. ‘Don’t you mean ‘Strongest’?’

    ‘You two seem to have a lot of catching up to do,’ Chuck said. ‘And I have a very busy schedule.’

    Chuck excused himself from the Gym, and walked out towards the mountain, where Nob and the other Trainers would take a break. As soon as he left, Crasher Wake got back up to his feet, and faced Maylene; she had changed a lot since he last met her. She didn’t seem to be the free-spirited child he once knew, and became too focused on becoming a Gym Leader.

    ‘Maylene,’ Crasher Wake started. ‘I can tell you got so much stronger; I’m really proud of you. Care to let me know how Chuck has been taking care of you?’

    ‘He’s very strong, and his Poliwrath, they taught Riolu some good techniques,’ Maylene said. ‘I also trained with Nob a lot, and sometimes on my own, but that’s about it.’

    ‘What about Brawly? Haven’t you been training with him?’ Crasher Wake said. ‘And what happened with you and your friends? Candice seemed different back in Sinnoh, and Gardenia is missing.’

    ‘I don’t know what happened,’ Maylene said. ‘They just left. But Gardenia is missing?’

    ‘Well, knowing her, I’m sure she’s okay,’ Crasher Wake gave his signature, unnecessarily loud laugh. ‘Anyway, I’ve been talking with Chuck about your training, and I want to see what you’re made of! We’ll battle, and if you’re strong enough, we’ll go to catch you a Pokémon!’

    ‘Seriously?!’ Maylene jumped with joy. ‘I want a Floatzel! Just like you! Or a Machop! Like Nob!’

    ‘We’ll decide that later!’ Crasher Wake exclaimed. ‘We have to battle first! Are you ready?!’
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 05:59 PM.

  3. #78
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    Default §15: The Battles Ahead

    As Maylene had learned throughout the years, Crasher Wake wasn’t like most Trainers or Gym Leaders when it came to battles.

    His Pokémon followed his commands faithfully, regardless of how much they seem at a disadvantage, and with a twist, he would always be the one with the upper hand. He didn’t seem to care about winning as much as everyone else did, either, as he seemed to opt for longing the battle rather than ending it.

    And even with these in mind, Maylene had never been able to defeat him, not once. Yet it seemed as if she had to win now, if she was to expand her team, and move a step closer towards her goal. As usual, Crasher Wake sent out his trusty Floatzel, the Pokémon Maylene was convinced was the incarnation of Crasher Wake in Pokémon form; he was every bit as eccentric as his master. And as usual, Riolu was Maylene’s choice, as he was her only Pokémon so far, though this battle could change that.

    To their side were Nob and his fellow Trainers, all with their Pokémon, wanting to witness Crasher Wake battle. Aside from his Machop, Nob had his other Pokémon out, a Machoke. He was a muscular Pokémon with ripped gray skin, due to it not being able to contain his muscles.

    Chuck stood with his Poliwrath, but his Primeape was still in his Poké Ball, which Maylene appreciated. And finally, there was Brawly, who stood with his Makuhita, silent and observing the field without looking directly at Maylene, nor Riolu.

    ‘Are you ready, Maylene?!’ Crasher wake roared. ‘Floatzel and I sure are!’

    Floatzel shrieked in response, and jumped a couple of time, just to send clouds of dust flying around him, a sight that Maylene became frustrated with. Riolu took his battle stance, and turned his head to show Maylene his nod.

    ‘I’m ready!’ she shouted. ‘Riolu, lead with Force Palm!’

    ‘Quick Attack!’

    As it was with almost every battle, Floatzel managed to land the first attack. He shot himself through the air like a bullet, and crashed into Riolu, sending the pair toppling to the ground. Riolu quickly jumped up to his feet, and delivered his attack to Floatzel’s midsection, which was followed by a loud laugh from Crasher Wake.

    ‘Waterfall! Command the waters!’

    Floatzel imitated his Trainer’s loud behavior as the sand beneath them started to open up. Riolu tried to desperately run away, but a pillar of water rose up beneath them and sent them flying towards the air. Floatzel held Riolu between himself and the shooting water, causing Riolu to receive the full power of the Waterfall attack.

    Not waiting for an order from Maylene, Riolu utilised the same technique Floatzel used, and grabbed the Sea Weasel before turning himself around, and causing Floatzel to receive the attack he unleashed on Riolu.

    ‘Stop the Waterfall!’

    ‘Yes! Use Quick Attack! Drive Floatzel to the ground!’

    Riolu let go of Floatzel, and used his opponent’s body to jump to the air, and as the Waterfall stopped, and the water disappeared, Riolu’s body glowed a light white colour as he left several afterimages behind him. He smashed against Floatzel, and the pair descended to the ground.

    ‘Dive!’

    The pair smashed into the sand, which quickly broke apart to reveal the remains of the Waterfall attack. A small, but deep pond of water sucked the pair in with the help of Riolu’s attack, and mere seconds later, Riolu was kicked out.

    ‘Now use Surf! But Floatzel, don’t sweep Maylene with you!’

    The Pokémon popped his head out of the bond, and gave a nod to his Trainer. The sea behind Crasher Wake started approaching the battlefield, causing the spectators to back up towards slightly higher ground. As Riolu descended towards Floatzel, the water rose up to meet him, carrying Floatzel with it. He grabbed Riolu before swimming through the water, and onto the sea with amazing speed.

    His tails spun around each other with amazing speed that propelled him away, and Maylene’s shouts and commands were soon inaudible to Riolu. The pair swam further and further away before taking a sharp turn. The water smashed against Riolu’s body, and he struggled to try and get out of Floatzel’s hold, but his opponent held on to him as tightly as he could against the speed and Riolu’s attacks; not only was letting go of Riolu not a part of Crasher Wake’s orders, but Riolu would be hopelessly lost in the sea if it wasn’t for Floatzel.

    The pair sped forward, back towards Cianwood, where the water had withdrew itself back into the sea, and the closer they came, the clearer Maylene’s voice became.

    The pair hit the sand, and before the momentum was lost, Riolu acted on his Trainer’s command. He held on to Floatzel, and interrupted the halt that Floatzel had attempted, using his body to fling Floatzel into the mountain, utilising the full speed the pair had travelled with back to Cianwood.

    Floatzel’s body crashed with a loud thud before falling to the ground, but Riolu wasn’t safe either. He was thrown to the ground by the same momentum he used to throw Floatzel to the mountain, and for a second, the pair lay on the sand peacefully, before getting up.

    Both Maylene and Riolu looked behind their backs. Crasher Wake gave a grin to Riolu, and followed with a comforting look, almost like trying to show him he was impressed. While Floatzel gave a nod to Maylene, and had it not been for the battle, a hug.

    Two more commands, and the Pokémon flew towards each other, butting heads with almost equal powers, their bodies leaving several afterimages behind them. Another set of commands, and the pair flew away before jumping back towards each other.

    This time, Floatzel’s body was covered in water, while Riolu prepared for the attack he started the battle with. Floatzel flew towards the smaller Pokémon, leaving behind him a trail of water that vaporised as his body smashed against Riolu’s.

    The pair was sent to the ground again, and as Riolu hoped to deliver the final attack, his body failed him. Maylene looked on with sadness as she realised that she had lost the battle and her chance of catching a new Pokémon. She walked towards her Pokémon, and picked him up before Crasher Wake walked towards the group.

    ‘That was a good battle,’ he said. ‘You’re defiantly stronger than ever before!’

    ‘But not strong enough,’ Maylene said. ‘I lost again, and if I remain like this, I’ll never be strong enough to become a Gym Leader.’

    ‘You’re becoming too focused on that,’ Crasher Wake said with the lowest voice Maylene would ever hear coming from him. ‘This is not good. It’s because your friends aren’t here; you don’t have any distractions.’

    ‘That’s good,’ Maylene said. ‘That way, I can become stronger!’

    ‘No!’ Crasher Wake said. ‘Being a Gym Leader isn’t just about being strong! What use is it if you seclude yourself?!’

    ‘What?’ Maylene’s head shot up, as if she had been asleep all this time, and woke up in a different place.

    ‘Maybe I can help with that,’ Chuck said as he approached the group. ‘There’s someone I want you to meet, a Gym Leader from Johto, actually. You can learn a thing or two from him. How do you feel about taking a trip?’

    *


    ‘Candice, listen to yourself,’ Roark pleaded. ‘You’re an amazing person, and I know that. It’s unlike you to be so cruel and rash; that’s Gardenia.’

    She hated it again; Roark was right, again. She was being as rude as Gardenia, and as rash in making her decisions; she didn’t even see herself that way. Her feelings flooded back to her, her feelings of regret and remorse for what she did; that was the true Candice.

    ‘I’m sure you can work things between you two,’ Roark added. ‘And I hope you do, for my sake. It’s selfish, but I would like our group of four back.’

    ‘Me too,’ Candice said. ‘But it’s too late now; there’s nothing I can do.’

    ‘Maybe I can help with that,’ Crasher Wake said as he approached the group. ‘There’s someone I want you to meet, a Gym Leader from Johto, actually. You can learn a thing or two from him. How do you feel about taking a trip?’
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:01 PM.

  4. #79
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    Default §16: Are We Friends?

    Summer on Cianwood was very unbearable, especially for someone who was used to the cold weather of Sinnoh. With that on her mind, Maylene welcomed the cold of Ice Path.

    Even though Chuck had instructed her to head for Mahogany Town and meet the Gym Leader there, the mere mention of an icy area caused Maylene to pass through the town and ignore it, just for a hint of a nostalgic feeling. The Ice Path was nothing compared to the blizzards and hardships of Snowpoint, but Maylene was content with it.

    Unbeknownst to her, the small detour was a deciding moment of her life, even though it seemed insignificant at that time.

    The echoes of light footsteps entered her ears. A wild Pokémon was her first guess, as well as Riolu’s, as he took on his battle stance, ready to get some training along the way. The sound approached, and out of the corner emerged a Pokémon very familiar to Maylene, a Snorunt.

    With a puzzled look, Riolu gave up on his stance, and looked up at Maylene. She didn’t know why her Pokémon gave up on the battle, but it had to be for a good reason. Her eyes travelled to Snorunt, who had the same confused stare as Riolu.

    ‘Snorunt?’ she was as puzzled as the Pokémon when she recognised the Snorunt. ‘I thought Candice was in Sinnoh.’

    The trio froze, as if they were part of a scene in a dramatic play, exchanging confused and puzzled looks, when Candice finally broke their silence.

    ‘The statues are more lively that you three,’ she said as she approached the group, coming to a stand just a few steps behind Snorunt. ‘Don’t assume you’re the only one from Sinnoh in Johto.’

    ‘Candice,’ Maylene sighed; the pair hadn’t departed on a good note, and this was their first meeting in months. ‘I was just confused; I’m sorry.’ Maylene said, resisting the urge to point out that since they were moving their heads, they were livelier than statues; something that Candice would have undoubtedly took as a ‘Gardenia-thing to say’.

    ‘What are you doing here, Maylene?’ Candice said, not moving any closer to Maylene and Riolu.

    ‘Chuck told me to come here,’ Maylene responded. ‘It’s good to see you, Candice. I feel bad about the fight we had, and I’m sure Riolu does as well; he and Snorunt are good friends.’

    Riolu nodded, and for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t to indicate his agreement with Maylene’s battle commands. Snorunt looked forward towards her friend; like Candice, she couldn’t remember why she was mad to begin with, but unlike Candice, she wasn’t embarrassed to admit that she regrets her decision, and hopes will be forgiven, even though it wasn’t clear who was at fault in the entire situation to begin with.

    ‘So, umm,’ Candice started. ‘How are you?’

    Maylene walked up to Candice and shook a little, confused as to whether or not to hug her.

    ‘I’m good,’ Maylene responded. ‘How are you?’

    ‘Just feeling a little hot,’ she laughed. ‘You don’t have the snow that we have in Snowpoint.’

    ‘Yeah, we don’t,’ Maylene laughed as well. ‘What made you come here?’

    ‘Crasher Wake told me to,’ Candice said. ‘He said that I should visit the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town, but I decided to visit Ice Path because-’

    Candice’s gaze travelled to Snorunt, and then back up towards Maylene. ‘Snorunt was feeling lonely,’ she finally said. ‘So I thought we might catch a new Pokémon. She’s never been good friends with Roark’s Cranidos, you know.’

    ‘Roark!’ Maylene boomed. ‘How is he? I really missed him!’

    ‘He’s fine. Training, actually,’ Candice said. ‘He’s a- He’s here, actually.’

    ‘He’s here?! Let’s go see him!’

    At the moment, Candice gave a smile, the only sign Riolu and Snorunt needed to run towards each other and collapse in a hug. As their bodies hit the ground, Maylene’s instinct told her a cloud of dust would rise up, but when it didn’t, she was thankful that for the first time in a long time, she wasn’t obsessed with training and becoming stronger, and neither was Riolu.

    She followed Candice, and started quizzing her about life back in Sinnoh, the people she’d seen, the weather, the contests, her parents, almost every subject but Gardenia. While Riolu and Snorunt took turns in throwing snowballs at each other, and their Trainers, just to dwell on the moment, hoping it would last forever.

    The group traversed the twists and turns of the ice, until they eventually reached a clearing in which Roark was congratulating his Cranidos on a recent win. The sound of talking and playing drew Roark’s attention to the group, and he boomed with happiness when he saw his friend.

    ‘Maylene!’ he shouted, almost causing the Ice Path to cave in. ‘Maylene!’

    ‘Roark!’

    The pair, mimicking Riolu’s and Snorunt’s previous actions, crashed in a hug. ‘I missed you,’ Roark said. ‘I hope Candice didn’t tell you.’

    ‘I didn’t tell her,’ Candice said. ‘You said you wanted it to be a surprise.’

    ‘I’m a Gym Leader!’ Roark said, not waiting to observe Maylene’s expression. ‘I took over my father’s position after Riley refused it!’

    ‘Congratulations!’ Maylene said, and jumped back into another hug. ‘You finally did it!’

    Candice joined the hug in second, while Cranidos greeted Riolu with a handshake. Maylene didn’t know how happy she was amongst her storm of thoughts; she certainly was glad, but her most dominant thought was ‘What about me?’.

    Roark became a Gym Leader, and Candice was out to catch a Pokémon; it seemed as if her friends were achieving her goals, and normally, it would have made her feel jealous, but it just made her feel ambitious. Chuck told her to come here for a reason, and he wanted to prepare her to become a Gym Leader. This was her chance to take a step closer towards her goal, and she had to take it after missing the opportunity Crasher Wake had offered her.

    Whoever the leader of Mahogany Town was, he was the next step towards that goal, and whatever he had to do to make Maylene stronger, she was going to accept it.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:02 PM.

  5. #80
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    Default §17: Feel The Heart Beat

    It wasn’t a particularly engaging battle. Snorunt and Swinub exchanged attacks with little diversity, and their similar type caused the battle to prolong itself.

    Swinub was a small brown Pokémon. Her spherical body was covered in lightly-coloured fur, with darker strands seemingly reaching towards her closed eyes and pink snout; what attracted her to the group in the first place, or rather, the food that the group was eating.

    Candice shouted another command, and Snorunt scrapped her legs against the ice to produce a small chunk of powder that she chucked at Swinub, who responded with the same attack; it wasn’t clear whether the pair was playing or battling.

    After spending so much time battling viciously and seriously, Maylene had forgotten that Candice wasn’t the battling type. While she certainly held her own against Maylene more than a year ago, her technique was still to bond with her Pokémon and hope for the best, something that Maylene found ridiculous after spending such a long time training herself and Riolu physically.

    Candice flung a Poké Ball at the fleeing Swinub; she had to catch her now or the Pokémon would get away. Surprisingly to Maylene, Swinub was caught with ease. The battle had been uneventful, and quite boring, yet it was enough to catch Swinub. Either Candice was lucky, or Swinub was extremely weak, or the bonding technique worked.

    ‘She must be hungry,’ Candice said. ‘That’s why she approached us.’

    ‘She must have been weak when you caught her,’ Maylene said. ‘Well, congratulations, Candice.’

    ‘Thanks, Maylene,’ Candice said as she sent out her new capture and began feeding her. ‘There, there, you should eat something.’

    She was happy for Candice, but Maylene couldn’t shake the feeling that she deserved to catch a Pokémon as well. All Candice did was play with Snorunt, while she and Riolu trained harder than Candice ever could. Roark congratulated Candice as his Cranidos and Maylene’s Riolu went to greet the new member of the team. Maylene thought of Gardenia, and how she would react if she saw Candice catching a Pokémon using these methods; she was very much like Maylene, and cared for strength more than connection.

    The group spent the night in the Ice Path, taking shelter in corner that Swinub had sniffed out, and determined to be empty of wild Pokémon, which would have been obvious had it not been for the several Sneasel that hid around corners and attacked at night, as Candice informed the group.

    The night passed quickly for Maylene as she stayed up talking to her friends, glad that she was finally together with them again. She told Roark about her time on Cianwood, and unlike Chuck and Crasher Wake, she didn’t like to him regarding the rockslide, which Candice learned about at the same time. She informed them of how she missed an opportunity to catch a Pokémon, and how things weren’t as they used to be between her and Brawly.

    While it wasn’t a distinctive or special time, the group just wanted to be together again, even though one vital member was missing. They trio eventually retired to sleep, while the Pokémon took turns guarding the group; they knew the three humans had a long journey ahead of them, while they were able to rest in their Poké Balls.

    *


    A knock sounded on the door, and immediately, Pryce guessed it was a new naïve challenger. He didn’t have the heart to open the door, but since it was within arm’s reach, he didn’t mind. He swung the door open slowly, observing the three figures that looked up at him.

    One of the two girls tried to step up, prompting Pryce to raise his cane, and press it against her chest, forbidding her entry. ‘Can I help you?’ he said, with every hint of frustration in his voice.

    ‘I’m here to see the Gym Leader,’ the pink-haired girl said. ‘Are you the Gym Leader?’

    ‘Are you a challenger?’ Pryce said, taking his time to glance from one child to the other. ‘Are you all challengers?’

    ‘No,’ the pink-haired girl replied. ‘We’re-’

    Pryce’s cane shot towards her head, smacking her with a loud thwack. ‘I never asked what you are here for,’ Pryce said. ‘If you are not challengers, then go. I am not interested in your merchandise, nor any carol you want to sing.’

    He started closing the door, when the pink-haired girl held it open. ‘Listen to-’

    Another thwack cause her to blink away her thoughts, but soon enough, she started protesting again, when Pryce hit her with his cane again.

    ‘Insolent child,’ he clenched his teeth. ‘You are forbidden from-’

    ‘You’re forbidden!’

    As she expected, Pryce attempted to hit her again, when she grabbed his cane and tried pulling the cane from his hand. Surprisingly, the old man had a firm grip on the cane, and as much as the girl pulled, it didn’t seem to move. She jumped and placed her legs on either side of the door, attempting to brace her legs against the wall of the Gym, when she fell to the ground.

    ‘Gravity,’ Pryce said. ‘It is as old as I am, if not less. Be wise, youngster, and get out of my sight.’

    ‘But we’re children,’ the dark-haired girl spoke for the first time. ‘Why are you so mean to us?’

    Pryce pulled his cane out of the pink-haired girl’s hands, and attempted smacking the other girl for speaking without permission, only to have the boy block his path. The cane connected with his helmet, but aside from a tilt, it did no damage.

    ‘Do not waste my time, you three,’ Pryce said. ‘Do not come again.’

    With a quick movement, he smacked the boy’s right side with his cane, before maneuvering and hitting the dark-haired girl between her eyes. He quickly retreated, and smashed the door shut, leaving the three children with a bewildered stare.

    ‘He’s a ninja!’ Pryce heard the boy say before grinning, and striding off towards his seat in the Gym.

    *


    Nervous wasn’t enough to describe how Maylene, Candice, and Roark felt about being at the step of the Gym Leader who was going to supposedly make them stronger. But after their interaction with the old man that had appeared, Roark’s words weren’t enough to describe the bizarre situation.

    ‘He’s not a ninja,’ Candice said as she rubbed her forehead. ‘I’m not even sure he was the Gym Leader.’

    ‘What did he mean by ‘merchandise’?’ Maylene asked.

    ‘He probably thought we were here to sell something,’ Roark said. ‘Since you said we weren’t challengers.’

    ‘That idiot!’ Maylene shouted. ‘How could he think kids would work? How could he hit me?!’

    ‘That shirtless man in the mountains hit you,’ Roark said. ‘And you often wrestled Crasher Wake, didn’t you?’

    ‘But this one is an old man,’ Maylene said. ‘What do we do?’

    ‘We’ll come back at a later time,’ Candice said. ‘Maybe wait for a challenger to come in, and sneak in after them.’

    ‘That won’t work,’ Roark said. ‘We’re a little bit obvious.’

    ‘We’ll break the door and go in,’ Maylene exclaimed. ‘Right after we get something to eat!’

    ‘That’s not a good idea,’ Candice said, and Roark nodded in agreement. ‘Let’s just try again later; he could be in a better mood then.’

    ‘I think we should just wear a disguise,’ Roark said. ‘That has worked once before.’

    ‘Yeah but Fantina was stupid,’ Maylene said. ‘I still think we should break the door.’

    ‘Why don’t we talk about this in the Pokémon Center,’ Candice said. ‘And heal our Pokémon while we’re discussing how to get in.’

    Maylene reluctantly agreed, and followed her friends to the Pokémon Center, where they gave their Pokémon to the nurse, and sat around a table discussing how they would gain entry to the Gym. None of their suggestions changed, but by the time the nurse returned their Pokémon to them, they had settled on Candice’s idea, even though they didn’t like it; they were afraid Candice might get angry and storm off.

    The Pokémon, now outside their Poké Balls, gathered around the new member, Swinub, and tried their best to welcome her. Riolu showed her all the training he had received, and how strong he was compared to the other Pokémon, while Cranidos told her of the few challengers he had encountered in the short months he spent in the Gym, before taking a short trip to Johto. And Snorunt told her of the cold of Sinnoh, and how she would feel at home there, something that Swinub longed for.

    Time passed quickly as each group conversed, silence only creeping on them, and the rest of the Pokémon Center, when a certain person entered through the door.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:03 PM.

  6. #81
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default §18: What Power Means

    Maylene, Candice, and Roark looked on, as everyone seemed to cower in fear of the old man they had encountered, but soon they recognised that it was just admiration. He walked up to the nurse and talked quietly to her, shooting his stare at anyone who dared approach her; even if all they wanted was to heal their Pokémon, Pryce wasn’t willing to let anyone listen in. The nurse nodded in agreement, and walked to the backroom, while Pryce left the Center, ignoring the three trainers he had encountered earlier.

    ‘What do you think is going on?’ Candice whispered.

    ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out!’ Maylene said, and she ran for the exit. ‘Come on, Riolu!’

    Riolu nodded in agreement, and followed his trainer out of the Pokémon Center. Candice joined them a few seconds later, followed by Swinub, while Snorunt, Roark, and Cranidos seemed to wait by the door.

    ‘It’s locked,’ Roark’s muffled voice came through the door. ‘I’ll see what’s going on with the nurse.’

    Candice would have tried to open the door for her friend, but Maylene didn’t want to wait; she dashed after Pryce, and Candice followed her. Roark walked back to the counter, where the nurse emerged.

    ‘The door is locked,’ he said to her. ‘What’s going on? Can you open it?’

    ‘I was too late,’ the nurse said. ‘I tried to shut down the system, but I failed again.’

    She broke into tears, and crashed to the floor dramatically. Soon enough, Roark learned that the nurse had fainted, and his only chance was to see if anyone else knew anything, as they seemed strangely calm. He approached an elderly woman, and asked if he could sit next to her.

    ‘Sure, sit down, my boy,’ she said. ‘You should not worry.’

    ‘Do you know what is happening?’ Roark asked. ‘Why the Pokémon Center is locked, and why everyone but the nurse seems so calm?’

    ‘Ah yes, that girl,’ the old lady spoke of the nurse. ‘She worries too much, but she has a good heart. She is only thinking of the folk here, but she should not worry, either.’

    ‘Care to explain what is happening to me?’ Roark said.

    ‘Yes, yes, curiosity is an interesting aspect,’ she said. ‘Let me start at the beginning.’

    The old lady began telling her story, while Maylene and Candice dashed after Pryce. Riolu followed Maylene as he often did when running back and forth across Cianwood and Veilstone, while Swinub tried hard to keep up with Candice; the only reason she followed her out of the Gym was to stay close to her Trainer, as a Pokémon Center was still new territory for her.

    ‘Old man!’ Maylene shouted. ‘Wait!’

    Pryce stopped walking and turned around, as the girls approached, he considered smacking them again with his cane, but ultimately decided against it; time wasn’t on his side. He started walking on, and when the girls reached him, they began walking behind him.

    ‘I am assuming you want to help,’ Pryce started. ‘Do not think you are strong enough.’

    ‘We won’t help you do anything,’ Maylene said. ‘You should be helping us.’

    ‘You didn’t listen to us,’ Candice hurried through her sentence. ‘But we wanted to tell you that Crasher Wake and Chuck told us to come here.’

    ‘The wrestler and the fighter,’ Pryce chuckled. ‘I should have known. Trying to dump their responsibilities on me. Where is the boy?’

    ‘Stuck at the Center,’ Candice said. ‘His name is Roark. I’m Candice, and this is Maylene.’

    ‘Roark,’ Pryce repeated slowly, pondering on every syllable of the name. ‘Why does that name sound familiar?’

    ‘He’s a Gym Leader in Sinnoh,’ Candice said, proud of her friend. ‘He’s Byron’s son.’

    ‘Why that is surprising,’ Pryce said. ‘I had heard that Byron was going to choose Riley as his replacement. You know, I met Riley, and it is a shame he doesn’t use his gifts for more.’

    ‘Gifts?’ Candice looked at Maylene; the pair was confused as to why the old man was suddenly talking to them, but didn’t question it.

    ‘Yes, Riley is truly gifted,’ said Pryce. ‘He is a wonderful trainer, and one of the few who defeated me. His techniques surpassed mine, and if he wanted to, he could be the strongest Trainer in the world, but he is too humble for his own good. He does not want to use his powers for his own personal gain; I am surprised you do not know, as he is from Sinnoh, but he is an Aura Master.’

    The mere mention of Aura sent all thoughts out of Maylene’s head. She forgot about her goal, and limited her scope to just being a Gym Leader, but the uttering of the word reminded her of how she told her mother that she would be a Gym Leader, before becoming an Aura Master, and the strongest Trainer.

    ‘Riley suggested Roark,’ Candice said, drawing Maylene back into the conversation. ‘Roark wanted to be a Gym Leader like his father for a long time, and he finally did it.’

    ‘I see,’ Pryce chuckled. ‘Problems with the father; why that reminds me of our very own Falkner.’

    ‘Where are we going?’ Maylene asked, as the group left Mahogany Town.

    ‘I do not care what you or your friend do as long as you do not get in my way,’ Pryce said. ‘There is some business I need to take care of.’

    The group came to a clearing, where some people dressed in black outfits with a red ‘R’ were waiting. Several grunts, sighs, and curses emerged when Pryce appeared to them.

    ‘Die already, old man!’ one of them shouted.

    ‘We will take care of you this time,’ another said. ‘There are more of us now!’

    ‘You can come back as much as you like, with as many of you as you like,’ Pryce said, digging his cane into the ground. ‘I will kick you away like the peccable, inconsequential creatures you are.’

    With roars of anger, they all threw down their Poké Balls, and a number of Pokémon unfamiliar to Maylene and Candice appeared, but none of them drew attention as much as the Pokémon Pryce sent out, a Pokémon that Candice recognised.

    He was a round Pokémon covered with ice that revealed his black skin at some areas. Two horns emerged from his sides, and two eyes stared through the holes in the ice armor.

    ‘It’s Glalie,’ Candice said in awe. ‘An evolution of Snorunt.’

    Maylene didn’t think much of it, nor did she know why Candice was so mesmerised by the Pokémon; she was more impressed with what Glalie did. A single command from the old man, and the Pokémon froze the area around them.

    An old tree with a weak bark crumbled to the cold, the large body of water behind the people froze to the core, the Pokémon fell to the ground, and their Trainers followed, all but one.

    ‘Tell your master, whoever they are, to give up,’ Pryce said. ‘Your Pokémon shall be set free, and your associates shall be arrested. Flee while you can.’

    With terror on his face, the remaining man ran away, while the world around Candice began to melt.

    *


    ‘Care to explain what is happening to me?’ Roark said.

    ‘Yes, yes, curiosity is an interesting aspect,’ she said. ‘Let me start at the beginning. In the recent years, there have been a few scientists working in the name of science.’

    She paused for a nod, and Roark obliged. He knew this was going to be a long talk, especially since the woman seemed to like repeating herself, and it was best to do whatever she needed in order to finish the story in time before he has to go back to the Gym.

    ‘But in a shocking twist, they weren’t scientists,’ she threw her arms back and waved them frantically, drawing from Roark the surprised expression she needed. ‘They were just trying to catch and evolve Pokémon evilly, and rule the world. They started out as a small group, but when they tried to expand, things got interesting.’

    ‘It was already interesting,’ Roark said; he was a fast learner, and quickly learned how to humor the old lady. ‘It must have been a hard time.’

    ‘It would have been,’ the old lady said. ‘But my lovely husband, Pryce, rose up to the problem, above all else. He became the hero, and the one doing the good work. He quickly learned how to anticipate these people’s moves, and he kept a Pokémon on the outskirts as a lookout. When these evil people tried to do their evil work to us, the good people, he stopped them. Somehow, they can do technical stuff and lock the doors of the Center and Gym, since they are electronic, but Pryce gets out in time, and stops them every time.’

    ‘That is impressive,’ Roark said. ‘Is Pryce the Gym Leader? The one who warned the nurse?’

    ‘Oh, boy!’ the old lady’s eyes widened. ‘You never heard of Pryce!’

    ‘Youth these days,’ Roark said. ‘We’re very uneducated.’

    ‘That you are!’ she said. ‘Read a book in your life. There is a giant library in Sinnoh, and from the Pokémon behind you, it looks like you’re from there. Pryce is a legend. In a few years, he will become a myth, maybe some people will even worship him. You should cherish the moment you met him for the rest of your life. No one has ever come close to being as strong as Pryce, and if he wasn’t an old man attached to his home, Mahogany Town, he would defeat everyone.’

    ‘Impressive,’ Roark said. ‘That strong, huh?’

    ‘Stronger,’ the old lady said. ‘I saw your own Cynthia’s battles; she will lose against him, if she’s lucky. I saw him battle Riley many times; Riley only won once. The Champion is too scared of him, and he ran away, or at least, that’s how the rumor has it. He’s strong enough to shake the earth to it’s core, and the freeze it all.’
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:04 PM.

  7. #82
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default §19: I’m Not The Reason

    As she followed Pryce back to Mahogany, Candice pondered on the display of strength. Glalie must have been his strongest Pokémon, and if it wasn’t, then the thought of the amount of power his other Pokémon possessed scared Candice. She never cared for becoming stronger, and never seriously thought about evolving her Pokémon. What frightened Candice more than anything was how Pryce seemed to defy her theory; his Glalie was strong, seemingly with no emotional connection.

    Maylene was begging Pryce to train her, slowly becoming focused on her training again, but Candice couldn’t care less about being trained; Crasher Wake told her to come here for a reason, and it certainly wasn’t for getting strong, as it wasn’t her goal.

    Swinub was now in her arms, and while she was a very new capture, not having spent a full day in her Trainer’s possession yet, she knew that Candice was concerned about something, and tried as hard as she could to comfort her. Candice was obviously a great person, the minute she captured her, she offered her the food she was seeking, and if Swinub hadn’t started attacking, Candice probably wouldn’t have ordered an attack in response.

    The group eventually reached Mahogany, where the Pokémon Center’s door was unlocked, as well as the Gym’s. Pryce and Maylene took the lead, the latter still begging him for his secret of strength, while Candice and Swinub were right behind them, and Riolu walked at the end of the group.

    Snorunt jumped in happiness at the sight of her Trainer, but quickly realised that Candice’s thoughts were distant. She nevertheless approached her Trainer and stood by her. Pryce quickly told Maylene off, and went into his Gym, denying her entry again.

    ‘What happened?’ Roark said, slightly nudging Candice.

    ‘Just some bad people,’ she replied. ‘He defeated them.’

    ‘His name is Pryce,’ Roark said, looking at Maylene. ‘Was he really that strong?’

    ‘Yes!’ Maylene exclaimed. ‘He was very strong! I know why Chuck told me to meet him. If I want to be a Gym Leader, an Aura Master, and a Champion, then I need to be stronger than him! I have to train harder than ever!’

    ‘I don’t think he’ll train you,’ Candice said. ‘And I don’t think I’m here to train.’

    Without another word, she pushed through the door, and walked towards Pryce, who was at the far end of the Gym. Maylene and Roark struggled, but Candice found her way easily through the ice, and stopped just in front of the old man, who hadn’t noticed her, and was scolding a Gym Trainer.

    ‘Hello,’ she said as the Gym Trainer began retreating, but not before she was out of ear’s shot. ‘I’m a challenger. Battle me.’

    ‘Where is your Trainer Card?’ Pryce said, not wanting to waste any time with an unofficial challenge. ‘You can not challenge me without a Trainer Card, nor any other Gym for that matter.’

    ‘I’m not challenging you for a Badge,’ Candice said. ‘I want a normal battle, between two Trainers, and I will defeat you.’

    ‘You will not,’ Pryce said. ‘But let me demonstrate my strength to you, and hopefully your weak Pokémon will learn something.’

    He threw a Poké Ball to the ground, and the Glalie the pair had seen earlier emerged. ‘Go, Snorunt,’ Candice told her Pokémon. ‘We can win this.’

    Snorunt stepped into the arena, and as soon as she did, Glalie flew towards her and smashed against her small body, sending her skidding across the ice, already knocked out. Glalie turned to face Candice, who was at close proximity to him. He turned to her Swinub, and shot a quick beam that froze the Pokémon in her arms.

    ‘You have lost,’ Pryce said. ‘The battle did not last five seconds.’

    ‘Snorunt,’ Candice ignored Pryce, and hurried to her fallen Pokémon. ‘Are you alright?’

    The Pokémon slowly nodded in response, and struggled up to her feet, hanging onto Candice to stand, and she eventually picked Snorunt up, before walking back to face Pryce. She held her fallen Pokémon in her arms, and comforted them with words of encouragement.

    ‘Do not be ridiculous,’ Pryce scoffed. ‘Your Pokémon have lost, and there is no use in telling them they did a good job; they did not.’

    ‘It’s important,’ Candice said. ‘Otherwise, they’ll just feel bad. I honestly feel that they did good in the battle.’

    ‘What have they possibly done right in this battle?’

    ‘They didn’t run,’ Candice said, and Roark placed a hand of support on her shoulder. ‘What if your Pokémon lose? Won’t you try to encourage them as well?’

    ‘Friendship is meaningless, young girl,’ Pryce said, noticing Candice’s way of thinking. ‘If you keep relying on it, you will never become strong.’

    ‘I can become strong, and you will hear of me when I do,’ Candice said. ‘I will follow my own path in training my Pokémon, and I will be strong enough to hold your position.’

    ‘You will fail,’ Pryce said. ‘A bond is not strong enough to win you a battle.’

    ‘It is, and you will see,’ Candice said. ‘Unlike you, I won’t push everyone away from me, and act so cold towards them. You have to have friends to encourage you just as you encourage your Pokémon!’

    ‘Do not believe the fairytales,’ Pryce said. ‘There has never been a strong Trainer who held your same beliefs. You will never be strong.’

    Candice realised that it was useless to argue with Pryce any further; his mindset wasn’t going to change anytime soon, and her best bet was to prove him wrong. ‘There’s always a first time,’ Candice said. ‘This won’t be the last you hear of me. Good luck with your life, Pryce.’

    With a single wave, she walked back the way she came, determined more than ever to prove that it was possible to become strong through friendship, no matter how ridiculous it sounded. Maylene and Roark followed through the door, and into the Pokémon Center, where Candice gave her fallen friends to the nurse, and sat with Maylene and Roark around the table they had been sitting around earlier in the day.

    ‘That was quite an interesting speech,’ Roark started. ‘I wonder what Gardenia would have though of it. I especially liked the part where you told him to stop pushing people away.’

    ‘I know,’ Candice said. ‘I was wrong; I never gave Gardenia a chance. I judged her too quickly, and I will apologise for it; I always wanted to, but I was just too stubborn to do it. I didn’t want to seem weak, but if I remain like that, I might become like Pryce.’

    ‘But, Candice,’ Maylene started, her voice lower than usual. ‘What will you do?’

    ‘If I see Gardenia, I’ll apologise,’ Candice said. ‘And I will prove that I can be strong, and not by becoming the type of Trainer Pryce is. I’ll become a Gym Leader, and prove him wrong.’

    ‘But, what you said,’ Maylene said, still in her low voice, almost avoiding Candice’s gaze. ‘I don’t think it’s possible. You have to train to be strong; that’s what I’ve been doing for months.’

    ‘I’m sure this is what Crasher Wake told me to come here for,’ Candice said. ‘He wanted to make me realise that what I did was wrong; maybe that’s why Chuck told you to come here as well.’

    Maylene nodded slowly. The nurse returned Candice’s Pokémon to her, and as she greeted them and encouraged them for their performance, Maylene couldn’t help but feel that she was missing the point. Chuck told her to come here for a reason, and it wasn’t to train; he must have known that Pryce wouldn’t take any apprentices. If it was to realise what Candice had said, then it must have been Maylene’s fault, because she still believed in strength over the bond with her Pokémon.

    As Roark started telling the pair about the woman he had met, and the story she told him, Maylene’s thoughts travelled towards Pryce, and if she wanted to be as strong as him. She looked at Riolu, and tried to recall the time when she and Riolu had not been training, to no avail. Almost every moment the pair spent with each other was spent training, or hoping for the future. She never took the time to know her Pokémon, and who he was, even though he never hesitated in helping her, even lying for her.

    Even though she still kept her mindset, Maylene began to doubt.

    *


    The group made the long trip to Cianwood, where Candice thanked Crasher Wake for sending her to meet Pryce, before going to teach Swinub how to skate across water. Roark spent his time with Brawly, learning more about what it is to be a Gym Leader, and occasionally battling, even winning a few battles.

    Candice and Roark, as well as Crasher Wake, planned on going back to Sinnoh in a few days, and two nights before their trip, Maylene approached Crasher Wake.

    ‘I want to come to Sinnoh with you,’ Maylene said. ‘When I went to Pryce, he mentioned someone from Sinnoh called Riley, and that he was strong. I want to ask him how he became so strong.’

    ‘I’ll take you,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘You never told me what you learned from Pryce, but that doesn’t matter. If you want to meet Riley, I’ll take you to him.’
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:05 PM.

  8. #83
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    Default §20: Broken, Like Me

    Surprisingly to Maylene, Chuck was very supportive of her decision to temporarily go back to Sinnoh, even saying that she deserved a break. She had only spent a little over five months in Cianwood, with her first month constantly being interrupted, whether it was her accident, the storm, the Candice and Gardenia situation, or Brawly’s revelation, but Chuck said that she had trained harder than everyone else, and she was the one most deserving of a rest.

    Brawly seemed too emotional when he said goodbye to Maylene, while Nob hoped to one day visit her when she becomes a Gym Leader. With a final word to Chuck, promising that she’ll be even stronger when she comes back, and more dedicated, Maylene left Cianwood.

    Another surprise to Maylene was when Floatzel managed to carry the entire group, even though it was Crasher Wake who carried the three children above him, and each of them carried their Pokémon. The world around them shifted and turned; Cianwood disappeared into the horizon, the ocean water got darker and darker as they swam over deeper areas, they passed some islands with a heavily damaged boat on one of them, they saw some of the strangest creatures swimming alongside them, Pokémon that they had never seen before, and as Maylene, Candice, and Roark observed the world around them, they imagined it slowly turning to Sinnoh, just as quickly as the scenery was shifting.

    But they knew it wasn’t that simple, and when they reached land, they took the boat back to Sinnoh, as Crasher Wake and Roark were both Gym Leaders, they were allowed a free ride, as well as an accompanying guest.

    ‘Did anything change back in Sinnoh?’ Maylene asked once they had sailed.

    ‘Nothing of importance,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘Cynthia just got tougher and tougher!’

    ‘Gardenia is missing, ‘ Roark added. ‘Some say she accidently went into the Old Chateau and got killed.’

    ‘She’ll never go there,’ Maylene grinned. ‘She’s scared of Ghost Pokémon.’

    ‘I hope we find her,’ Roark said. ‘This is our chance to finally reunite, after five months.’

    ‘I hope you four reunite as well,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘Even though I don’t like it when you use my Gym as a swimming pool!’

    ‘I forgot about that!’ Maylene boomed. ‘We have to do that once I get back in Sinnoh!’

    ‘And make the trip to Snowpoint!’ Roark said. ‘See if that weather in Johto broke you or not!’

    ‘And go to contests!’ Candice said. ‘The way we always used to!’

    As the groups discussed what nostalgic activities they were going to do, Candice hoped they would find Gardenia, as these things wouldn’t be complete without her ranting, and she had to apologise to her for what she did. Roark started thinking about how he was going to teach Maylene about being a Gym Leader in Sinnoh, and hoped to see their entire group eventually becoming Gym Leaders, or more. Maylene, as much as she wanted to meet Riley, was more excited to see her mother, and show her how her little girl grew up.

    *


    It had just been a few hours, but they passed like minutes as Maylene reminisced with her friends. Being so focused on her training and becoming a Gym Leader completely consumed her; she had forgotten how much she missed her friends, and even though she met in Ice Path, she felt as if she has just met them on the boat ride.

    Roark had to attend to his duties as a Gym Leader, and Candice, with her new goal, decided to follow him, and learn about the occupation. Roark couldn’t be happier; if there was anything he loved more than following his father’s footsteps, it was learning and teaching.

    Maylene climbed onto Crasher Wake’s back, just like she always did, and commanded him to run to Veilstone. This time, it was different, she appreciated the tree she had thought was too small, she enjoyed the sight of the Pokémon she once thought were stupid to approach a tree covered with honey, she loved the pipes that ventilated the Underground, the Trainers battling in the cold weather, the girl dressing their Pokémon for contests, and heading off to start the journey to Hearthome, and Crasher Wake, who had always been there to take her on this ride to her home.

    Maylene jumped off as soon as they set foot in Veilstone, and ran towards her Gym, passing many people that exclaimed with happiness at her sight, but they knew that the person she wanted to see most was her mother. Riolu ran right behind her, and the pair found themselves to be faster than before.

    She crashed through the door of the Gym, and then through the door to her home, where her mother jumped out of her seat with shock, then jumped with joy towards her daughter.

    ‘Maylene!’ she cried tears of joy as she wrapped her arms around her daughter, as if she had been dead all this time. ‘You won’t believe how much I missed you! I felt horrible for leaving you on Cianwood and touring Johto! I’m sure you wanted to see all the clothes and fashion with me!’

    She let out a gentle laugh; she knew her Maylene, and that she wasn’t interested in clothes and fashion. ‘Mom!’ Maylene whined. ‘You know I don’t like those things!’

    ‘I love you so much!’ her mother said as she planted many kisses on her daughter’s face. ‘I’m sure your father will be delighted to see you!’

    ‘Is he here?’ Crasher Wake asked.

    ‘No, I don’t know where he is,’ she said. ‘And how are you, Crasher Wake? I haven’t seen you in a long time.’

    ‘Catch up later!’ Maylene shouted. ‘Crasher Wake needs to do something right now! And I need to help him!’

    ‘I know you’re so busy becoming the Strongest,’ her mother hugged Maylene again. ‘But come back in time for dinner.’

    ‘I will, mom!’ Maylene said. ‘I’ll tell you about everything that happened!’

    With a final hug, Maylene led Crasher Wake out of the Gym, and instructed him to take her back to Pastoria, where they were supposed to meet Riley. He ran back to his Gym, Maylene on his shoulders, and Riolu in her arms; she had just sent him out after a long rest in the Poké Ball.

    They passed through the same scenery again, and for the first time in her life, Maylene saw the things she used to ignore; she had taken Sinnoh for granted all of this time, and it is going to be harder than before when it is time to go back to Johto.

    They eventually reached the Gym, and as they expected, Riley was already there. He was tall, and didn’t look very old. His black hair was covered with a blue hat that matched the rest of his outfit, which consisted of a blue jacket and black trousers. He had a soft smile on his face that extended slightly as he saw the approaching pair.

    Maylene jumped off of Crasher Wake’s back, and ran ahead of him, towards Riley, who took a few steps back. She stopped just a few meters ahead of him, and studied him.

    ‘Why did you step away from me?’ she said, fearing that it had something to do with her Aura; what is she was a bad person?

    ‘It’s nothing, really,’ Riley said, slightly waving as if to dismiss her thoughts. ‘I just remember you punching Crasher Wake at his party a few years back, and I was worried you’d try to punch me to test me, but please don’t; I’m very fragile.’

    It was at that point that Maylene noticed Riley’s Pokémon. He was a medium-heighted Pokémon that stood on his two legs in a matter similar to Riolu. His tail, arms, face, and body, all resembled her Pokémon’s but seemed like an advanced version of them. Riolu studied him from afar, and as Maylene realised that it was the evolved form of Riolu, she was overcome with a strange sensation.

    This was what it takes to be strong. Riolu would have to evolve eventually, and Maylene would stand with the same Pokémon behind her, if she was to ever become as strong as she hoped to be. She couldn’t help but see herself in Riley’s place, standing in front of that Pokémon, and commanding it; did she want to be like Riley?

    She let out a slight gasp when she realised that what Candice thought when she saw Pryce’s Glalie must have been similar to her own thoughts; that’s why Candice wanted to become a Gym Leader, and apologise to Gardenia. It wasn’t to prove Pryce wrong; it was to not become like him.

    ‘I’m flattered you’re impressed,’ Riley said, completely misunderstanding Maylene’s expression and gasp. ‘This is Lucario, which is Riolu’s evolved form, as you probably guessed, or already knew.’

    ‘How about we go inside?’ Crasher Wake said, putting a hand on Maylene’s shoulder, and leading her into the Gym after Riley held the door open for them, and stepped in after them. The group went back to Crasher Wake’s small room at the end of the Gym, and sat around a table.

    ‘It’s nice to meet you, Maylene,’ Riley said. ‘Crasher Wake told me you were a special girl, and it was a little obvious; I wouldn’t have the guts to punch a wrestler! I’m deathly afraid of fighting.’

    ‘But I thought you were a Pokémon Trainer,’ Maylene said. ‘How can you be scared of fighting?’

    ‘Oh, no, no,’ Riley chuckled. ‘Don’t misunderstand me. I was talking about walking up to a stranger, and punching them, because they might just hit me back. But I do battle Pokémon for fun, and it’s only light-hearted battles that I participate in. I sometimes don’t explore new areas, because I’m afraid of battling Pokémon with strangers, and sometimes, I would wait for any Trainer to come by, and I would follow them.’

    ‘You would follow a stranger?’ Maylene asked, slightly disappointed with Riley; she had expected someone even tougher than Pryce, not a coward.

    ‘No, no, no,’ Riley said, becoming more and more intimated with Maylene’s attitude. ‘I, well, not to brag, but I can sense Aura, and I would judge a person by that.’

    ‘That’s useful,’ Maylene said. ‘I hope to control Aura and sense it someday, too!’

    ‘You can do it, too?’ Riley gasped.

    ‘Not yet, but I can learn!’

    ‘Oh…’ Riley sat back in his chair, crossing his arms, and sinking further down. ‘Umm, but it isn’t… I can… You will be… Umm, you’re lucky.’

    ‘What?’ Maylene and Crasher Wake said in unison as Riley’s mumbling became too low to hear.

    ‘You’re lucky,’ Riley repeated. ‘It isn’t something you learn, and I can judge whether someone can use Aura or not. You’re lucky you can’t, because you’ll be stronger that way.’

    ‘I can’t use Aura?’ Maylene almost broke into tears; this was one of her dreams, and now Riley said that she wasn’t able to fulfill that dream. Coming from anyone else, she would have shrugged him off, but this was Riley, someone that Pryce respected, and Pryce was someone that Chuck recognised as strong, and Chuck was a friend of Crasher Wake, the one person she respected the most.

    Riley kept talking, but Maylene couldn’t listen; she didn’t care how lucky he thought she was, and what his justifications are. What if she couldn’t become a Gym Leader, either, or a Champion? She recognised that she had to work for her goal, but never the chance that she might never achieve it.

    Riley was forced to stop midsentence when Maylene finally broke into tears, and ran out of the Gym, too ashamed to face anyone, not even Riolu. She ran out of the Gym, and out of Pastoria. Her feet became dirty with mud, and her clothes were soaked with rain; she had entered the area west of Pastoria where she and Crasher Wake had always trained; it could have been for nothing.

    She sat against a tree and cried, eventually being joined by Riolu. He didn’t even try to comfort Maylene, as much as he wanted to; he knew it would be pointless. Riolu, the Emanation Pokémon, was much like his evolved form Lucario; he could sense Aura in the form of emotions, a weaker version of Lucario’s powers, and throughout the years, he had seen Maylene go through many feelings: happiness, worry, anger, excitement, confusion, longing, and even sadness.

    But it was never to this degree. Aura might have been the one thing that remained as an obstacle between them, as Riolu had always used it to understand Maylene’s feelings. He wanted it to be the last time, Maylene’s sadness was too much for him to handle, and it was clear without the use of any powers. So instead of comforting his Trainer, Riolu sat next to her, and he wanted it to be the last time. He memorised Maylene’s sadness, and promised to never allow it to happen again, before locking his powers away.

    In that moment, the world was suddenly devoid of any emotions, as Riolu tried to forget about his powers, and saw the world through different eyes. No more Aura was emitted from Maylene, and no more Aura from those approaching him; anyone could have been behind them, but there was no way to tell. Riolu turned his head to Maylene, who was deep in her sorrow. If she couldn’t use Aura, then he wouldn’t use it.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:07 PM.

  9. #84
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Great chapter, keep it up!
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    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by GengarEatBanana View Post
    Great chapter, keep it up!
    Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope you liked the upcoming chapters.

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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    I finally caught up!!! Oh wow, that was a great chapter D8 poor Riolu and Maylene!! I really love how you portray each character, it's magnificent. I can really see them each as I read this story... and I like Riley's attitude too "I'm fragile." XD so great.

    Um, Kyuu, would you mind tagging me for each new chapter so I don't forget and wind up waaaay behind all over again =)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi-kun
    A good friend will not take advantage of a situation, but will comfort you through it.

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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hallowheart
    I finally caught up!!! Oh wow, that was a great chapter D8 poor Riolu and Maylene!! I really love how you portray each character, it's magnificent. I can really see them each as I read this story... and I like Riley's attitude too "I'm fragile." XD so great.
    Thanks for the compliments, and commenting your thoughts on the story. I'm glad my characters are good; they seem to be my best point. I hope you like the chapters to come, and to keep reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hallowheart
    Um, Kyuu, would you mind tagging me for each new chapter so I don't forget and wind up waaaay behind all over again =)?
    I wish I could help you with that, but I personally don't like tags, as I feel they are more demanding of the reader than informing. That, and they make the post look imperfect, which is why I also don't put responses to comments and chapters in the same post.

    Yes, I am aware I am very strange.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 8th January 2012 at 03:44 PM.

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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Ah ^_^ that's okay, I'll just keep the story bookmarked then so I don't lose it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi-kun
    A good friend will not take advantage of a situation, but will comfort you through it.

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    Default §21: Unneeded Powers

    ‘Maylene,’ Crasher Wake tried to comfort her, but to no avail. ‘Please, don’t be sad; I don’t like seeing you like this.’

    As much as he didn’t like seeing Maylene in tears that mixed with the rain, Crasher Wake’s voice remained the same loud one Maylene had always known, though the emotions behind it were different.

    ‘Talk to me, Maylene,’ Crasher Wake started repeating his words. ‘You can’t let yourself be alone. Maylene, please don’t be sad; I don’t like seeing you like this.’

    But again, it was useless. Maylene didn’t have the heart to talk, or the mind to comprehend what Crasher Wake was saying, all the while Riolu worked on suppressing his powers, and looking at Crasher Wake, he realised that the human had picked the wrong time to display a new emotion.

    Both of the ambitious children were facing a turning point in their lives, and it wasn’t an easy transition; having to let go of something they held on to since they were born was harder than they could have ever thought. Crasher Wake had to go through the same transition at a point in his life, but at that time, he had many friends to help him through it, and he was determined to be that friend to Maylene.

    And although he was determined to be there for the little girl, he knew that before he could help her, she had to take her time to grieve first.

    *


    ‘I will beat you! And be Gym Leader!’ The little Maylene said and punched again with her free hand. ‘I am strongest than you!’

    ‘I’m sure you are!’ Crasher Wake laughed and brought his whole body in level with Maylene’s. His eyes met her eyes, and the determination in them almost disturbed Crasher Wake’s balance. ‘I can tell that you’ll be the strongest. Strongest than all of us!’ He reached for his egg and handed it to Maylene. ‘This is yours. An early gift from me to you for becoming a Gym Leader in the future.’

    ‘That’s too generous,’ Maylene’s father said, tightening his grip on his daughter’s shoulder and pulling her back. ‘This is supposed to be your gift, not Maylene’s.’

    ‘How can she start training if she doesn’t have a Pokémon?’ Crasher Wake laughed as he looked around the room. ‘There are many youngsters in the room, and she has to start beating them all!’

    ‘How about we let the others in line congratulate you?’ Maylene’s father said as he slowly backed away, dragging his daughter with him, despite her resistance.

    They worked their way through the crowd, and sat back at their table, opposite a young girl that next to her mother shyly. Some people entered the room, while others left, all while Maylene studied them; she had to be stronger than all of them.

    Cynthia, Crasher Wake, and all the other people from Sinnoh seemed very different, and as she sat next to her father, Maylene tried figuring out how each of them battled. Cynthia was definitely strong. Her battles were impressive, and she’s one of the youngest Champions ever.

    ‘To be the Strongest, I have to defeat Cynthia,’ Maylene said, while her father smiled. ‘I have to be a Champion, not just a Gym Leader.’

    ‘That’s a very ambitious goal,’ her father’s smile fainted. ‘You don’t even know if you’ll become a Gym Leader; and that in itself is an impossible goal.’

    ‘You became a Gym Leader, daddy,’ Maylene said, believing that she had cornered her father. ‘You became a Gym Leader, and I am your daughter, so I have the potential.’

    ‘Not everyone has the potential,’ he said. ‘None of my parents were Gym Leaders, so obviously, it isn’t an ability that is inherited. You will have to work hard to be a Gym Leader, Maylene, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t have to aim to be like me.’

    ‘But I want to become the Strongest,’ Maylene said. ‘Will you train me? You’re strong!’

    ‘Maylene, stop it,’ her father said, his voice suddenly taking on a stern tone. ‘It is an impossible goal.’

    *


    ‘Hello, Maylene,’ Riley said softly as he approached the crying girl, holding an umbrella above his head. ‘May I sit next to you?’

    Maylene gave no answer. Her face remained buried between her knees, while Riolu signaled that it was safe for Riley to sit next to them. The rain was still falling and drenching the youngsters.

    ‘I have to tell you something, Maylene,’ Riley breathed heavily, his voice shaking; he had never encountered someone who wanted these powers he considered a curse so much. He sat next to Maylene, holding the umbrella high above her head, and prompting Riolu to come closer in order to be sheltered from the rain. ‘I know how much you want me to tell you that you have control over Aura; Crasher Wake told me, but I won’t lie to you, Maylene. You shouldn’t cry over this; being able to control Aura does not make you stronger, you would constantly have to hold back, as to not hurt yourself or your Pokémon, or your opponents, no matter who they are.’

    ‘But Pryce…’ Maylene tried talking, but her words were hard to understand. ‘He… he said…’

    ‘You met Pryce, huh?’ Riley let out a hum as he turned to face the horizon; Maylene must think highly of Pryce if his opinion meant that much. ‘Pryce is a very strong Trainer.’

    ‘Yeah!’ Maylene shouted, momentarily breaking away from her sad demeanor. ‘And if he thinks you’re strong, then you must be strong!’

    ‘But I’m not strong,’ Riley said. ‘Pryce is much stronger than me, and he can’t control Aura. You should aim to be like him, not like me. We battled so many times, yet I only won once.’

    A few moments of silence were filled by the sound of the rain crashing against the umbrella and the puddles. Maylene sunk back into her sadness, and ignored the world around her.

    ‘I’m not good at this,’ Riley murmured. ‘But I hope you will aim to be stronger than me, because you can.’

    As he got up to leave, he took one last glance at Maylene. He realised that there is nothing he could say that would comfort her; especially since he was the cause of the misery she was in.

    *


    ‘My dad says I can’t take the egg,’ Maylene told the large man in front of her. ‘He says it’s for you.’

    ‘That’s stupid!’ Crasher Wake shouted. ‘I thought you were going to become the Strongest! How will you do that if you keep listening to your dad?!’

    A girl sitting at a table close to the pair oohed, as if to prompt a fight, while Maylene pondered as hard as a girl her age could about not listening to her father; he couldn’t possibly stop her.

    ‘Right!’ Maylene shouted. ‘Give me the egg! You adults are weak against me!’

    ‘That’s more like it!’ Crasher Wake let out a loud laugh. ‘Don’t be afraid of anything in your way! Be like me, and don’t let an ocean stop you! If you see one, swim! If you see a mountain, climb!’

    ‘Yes!’ Maylene shouted as she grabbed the egg, reluctant to become a rebel; but at least for a moment, she would embrace this side of her. ‘As soon as the Pokémon hatches, we’re defeating you!’
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default §22: I Cannot See

    ‘She has such a blind faith in you, it’s scary,’ Riley said. ‘I really hope you will look out for her; she’s a great girl, but she is still a child.’

    ‘I will take care of her,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I will never stop!’

    Putting his hat back on, and grabbing the umbrella, Riley bid one last farewell to his friend as he left for whatever destination awaited him. As the door closed behind Riley, Crasher Wake called and informed Maylene’s mother that her daughter had fallen asleep, and that she will come back in the morning. Glancing back at his couch, he could say the tiny pink-haired girl sleeping deeply, still drenched in rain and covered in mud. Riolu was right by her side, fully awake, and staring in awe at his Trainer.

    The Pokémon had grown accustomed to sensing Maylene’s aura while he slept, constantly knowing that she was safe, but now that he had started suppressing his powers, trying to sleep without sensing the girl’s aura proved difficult. He had carried Maylene back to Crasher Wake’s house after she fell asleep as she cried, and now that her tears had stopped, Riolu was left with only the knowledge that she was sad.

    Whether her crying had eased her pain, or she had accepted the fact that she could not control her Aura, or refused to acknowledge what Riley had said was a mystery to Riolu. For a while he wished he could understand Maylene as much as Crasher Wake seemed to understand her. The human had learned her emotions, and built his knowledge regarding the girl without the use of any power.

    Giving up his Aura powers meant that Riolu knew his Trainer and her feelings as good as if he were a new capture.

    *


    As Cranidos smashed his hard skull against the rocks with joy at finally being surrounded by the place he was used to, Snorunt began to understand how he felt every time he visited them in Snowpoint. Swinub and her were used to the cold and the blizzards, and they liked the freezing weather as much as Cranidos liked the enclosed space of the Oreburgh Mine.

    Roark and Candice chatted away about trivial stuff that did not concern the Pokémon, but from what they overheard, the pair seemed to be planning a trip to the Canalave Library, and Snorunt was glad that she overheard a plan to invite Maylene along; it was time for the pair to forget their differences, and maybe even get in touch with Gardenia again.

    Cranidos delivered another blow to the wall of rock, a blow strong enough to throw him back in recoil, as if he had been punched away. Slowly getting up, Cranidos rubbed the dirt out of his eyes, and took a closer look at the wall, before letting out a shriek.

    The Head Butt Pokémon took on a battle stance, and shrieked again, drawing Roark’s attention, and startling the opponent. A lump of rock emerged from the wall, leaving behind a hole that perfectly matched the Geodude’s body. The Pokémon looked as if a boulder had grown two muscular arms, and a pair of determined, menacing eyes.

    ‘This is perfect,’ Roark said, taking his position behind Cranidos. ‘We’ll catch it! Start off with a Headbutt!’

    As if they were in perfect understanding of each other, Cranidos rushed to deliver his attack before his Trainer finished giving his order. Cranidos rushed head first to meet his opponent, who darted forward, welcoming the challenge.

    *


    Dawn crept slowly over Sinnoh, and Pastoria City was always be the last to see the light. The faint light shone through the window, and spread itself across the ceramic floor of Crasher Wake’s house, eventually climbing up the couch, and resting against Maylene’s eyes, as if willing her to wake up.

    Having had a very light sleep all night long, Riolu woke up as soon as he felt the brightness of the room increase, and saw Maylene still sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by the light that continued on past her head and rested against the wall behind her.

    Springing from the chair he spent the night on, Riolu walked towards the kitchen, where a few raw berries were always kept. Having spent a fair amount in this house, he knew that Crasher Wake wouldn’t mind, and grabbing a handful of berries, leaving enough for Crasher Wake’s Pokémon, Riolu started out of the house, and eventually left the Gym.

    As he had expected, Pastoria City was as dull as any foggy city would be in the start of the day. He made his way out to Route 212, and after eating the berries he had picked up, prepared to take on any challenge; he had to train as hard as he could to compensate for the powers he gave up.

    A croaking sound drew his attention to a blue Pokémon his height. He had orange cheeks, and yellow eyes that were surrounded by simple black markings, giving him a dead stare. His arms ended in three fingers, two of which were black, while the last was orange, and the Pokémon’s midsection seemed to be covered in bandages.

    Riolu identified the Pokémon as Croagunk, the mascot of Pastoria City, and a formidable opponent, perfect for Riolu to test his fighting. The Croagunk noticed his foe, and as if knowing that Riolu was a threat, prepared to receive an attack.

    The pair stood still for a few seconds, each trying to read the other’s move, but both failing to do so. As tempting as it was, Riolu was determined to not using his Aura powers, and he reminded himself of that with each passing second. And with each passing second, his heart would beat faster as Croagunk eyes became narrower; the Toxic Mouth Pokémon knew his opponent was nervous and inexperienced.

    With a dash and a quick turn, Croagunk sent mud flying towards Riolu’s eyes, leaving him desperately trying to clean them, and to see where his opponent was, when a punch hit him, and a shock of pain spread itself across Riolu’s right side. As he fell, Croagunk delivered another attack that sent Riolu rolling into a marshy area, defeated as quickly as he had challenged his opponent.

    Croagunk knew that the battle was over, and that Riolu, even if he had the power to fight back, did not have the will. As if pitying the Pokémon, he walked away, occasionally glancing back to satisfy and assure himself that he won that fight.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 10th October 2012 at 06:08 PM.

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