Rated Teen because some people die, but not in overly graphic manners. That is, of course, left up to the reader's imagination.
Disclaimer: I do not pretend to own pokemon or any of the characters associated with it.
I'm not one for overly long introductions, so I hope the prologue can do just that!
An old man with his top hat tipped low guided a young girl down the dimly lit hallways of Petalbug Gym. As he had expected, she had become nervous at the last minute before her new job would start.
“Grandpa,” she begged, “I really don’t want to do this! Can’t I just become a normal pokemon trainer like everyone else?”
The man looked down at his dark-haired granddaughter in a slight pity. It was not the fate he would have chosen for her either, but he had made a promise to the girl’s father that they would go through with it so that nobody else’s life could be ruined. He sighed at the thought of his son Archibald, who had left his daughter, quite young at the time, on his doorstep with the promise that he would “be back as soon as possible.” Eight years later and he had never returned, leaving Elea to be raised by her grandfather.
The old man suspected that she had never really recovered from that abandonment. She had been quite distant with him for a long time, but their relationship had slowly been improving over the last five years ever since he gave Elea her first pokemon on her tenth birthday.
“Elea,” he grabbed the girl by her shoulders, “your father was a good man, you have to understand that. He only needs us to do what is right. This whole situation should be over in less than a year and then I promise you can go out and become a pokemon trainer with your friends.”
If only I had some friends to do that with, she thought bitterly. Thanks to this ‘mission’ I’ve been holed up in your house for five years and you even know it, too.
They were standing in front of a door now with a name plate reading “Norman” on it. Above the doorway was a name that had been carved into the wood but attempts to scratch it out and paint over it left the writing unintelligible. Most likely it had been the name of the previous gym leader and Norman, being new, had not had time to completely renovate yet.
“Just leave me alone,” she growled in the lower-pitched voice she had been practicing to use. The older man nodded in understanding and proceeded to walk back down the hallway toward the exit.
Elea took in a deep breath, grabbing one of her two pokeballs from her belt and enlarging it. With a quick toss into the air, she released a small blue disc-like pokemon that floated beside her head.
“This is it, Bronzor,” she whispered to the pokemon. “It’s time for you to use Reflect.”
With one last long look at herself in Bronzor’s reflective surface, Elea closed her eyes as the psychic pokemon began bending the light waves around both of them. Bronzor hummed slightly next to her ear to signal that he was done with the adjustments, and Elea opened her eyes to find that she now had the appearance of a teenage boy. Most importantly, Bronzor was unable to be seen, along with its pokeball, lending to the idea that her only pokemon was a Slakoth.
She opened the door cautiously, only to find the man she recognized from pictures as the gym leader on the other side. He appeared to be an unassuming middle-aged man dressed in a track suit. The man’s steel grey eyes fell upon her with such a gentle gaze that Elea was actually startled.
I guess appearances can be very deceiving, she thought, stepping fully into the room. But if he wants to keep up the oblivious father act, it only makes my job easier.
“Ah, you must be the Trick Master’s grandson!” he spoke easily, as if they were already acquainted. “We’ve been expecting you. Your name is...”
“Jeremy,” she spoke quickly, using the deeper voice she had been trained in. “It will be an honor to serve as one of your new gym trainers.”
“Why don’t you take a seat next to Keith and Jordan?” Norman gestured to the two other boys sitting on the ground, each examining their own Slakoth.
They were of a similar age to Elea, and she made a conscious effort not to notice if either of them were attractive. This plan failed, of course, when Keith turned to give her a warm smile as she sat down next to him.
I’m a boy right now, I’m a boy right now, she repeated over and over, eventually deciding to give him little more than a nod of recognition. It occurred to her a second later that Bronzor could probably conceal her facial expressions as well, and she made a mental note to talk to him about it when they were alone later so she could steal covert looks at Keith.
Jordan, the skinnier of the two, looked at the newcomer curiously. Elea felt like he could see straight through her “Jeremy” disguise, and was not comforted at all by the way he gave her a suspicious look and then turned his attention back to Norman.
“I have been informed that you each have a Slakoth,” the gym leader cleared his throat to attract the teenagers’ collective attention. “I’ll use my own Slaking here to demonstrate the main battle strategy we will all be using.”
“Whoa! Did you just see that move?” Carter could feel the sleeve of his t-shirt being tugged on by his younger brother as he got excited after almost every move the pokemon were making.
Carter’s parents had decided to take a short family vacation to bond with their two children before they set out on their pokemon journeys within the next week. Their destination, of course, was Evergrande City’s famous Battle Tower. It had been no surprise at all to the fifteen-year-old blond, given how much his brother Emmett had talked about wanting to visit the Battle Tower for his entire life.
The tower itself did not have 100 floors as per the common perception, but rather one large battle arena where individuals or duos could attempt to get a 100-win streak. A two-tiered set of bleachers surrounded the arena, and was usually packed full of eager trainers and their friends come to watch. At the moment they were watching a trainer’s Grovyle beat the snot out of another’s Hariyama, who was far too slow to dodge the Leaf Blade attacks.
“Of course, when I get my Blaziken, neither of those pokemon will stand a chance!” Emmett grinned at his brother, who was older by two years. “You’re getting still Swampert, right, Carter?”
“No,” the blond rolled his eyes and stood up, pulling his orange shirt down over his belt as he did so. He considered it slightly embarrassing that he had a pokeball belt with no real pokemon to show for it, so this had become a repeated task over the vacation. “Next week when we go visit Uncle Birch, I will be getting a Mudkip and you will be getting a Torchic. They aren’t automatically the mindless battling machine you want, you know, you have to raise them to be.”
Emmett crossed his arms stubbornly with a soft “Hmmph” and focused his attention back on the battle at hand. Carter had been trying hard to teach him that having a pokemon wasn’t all about fighting, but their parents’ bad influence was apparently stronger than his own.
“Had enough yet?” the boys’ father returned to the bleachers with a bag of pretzels from the concession stand.
Speak of the devil...
“You’re getting impatient to get your pokemon and start training so you can be the one down there battling someday, right? I can just tell!”
There was really no use arguing with him, Carter had discovered long ago. The man really did have a one track mind when it came to what he wanted for his kids, and it would literally not register in his brain that maybe it wasn’t what they wanted for themselves. He was about to respond when his mother also returned with a small drink carrier bearing four bottles of soda.
“Oh, Richard, stop assuming you can read his mind!” the woman declared with a joking twinkle in her eyes. “I bet Carter was actually hoping he would meet some girls like that pretty Grovyle trainer down there!” She winked suggestively at her oldest son, who groaned and sat back down next to Emmett resignedly.
“So remember that battle with the Girafarig we saw earlier?” Emmett resumed his pokemon battling dialogue with Carter almost immediately. “It made me realize what a great strategy it is to use a pokemon with Baton Pass. I’m already trying to plan out which pokemon I’m going to catch...”
It never occurred to any of the other three Birches present that violence just for the sake of violence could be wrong. Whatever the point was of each trainer forcing their partners to fight just to determine who was “better”, it escaped Carter completely.
Yeah, he decided, It’s going to be hard to break the news to these people.
A blue spined seahorse pokemon leapt deftly out of the way of the impending Horn Attack of its opponent. Both pokemon slid across the slick plastic buoys of the battlefield and fell into the water below.
“Seadra, use your Smokescreen quickly!” shouted the water type’s trainer, adjusting her sunglasses as was her nervous habit. “Try and make Seaking chase after you!”
Seadra fired a black ball of ink through its snout at point blank range to temporarily daze the majestic orange fish before making a quick getaway toward one of the corners of the pool. The Seaking managed to find its way out of the cloudy water and began charging in the direction the seahorse had fled.
“Use your Fury Attack!” Seaking’s trainer called out, causing the pokemon to nod briefly and start to gather a white energy in its horn. The pokemon started a mad dash at Seadra, who waited patiently for a command.
Suddenly Seaking cried out in pain and stopped in midstroke as its body flashed purple for a split second. It was the opening Nia had been waiting for, so she cried out to her pokemon, “Now! Use your Headbutt!”
Springing into action, Seadra swam underneath where Seaking was writhing in pain and used its coiled up tail to propel its body upwards to smash into the goldfish’s stomach. The pokemon made no attempt to retaliate and floated up to the surface, unconscious in defeat.
“It was a good battle,” Nia walked around the edge of the pool to shake her opponent’s hand. “Once Seadra’s Poison Point activated, I knew I had it won, though.”
The gym trainer nodded in acknowledgement and stepped aside. “You are ready to face Wallace now. Good luck.”
The brown-haired girl began climbing a steep staircase up to where the Sootopolis Gym Leader resided, re-attaching Seadra’s pokeball to the small belt around her jean shorts. As she climbed, Nia reflected on her battle strategy.
Roselia’s Mega Drain is going to be my best shot, she thought. It’s best to keep to distance attacks such as that and Swellow’s Air Cutter. As a last resort I can try and use Seadra’s Headbutt to activate Poison Point again, but he needs some rest.
As Nia had assumed once she reached the top of the marble staircase, another battlefield based on a pool came into view. It was regulation-sized with a few plastic buoy platforms for pokemon such as Lombre to take advantage of. Nia had already made a special mental note to watch out for the Water/Grass hybrid, as it would give Roselia some issues. Large plate glass windows allowed the sun’s rays to reflect off the water in a manner that would surely disadvantage the challenger as opposed to the gym leader higher up. It was this leader’s platform that caught her attention immediately.
With a sharp gasp, Nia found herself right in the middle of a hostage situation. Two figures in blue outfits had Wallace pinned to the ground with a dangerous Mightyena snarling down at the gym leader’s bent over figure. Fortunately neither heard Nia’s sudden intake of air and remained focused on talking to Wallace.
“All we need is for you to hand us the pokemon we so desire,” the female of the duo smiled maliciously. “Or else Mightyena here will use Hyper Beam on the ceiling and kill everyone as it falls in.”
Wallace gasped and tried to struggle out of the other’s grip. Unfortunately, he was no match for the tall muscular man who appeared to exert very little effort to hold the gym leader still.
“Matt, let him up,” the woman continued after a moment. “He’s not so stupid as to endanger every person in this gym.”
The blue-suited man gave one last grunt and allowed Wallace to scramble to his feet. The gym leader glanced at his pokeball belt and slowly reached his hand down to grab one of them. Nia was too frozen with shock to do anything at all at the moment, so she silently stood on the challenger’s end of the field, immobilized. Wallace looked out across the gym one last time, happening to catch Nia’s eye, at which point the girl’s heart started pounding out of control in fear.
“Find Steven Stone,” he said very clearly. “Tell him they’re back.”
“You bastard!” the man who had been referred to as Matt growled. “Mightyena, Poison Fang!”
The black and white canine pokemon leaped at Wallace, jabbing its fangs straight into his neck. The Sootopolis Gym Leader collapsed to the ground, and Nia was finally able to react. She screamed at the top of her lungs and called out Swellow.
“Stop the girl!” Matt bellowed. “Shelly, use your pokemon!”
“Air Cutter on that window!” Nia commanded her pokemon, thinking rapidly of an escape. “Hurry!”
Swellow shot forth a series of air bursts that shattered the glass. Before it could even look back to Nia, she had leaped forward and grabbed the bird’s talons, screaming and pointing out through the open window.
The flying type, unused to its trainer’s weight, managed to sail outside but promptly crashed into the lake below. As Nia swapped out Swellow for Seadra, she heard a massive rumbling noise and watched as the stone walls and ceiling of the Sootopolis Gym vibrated and then crumbled inward.
Nia swore she could hear the screams of the dozens of trainers inside that she had fought only moments ago, their pokemon poisoned and injured to the point that they might not be able to protect their trainers from the falling debris.
With a sick feeling in her stomach, she commanded Seadra to dive so that she could exit Sootopolis City quickly and begin searching for this Steven person. The brown-haired girl tried not to think much about the fact that stopping further terrorist attacks was solely up to her, and instead watched the surface of the water as chunks of rock began to rain in behind her.
Re: Breaking Free
That was quite an interesting start. I do find it a bit odd how Nia seemed to be a strategist, yet had only three Pokémon to rely on; even if she had more, I would imagine that a strategist like her would have more option in case one of them failed, but that's about the only issue I take with the Prologue.
Keep it up.
Re: Breaking Free
OMG I did not remember that I had posted such an early draft of this... is it possible for me to PM a mod to delete this thread?! -.-