MATURE: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

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Thread: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

  1. #1
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    This story is rated Mature for some scenes of intense violence and maybe be disturbing for some readers. It also deals with some mature themes like death, euthanasia, and disablement. My intention in this story is to create a more realistic, more mature world based on the one the anime has created as well as an implementation of a few mechanics from the game.

    I have already written an appendix for this story and it is in the Author’s Atlas for those who are interested.

    Thank you for your time and I hope you will enjoy and give feedback as you see necessary.

    Cycles of Life:
    A Pokémon Story

    “For everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven:”

    Chapter 1
    The fire crackled softly as the dry oak was slowly consumed. The light from the flames danced across the small clearing like fairies in a long, slow ballet. The orange pallor covered the fading leaves of oak and maple and with the strong scented pines. I smiled happily as I leaned back against a log placed for comfort near my campfire. The chill autumn air was wonderful, bitter maybe, but the fire kept off the chill. I looked up to the sky and saw thousands of stars, the bright wondrous pinpoints of light, so high above and a half moon, fading to darkness once again. It would fade to nothing before coming again to full brightness, one of the many cycles of life, to add another rich layer of beauty to one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    As silent as death, a shadow crept up from the woods, striding confidently on four long powerful legs. The fire threw its light upon the shaggy shape as it approached, but it was only swallowed up by its darkness. The only light that was seen came from two red irises glaring back through the smoke. I took a book that had been in my leathery hands and set it upon the log behind me as the shadow approached.

    It rounded the campfire watching me intently and then as it was finally around the fire it threw itself forward bodily, slamming a heavy shoulder through my outstretched arms. “Shade!” I said through a laughing fit as the big male Mightyena tackled me to the ground. A long, slimy wet tongue took a good slurp across my face. I pushed back, got my arms around the pokémon’s big shaggy chest, and heaved barely getting Shade off his feet and to the ground. He growled, a sound that to anyone who didn’t know him, would make them think he was about to take my head off, so ferocious did it sound. It ended though in nothing but him lying there as I rubbed his body down hard with my strong hands and his back leg kicked in satisfaction. His muscles were tight, no doubt from the long hours of hiking and hunting we’d been through the last week.

    Two more shapes, furies of grey and black fur bounded the log behind Shade and me. They both ignored me, but hit Shade in the side as he was righting himself. With their combined strength, the two Poochyena barely managed to knock over their stronger counterpart. Shade growled again, but still playful in his tone. The Poochyena yipped, yowled, and clamored as they bite and tugged at him and each other. I laughed again as they rolled in the dirt a little more, finally as suddenly as it began, Shade stood up, the two pups dropping off his back and he gave a guttural growl with a sharp bark at the end the two Poochyena obeyed as best they could, with whimpers and downcast ears and eyes.

    Shade strode up and sat down next to me and accepted a scratch behind the ear. “Good boy,” I said as I scratched.

    “Good job, you two, those were good tackles,” I said to the two Poochyena. They yapped playfully and wagged their bushy grey tails in pleasure before turning on each other and disappearing in another playful tangle of limbs and fur. I just shook my head. “Kids will be kids, huh?”

    Shade nodded his head sharply as he watched them. There was pride in his eyes, I could tell, and he had reason to be proud. They were two of his own brood, pups that showed particular promise for battle, and they had been brought along on our hunting trip to run through their paces. They still had a long time to go before they were completely fighting fit for an even a proper gym battle, but they were improving.

    I had put a lot of effort into finding Shade the proper breeding dames for good strong pups, and I’ve had good success. They’ve always been strong and healthy, some fetching a rather good price from trainers, breeders, and contest coordinators, but I had yet to capture Shade’s most incredible aspect in any of his prodigy.

    His color.

    Shade, except for his sharp red eyes and silver claws, was completely melanistic. His coat was the darkest black one could ever find and wasn’t broken by even a hair of another color. It was stark, completely breathtaking, and in battle, absolutely intimidating. It was his color, well beyond his battle capabilities, which were formidable in and of themselves, that I coveted more than anything else, and I had yet to capture in his descendants.

    His coat, along with his attitude, was what drove me to catch him as a Poochyena almost ten years ago. He had taken to robbing my camp in the middle of this very same forest outside of Mistralton City when I was here hunting for male Tranquill to pair with my female Unfezant. I knew something was getting into my tent, but for the life of me I could never find it. It was his color that hid him so well at night, because he disappeared like a spirit, a shade, in the dark. I finally caught him with my old Charizard, after lighting up the night with a sunny day, startling the tar out of Shade. But it was then he did the gutsiest and possibly dumbest thing I’ve ever seen a wild pokémon do. He attacked Pyra, my empress of fire, on whose mighty back I rode through my Champion League career into the immortality of Master of the Unova League, with an all out bite attack. Shade didn’t get close to her neck with those gleaming canines and with one flick of her arm she knocked him out stone cold.

    So began the incredible adventure of training Shade, but that’s a tale that’s too long for now.

    “Did you find him, old boy?”

    Shade fixed me with those red eyes, a slight fiery gleam underneath them, like he was slightly offended by me, either for calling him old, or questioning his tracking abilities. He nodded his big head again. “MiiiiiGHT.”

    “His nesting spot?”
    Shade nodded again.

    I smiled. “Good. Get to sleep, Shade. This hunt ends tomorrow.”

  2. #2
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Chapter 2
    The woods were incredibly silent this morning. The bird pokémon were not busy at their songs, the tunes of kricketots and other bugs were ending or yet to begin. Only the blowing of the autumn breeze and the rustling leaves could be heard as I crouched in a thicket of mulberry bushes. The two Poochyena, both antsy with anticipation but dutifully silent, sat with me. I had named the two Gray and Blue, for their eyes, though I’m reluctant to permanently name any of the pups I have, because many will be sold or traded, and they should get their own names from their own trainers, but a few get ones that stick well.

    They did their best though to remain as still and as patient as I was being, though to be honest, I was feeling just as antsy as they were. My fingers were tingling, my eyes burned from lack of blinking, my breathing was quicker, and my heart beat hard enough I was afraid our quarry would hear it in my chest. The end was near.

    In the clearing beyond our veil, grazed five Deerling, in their autumn colors, orange fur on white underbellies and a yellow leaf pattern on its head and yellow spots on their rumps. They were obviously yearlings at most, some younger than that, born this spring most likely. But it wasn’t yearlings I was after. They would have made good training for the pups, but when I bring Shade, I’m always aiming at a bigger trophy.

    Standing amongst the Deerling, grazing on grass, was one of the largest and most impressive specimens of Sawsbuck I have ever seen. He stood a good six feet at the shoulder alone, maybe seven and half total counting to the tips of his antlers, which were loaded down with thick red and brown leaves. The muscles in his shoulders rippled as he ducked his head to feed. These Deerling most assuredly belonged to him, I had a hunch that maybe all of the Deerling in this forest belong to him, so dominant a presence he seemed to be.

    I had first seen this particular Sawsbuck last year, while just simply camping, and watched as he fended off two challengers to his territory and his females at once. The two younger Sawsbuck didn’t have a prayer, and soon found out that he was more than a match for both of them. The far more impressive feat, the one that stuck in my mind however, happened later that week as Shade and I continued to follow him as best we could and not get noticed. The Sawsbuck was at a little brook quenching his considerable thirst with a few of his Deerling fawns around, much like today. Shade and I were enjoying the view, when Shade’s ears pricked and he growled a sound that meant only one thing.

    An ursaring exploded from the trees above the Sawsbuck and his fawns and barreled down the hill with every intent on slaughter. He reared up, claws glowing in a slash attack that was meant for disassembling and disemboweling, not a simple knock out. The deerling it had been aiming at had just enough time to duck under the swing and begin to run. Before the ursaring could take another swing, the Sawsbuck, its body sheathed in sparks, crashed into the ursaring with a wild charge. The ursaring got to its feet with a roar and instead of taking the hint charged the Sawsbuck, another slash swinging down. The Sawsbuck dodged with an incredible grace to the side, and launched up suddenly for a jump kick. The ursaring was faster than he had expected and it threw up a paw, batting the Sawsbuck upward, past the ursaring, and into the embankment and a pine tree instead. The Sawsbuck laid for a long moment, considerably wounded, as the ursaring rounded, it’s arms beginning to glow, a hammer arm attack preparing, and Shade and I both knew the end was near.

    Ursaring let a roar and came in, and stopped short and a let loose a strange, high warbling moan as an accompanying high screech filled the air. The Sawsbuck had fought to his feet and stuck his horns against the ursaring’s stomach. They glowed pale green, signature of a horn leech. The effects where noticeable, as the scratches and bruises on the Sawsbuck’s body repaired and the ursaring slumped to its knees. The Sawsbuck backed up once he was finished and began to climb the embankment to leave when the ursaring rose again, roared, and launched another fateful hammer arm. This time however because of the toll taken by a wild charge, a horn leech, and the slow speed of the hammer arm, the ursaring was simply too slow to intercept the jump kick. Sawsbuck slammed its sharp front hoof into its enemies face with its whole body weight, snapping the hibernator pokémon’s head back. Sawsbuck landed easily on the far side of the creek, while the ursaring rolled down the embankment, limp into the brook, and stopped. The Sawsbuck looked at the ursaring a moment longer, snorted, and walked away.

    Shade and I sat a little longer, watching the ursaring lying in the brook, expecting it to get up sooner or later. But the brook soon began to flow up and around the dam created by its body, and Shade and I ventured a look. It didn’t take much inspection to realize that it was one ursaring that would never get up from a battle ever again…

    Ever since that moment, I knew I had to catch this warrior of the woods. The strength, power, and will of this Sawsbuck were unsurpassed, and he had been the lord of this forest long enough. It was time for change. Though, knowing I was using three dark type pokémon to bag a pokémon that sported such a ferocious jump kick attack did fill me with a certain amount of dread. I knew Shade could handle one, or would at least be fast enough to dodge one, but I wasn’t too sure about Blue or Grey. Deaths in catching wild pokémon were rare, it was true, except in cases of battling a wild pokémon far stronger than its trained opponent, but every attempt was not without its risks.

    Two red eyes appeared on the far side of thicket. Shade was in position. He was a beautiful hunter, in the wild he would have eventually made a fine pack leader, where hunting sawsbuck, stantler, maybe even tauros and boufflant would have become his trademarks. It was time to go. The moment of truth, where everything either executes perfectly, or falls to pieces right before your eyes, had come.

    “Go! Grey and Blue!” I whispered. The poochyena burst from the bushes, barking, yapping, growling, and generally making as much commotion as possible. The deerling noticed immediately and gave out cries of alarm, but the Sawsbuck just stared at them. He was not impressed. “SAWS!” He yelled and stamped his feet. The poochyena both growled doing their very best to sound as intimidating as their father. Once again the Sawsbuck was not impressed. He stamped his feet, snorted, and before I had a chance to even issue another order, a shadow ball formed between his antlers. Instinct kicked in at that point as the black and purple energy ball issued forth at Grey and Blue and they separated, the attack flying into the mulberry bush which I had to dive out of to avoid. I sincerely suggest never getting hit by shadow balls.

    The Sawsbuck saw me rolling in the grass and suddenly his demeanor changed. He huffed and stamped his feet again and the deerling who had been up to that point standing and watching took off into the trees. He appraised me with a stare, and I did the same. Our eyes met, and we both saw the reality of matter. One of us was going to lose today.

    Blue and Grey where still yapping and snarling, but the Sawsbuck never turned much attention to them. He just watched me. “Well, Sawsbuck, I’ve been very impressed, and have watched you for a long time. I think it’s time you decided to join my team and come with me.”

    Sawsbuck grunted, stamped his feet, and roared a challenge. “Sawsbuck!!!”

    Told you it was never that easy, Ketchum. “Okay then, Shade, use take down!”

    Sawsbuck faced the two poochyena, expecting the attack to come at any moment from either of them, but never from the right, with a couple hundred pound pokémon leading with his shoulder at full speed. Shade hit true, going right through with such momentum, that while the Sawsbuck was rolling on its back, Shade had time to find his stride again and wheel around for another run at it.

    The poochyena were no longer making any noise and even I was speechless at the incredible display of power and grace. However, Sawsbuck must have learned in his years in the wild, that being awestruck got you killed, or captured. He was up and his glowing green horns were sweeping around for a horn leech.

    “Shade, dodge to the left and then follow up with another take down.” Shade shifted ever so slightly to the left and the swing of the horns went wide over the top of his back. Instead of continuing his long gait, Shade stopped, coiled his body up like a spring, and launched another take down into the Sawsbuck’s side. It didn’t have nearly the momentum, or the grace, but it put the Sawsbuck down again, though this time, his hooves were flying and at least one caught Shade in the hip, causing him to bark in pain. Shade distanced himself ever so slightly and prepared again.
    “Crunch! GO!” My palms were sweaty now as I reached for the ultra ball in my back pocket. Yeah, maybe not as finessed as a pokéball, but I didn’t want to miss. Shade growled in response and charged, mouth open, teeth glowing, elongating, and broadening, his mouth becoming a glowing deathtrap. The Sawsbuck got to his feet and launched, to my despair, a jump kick right at Shade’s head.

    Images of the Ursaring flashed through my head, I was about to call him off when I realized it was too late, both pokémon where too fast and too keen on their targets, to stop them. I had to trust Shade.

    Bodies impacted with a thud, none of this Hollywood magic of both passing by each other and one eventually falling. They collided, I saw the hoof hit Shade in shoulder, much better that his head, but super effective and painful all the same. “Migghht—rrr-yeNA!” Shade roared an instant later, his crunch coming down on the Sawsbuck’s neck near his chest, and with a twist of his powerful body and neck, he threw the Sawsbuck down. The Sawsbuck was clearly down, Shade was standing, but his left shoulder clearly pained him, and he refused to put his paw done. He looked at me and growled.

    I suddenly remembered my part, flushed, and took out the ultra ball. “Pokéball, go!” I threw the guided capture compartment at the Sawsbuck. It hit and a red glow encapsulated him and swallowed him up inside a ball no larger than a baseball. The yellow and black ultra ball sat there, shook and warbled three times, and came to stop with a satisfying ping. That sound, and the moment of picking up a ball with a brand new pokémon inside, was absolutely incredible and it had never lost its magic, ever since I caught my first Patrat almost fifteen years ago.

    I sat in the grass as Grey and Blue ran up and inspected Shade. I hissed when I felt his shoulder. He growled at my touch, the jump kick had caught him solid and the bruise was going to be extremely bad. “You’re gonna be a little slow for a few days.” I removed my back pack to find a potion or moo moo milk. I removed a small bottle of moo moo milk, and super potion for the bruise.

    Shade growled and glared at me. “Hey, it’s either drink up, and let me apply this, or you go home in your pokéball.” I removed his red and white sphere, emblazoned with his name to reinforce the point.

    “Yena.” He spat and looked away. I felt the growl in his throat and felt his muscles shudder in pain when I applied the super potion but the muscle bruising would begin to improve pretty quickly.

    I poured the moo moo milk into three small bowls, the largest, and most full for Shade, while Gray and Blue each received a small portion as well, to replenish their energy as well as a treat.

    I sat and watched them. My pokémon, my friends, and knew in my heart I would do anything in the world for them. I looked at the ultra ball in my hand as well, knowing the task of training and taming a new companion was about to begin as well. The cycles would continue, just as they always have.

  3. #3
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Chapter 3

    “Hello, this is Jim Burning of the Pokémon Championship League Network. I’m here with my colleague, the esteemed ten year Master of the Unova region and two time World Pokémon Master, Michael Hawkins.” Jim said in his general commercial break tone.

    “We return to the final match of the 2012 World Tag Team Championships between the returning champion team of Ash Ketchum and Paul Miyazaki and the brother sister team of Wesley and Samantha Gillaspie. Both teams are vying for the World Tag Team Championship and the honor of being considered the number one seed for rest of the year as the World Tag Team Champions. The match is tied at two apiece as we prepare to enter the final match between the teams for the tie breaker.’
    ‘Michael, its been an incredible battle with both teams and their pokémon committing to everything with all that they have had to give. What do you think of the battle thus far and what should we expect in this very intense final round?” Jim asked and looked in my direction in the telecast booth, finally taking his eyes away from the camera.

    “Well, its been what we expected from Ash and Paul. They’ve fought hard and cohesively though I think when the opening coin toss nominated Paul for the pole position, they were at sort of a disadvantage. Paul’s strategic battle style has suffered. They won the first match behind the impressive aerial display of honchkrow and unfezant, which despite suffering type disadvantages still won with neither suffering a hit.” I said, “however, despite the fact they were incredibly outmatched and blown away in the first round the Gillaspie’s haven’t faltered under the pressure. The second round showed some fighting spirit when they put down Paul’s gastrodon and Ash’s sceptile with their beartic and alakazam.”

    So, welcome to my job, color broadcaster for the Pokémon Championship League Network, or PCLN for short. My partner, the legendary Jim Burning, with a voice as deep as a blastoise‘s, wore glasses now as his age was catching up to him, but his golden tongue was yet to fail him at nearly seventy. He had been a trainer early on his life, but it never amounted to anything very spectacular and later began to doing play by play for pokémon tournaments as well as other sporting events, and every single battle seemed as incredible and as wondrous as when he must have been seven.

    It was nice job all things considered, I’m not a huge talker, but I’m also the color guy so I don’t have to be. I also get to be involved with a world that held my rapt attention for nearly twenty five years of my life, from a kid with a pokémon plush toy sitting in front of a T.V. screen watching legends like Koga and Lorelia duel each other, to the wide-eyed way over his head trainer standing in a huge coliseum, to Michael Hawkins, World Pokemon Master, truly one of the very best. Personally, I also enjoy the job because I can keep tabs on the way the world of pokémon battles are changing and shifting, and stars like Ash and Paul, who I remembered battling on my own time in their early Champion’s League career.

    “The third match was dropped by Ash and Paul as well, I think to the surprise of most our stadium crowd.” Jim smiled at the camera, a perfect white smile with a just hint of intrigue.

    I let out a slight laugh, “You could say that, Ash’s newly evolved Garchomp has been the stuff of legends the last few times its been on the battlefield in mainstream competition, but even when teamed with the very defensive Aggron, the tandem couldn’t manage the victory over Wesley’s Emboar and Samantha’s Gorebyss.”

    “Well, Ash did get a little ahead of himself getting such separation from Aggron and his Paul’s defensive strategy and no one expected Gorebyss to be so incredibly accurate with that blizzard attack. Poor Aggron couldn’t handle Emboar in hand to hand combat.” Jim observed. “It could have cost them the match.”

    “It may still,” I said as looked at Burning. “But I think we can both agree that the following match was maybe one of the best hand to hand combat matches we have ever seen on this network. Paul’s Electrivire and Ash’s Infernape completely showed off a teamwork as cohesive as their trainers, a bond that we saw formed before these very cameras almost ten years ago. Forged in fire and as sharp as steel.”

    “Never truer words, Michael. But you know it irked the two of them to use them so soon. They wanted to use them as the coup de gras but situations forced their hands which will make this next battle so intriguing. Anyway, Electrivire and Infernape brawled with Wesley’s Golem and Samantha’s Rhydon with Electrivire delivering a final brick break from a one knee to bring down Golem, Wesley’s strongest pokémon.

    “So the match is set. Each trainer has two pokémon remaining in their parties but they will only be able to use one of them. We are set, lets turn our attention to the field.”

    All attention turned to the referee and the battlefield below. All the trainers were standing in their boxes. Paul and Ash dressed comfortably, not too differently than they ever had in their earlier years, though those had passed them by nearly ten years ago. The Gillaspie siblings were remarkably similar. Both had long red hair, though Samantha’s was curly while Wesley’s was straight as a board, tall, dressed immaculately in what appeared to be business suits. It matched the way they carried out battle though, no matter how strange it appeared to me.

    “Trainers, select your pokémon!” The referee announced from his judges podium.

    From our viewpoint in the stadium it’s difficult to hear exactly what each trainer says especially when a crowd is roaring except when we can place one of our special microphones in the trainer’s box. However that’s saved for times of conversation, not simple announcements, and it was time to be paying attention to the battler’s anyway. The choice of pokémon would be obvious anyway.

    Paul, chosen first by a toss of a coin at the beginning of the match, threw out his pokeball. “And Paul has decided to start the final round with his drapion!” Jim Burning excitedly announced.

    “Interesting choice considering that toxic spikes do not last all round in a tag team match, meaning he loses the inherent strategic advantage in drapion’s move set.” I said.

    Wesley and Samantha threw out their pokémon next. “Wesley has decided to go with his tauros and Samantha had chosen metagross.”

    I cringed. “Samantha has made drapion nearly useless in this battle against her! The steel-psychic combination will be practically impossible for Paul to overcome, and metagross is her best pokémon. She wants this badly. Ash’s next pokémon would be crucial. It was too bad he had already used both garchomp and infernape.”

    Ash stood there for a moment before nodding to Pikachu, sitting on his shoulder. Pikachu’s lightning bolt tail stuck in the air and then he leapt of Ash’s shoulder and ran into the battlefield. “And Ash chooses his old trusty Pikachu!” Burning announced, “An interesting choice all things considered because Pikachu doesn’t have a type advantage against any of the pokémon in the battle at the moment.”

    Paul turned to Ash and the two began to converse, with very unpleased look on Paul’s face. Jim was still talking, going on about the match up, when I flicked off my headset real fast and asked if we could get the feed from Ash and Paul’s trainer’s box. The technician nodded and gave me an okay sign. Two familiar voices filled my head phones. I smiled.

    “Pikachu! Why’d you choose Pikachu?” Paul asked heatedly. “I could seriously use some help against that metagross.”

    “Pikachu can handle himself just fine. I don’t have any pokémon that would be effective against it either. We’ll just have to show we won’t lose.” Ash Ketchum countered with his normal confidence.

    Paul sighed, shaking his head in frustration and finally regained a little composure. “Doesn’t matter, you take care of metagross then and I’ll take down that tauros.”

    “Don’t you worry about me, Paul.” I could hear the smile in Ash’s voice.

    “And Paul and Ash appear to be arguing in the Trainer’s box! Could their team work be falling apart?” Burning declared excitedly, as he listened as well.

    “They’ll be just fine, Jim. No good team exists without just a little friction. Keeps you sharper.”

    “Whatever you say.” Jim said as he focused on the field. “The referee signals go and we are off! Pikachu takes off in a flash of speed with a quick attack while metagross is shining brilliantly because of a harden attack. drapion and tauros are both charging each other full speed!”

    “Pikachu collides with metagross but with no discernable damage to the huge pokémon while drapion’s cross poison has stopped tauros’ take down attack cold, but both pokémon are pushing hard at each other.”

    Metagross’ left forelimb began to glow a hot yellow and it swung in menacingly at Pikachu. Pikachu reacted with the normal grace and agility he had proven to have. “And Pikachu narrowly dodges a meteor mash from metagross and has redirected it’s momentum toward Wesley’s tauros, which is still pushing away at drapion.” There went Pikachu a blaze of light trailing behind its quick attack, a sly, perfect maneuver to both damage the tauros and allow drapion a much needed upper hand. A flash of purple light surrounded Pikachu and he diverted his course, and smashed headlong into drapion instead of tauros.

    “What? What happened?” Burning announced in amazement.

    “Metagross used psychic to redirect Pikachu’s quick attack, using Pikachu’s own incredible speed to hurt drapion. Samantha just killed two birds with one stone.” I explained as best I could in the time allowed because Wesley’s tauros was bearing down on the two down pokémon. It raised up on its two hind legs with a stomp attack that would for sure finish the match.

    “It looks over for the both of them now!” Jim screamed. “Wait! No! I don’t believe-“

    “Amazing!” I shouted, my own emotions, sheer surprise taking over, “Ash ordered his Pikachu at the last moment to use an iron tail on Tauros’ hind legs completely sweeping the larger pokémon off his feet on to the ground. Incredible awareness.”

    “Drapion strikes now with a direct hit cross poison attack and has thrown Tauros across the battlefield! Wait… Yes! Tauros in unable to battle! What an incredible turnaround.”

    “Pikachu is charging in on ,etagross as it desperately missed a flash cannon attack. drapion is back on the offensive with a pin missile attack as Pikachu is charging up an iron tail this looks like trouble for the slower metagross.” I did my best attempt at play by play, such was the nature of Tag team battles, that sometimes things went so quickly you had to both start going at once.

    The pin needle attack however never reached metagross. “Oh my goodness! Pikachu is now dodging drapion’s pin needle attack as metagross has redirected it with psychic. What an impressive display of skill from Samantha and her very well trained metagross.”

    “It could be a serious problem for Paul if drapion cannot connect with a pin missile as the rest of his attacks are completely useless because of metagross steel type characteristics.” I said.

    “Well, Pikachu seems to taken some damage from that pin missile attack, and metagross has gained some swag- OH! Metagross has just connected square on with a flash cannon to drapion! Drapion is knocked out. We are now one on one, Pikachu versus metagross, here we go.”

    “Size and strength obviously go to metagross, but Pikachu is faster for sure and no one should ever underestimate it’s will to win.” I followed Burning again.

    “The stand off ends, and Pikachu is charging again, sheathed in its own electrical energy and the volt tackle hits head on, but metagross had used another harden as well so the damage has been decreased significantly. metagross is moving in with meteor mash and Pikachu dodges one, two, thr- No! metagross clips Pikachu with that last one throwing him skyward! It could all be over. Psychic throws Pikachu across the arena toward the wall!”

    Match. I was sure of that. But above the din of the crowd and Burning yelling into his microphone you could hear Ash yell like he had so many times, “PIKACHU!”

    The crowd erupted in another peal of amazement and Burning just started shouting, “I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it!” Pikachu had managed to redirect himself as to catch himself against the wall with his tail and with grace and ease that was almost too incredible for words, sprung off the wall and landed gracefully on the ground and charged in again. “Pikachu scores another direct hit with a volt tackle but once again the damage seems inconsequential. Meteor mash again. metagross just keeps coming but Pikachu just keeps dodging. Oh my gosh, metagross is down, how in the world? It swung wide and fell over itself…”

    “Another amazing tactical move by Ash and Pikachu. Ash used iron tail to deflect that last meteor mash and it carried metagross over Pikachu with it’s own momentum. He’s not king of the Battle Pyramid for nothing, Jim.”

    “That’s for sure, and now Pikachu scores a direct hit with thunderbolt and… It’s over! Pikachu has won it and Ash and Paul have carried the day! Incredible. With that win they have successfully defended their number one seeding as the best pokémon tag team in the world! Absolutely incredible!” Jim Burning shouting was soon drowned out by the screams of the crowds. Chants of “ASH” and “PAUL” flooded the arena. Pikachu ran up to Ash and leapt to his chest as he laughed and Paul smiled proudly. He scratched Pikachu behind the ear.

    Wesley and Samantha remained by her fallen metagross, as it lay on the ground, disappointment still clear in its eyes. Samantha stroked its face lovingly saying something to it as Wesley watched on. Ash and Paul approached and our microphone finally got close enough.

    “That was an amazing battle you guys. You are a great team.” Ash said as he reached out his hand to Wesley.

    Wesley took it. “Thank you, its no wonder why you two are the best.”

    Wesley shook Paul’s hand as well, “Thanks,” He said in reply, “keeping training hard and you’ll be back here next year.” Paul, ever the man of few words, even with another championship victory.

    Samantha finally rose with her metagross and brushed the hair out of her eyes and smiled. “Thank you for your battle. metagross and I commend both you and your Pikachu.”

    “Thanks,” Ash replied and Pikachu smiled and shouted, “Pikachu!” Metagross hummed quietly in the background.

    “Michael, what are your thoughts after this incredible championship match?” Jim Burning interrupted my listening. He had been droning on about the match and summarizing everything that had occurred for any viewers that had missed something.

    I reentered my job slowly before looking into the camera. “This was an incredible battle for all the trainers and pokémon involved. Every single trainer should be proud of the effort their pokémon put forth and the dedication they all applied. Today I think though, all told we saw an excellent example of exactly why Ash’s Frontier symbol is the Will symbol.”

    “Indeed, how about some insight on what we saw from his partner Paul today? He seemed sort of uncomfortable. His strategies weren’t nearly as precise, and he seemed to have a difficulty coping with the pole position throughout the match.” Burning led nicely into another question, keeping my mind turning.

    “Yes, I would agree he was struggling out of the pole position which is albeit the toughest position to battle from in a tag team match because you will almost always be suffering at least one type disadvantage if not two. But in general he did not seem nearly as sharp today. He was still masterful enough though to help his team secure a title defense a very difficult thing to do.”

    Burning nodded as he looked back to the camera. “Very well said by my partner. We will now be headed back to our head station in Indigo Plateau where our team of broadcasters will pick you up and bring coverage of the trophy ceremony. This is Jim Burning and Michael Hawkins signing off from the Mistralton stadium.” The camera light turned off and I breathed out.

    “Well, Hawkins, that’s a wrap. Thanks for the assist.” Jim smiled.

    “Always a pleasure, Jim. So are you gonna come for dinner tomorrow before you fly back to Vermillion City?”

    “I think I will. I haven’t seen your wife and kids since the last tag team tournament. A good home cooked meal can’t be beaten either.” Burning rose from his chair and removed his headset.

    “Sounds great. I’ll tell Holly to set a place for you. It will be good as always.”

    Jim gave a hearty chuckle, “Excellent, just what I wanted to hear.” He stretched his legs. His knees popped. “Oh! Ow. Heh, never get old son. Things never get better when they age. I feel like I just took an iron tail across the knees. From a steelix.”

    I grimaced remembering one particular battle against a particular steelix. That had been a tough one and ever since I never dared take on a steelix toe-to-toe physically. “Well, age always catches up to us sooner or later. We can’t stay young forever.”

    “Yes, yes.” Burning smiled. “But we can enjoy while it lasts, eh boy? Well, I’m getting outta here. Skyla promised to treat me to good a dinner and I never turn a good gym leader or a pretty woman down. Besides, it’s only been three months since her grandfather passed.” Burning’s tone turned to reminiscence.

    I nodded slowly and sadly. “Good man. Sorely missed.”

    Burning sighed. “Indeed, Master Hawkins, indeed. Just another cycle in the coil I guess.”

  4. #4
    Registered User BlackGroudon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Pretty cool, I like the way you've written this so far. Keep it up.



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  5. #5
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Thank you very much. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Chapter 4
    The trainer’s locker room was all noise and champagne and partying as the victory party ensued. I stood by my locker, thankfully clear of most of the chaos, as trainers, news crews, coaches, and other miscellaneous people talked and shouted and hooted. I shook my head as I flipped out the lock on my locker. Craziness.

    I was the only reporter on this level that wasn’t carrying a microphone. I was done for the day, but pokémon trainers are a tight fraternity, especially once you reach the Champion’s League. So even now, retired from battling as I am, I have my locker down on the Trainer’s level where I frequently find starry-eyed trainers dying to talk to me. Most the reporters find it infuriating, much to my pleasure, that the trainers will personally seek me out but never say a word to them. But such is the privilege earned by standing in their very shoes, under the bright lights, with thousands of screaming fans cheering, booing, wishing, or cursing you, and you alone standing in the trainer’s box with six pokémon on your belt. Only they can help bear the burden, and together upon that battlefield, you either rise above the ashes, or become them yourselves.

    I found myself suddenly gazing into my locker aimlessly, my hand just resting on my backpack which had my wallet and keys. A sudden movement of yellow and brown on the bench in front of my alerted me from my trance like state and I looked down to see a very familiar face looking up at me.

    “Pika!” He said in a happy voice. Pikachu held a happy smile on his face despite the fact there was champagne in his fur in places. He chattered away as I sat on the bench.

    “Hey, Pikachu,” I patted his head between the ears. “Good work today, buddy, you fought well. You should be proud.”

    “Pi-pika-pi-pikachu-chu.” He gestured toward Ash, who stood talking with a few trainers who had stayed to watch the finals.

    I smiled. “Yes, you should be proud of him, too.” I scratched Pikachu behind the ear. “You make a terrific pair. Always have, always will.”

    Pikachu sighed in happiness. Ash noticed that Pikachu wasn’t on his shoulder and began looking around for him. He saw him sitting beside me and his face lit up. He said goodbye to few trainers around him and left the circle. He rubbed a towel through his hair to try and dry it off from the ensuing party.

    “Hey, Michael, how’s it going?” Ash said as he approached. Pikachu sprung to his shoulder.

    “It’s going well, thank you. Congratulations champion. Well earned, both of you.” I rose and offered my hand.

    “Thanks,” Ash took my hand, a firm grip, the grip of a champion, and a twenty-four year old who had finally eclipsed boyhood and entered manhood. I flashed to another handshake between us, but the only thing similar had been our two hands touched. Ash’s dreams had been dashed, his learning curve steepened as after winning the Unova Junior League Championship, as I showed him that defeating a Master would take more than just will. He learned. I can say proudly. Three years later, he had earned a top ten finish in the Kanto Champion’s League first tier. The next year he was offered the position of the King of the Battle Pyramid in Kanto’s Battle Frontier, an appointment suggested by Brandon himself. Ash had been the King of the Battle Pyramid for the last four years and was a very good one I might add. “I couldn’t have done it without Pikachu or Paul though.”

    “You’re dead on, Ketchum. Always remember that and you’ll continue going far.”

    “Thanks. Hey, did you catch that Sawsbuck you were after?” Ash asked. I had told him of the Sawsbuck during some locker talk, maybe during one of his matches last year, and told him again when I was leaving on my hunting trip.

    “Yep, he’s at home now on the ranch. He’s a beauty too. Still a little feisty but its fading I think. Will you be interested in any Deerlings anytime?”

    Ash shrugged. “Maybe? Speaking of…”

    “Charizard is doing fine, but I don’t have an egg yet. Patience. Pyra is picky. Even when its not her mate.”

    “Okay. I’m sorta hoping to get him back sometime soon. I’m thinking of a new strategy for my Frontier challengers and I need his firepower.”

    I rose an eyebrow and nodded. “He doesn’t have to stay all the time. Though if you want good results he may. Pyra doesn’t like it when I let her daughters leave, and I like to keep the Empress happy. She’s a pain when she’s cranky now. But I know Charizard would love to see you. When do you need to get back to the Battle Pyramid?”

    Ash pulled out his pokenav, one of the new fangled ones, fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and projects a holographic screen. He flipped through it with a finger. “The nearest challenger right now has just won their fifth symbol so I’m probably good for a few weeks.”

    “Well, if you’ve got the time, feel free to stop by. The wife and kids would love to see you. Charizard will be thrilled and,” I lowered my voice, “could use some encouragement, if you ask me.”

    Ash laughed. “Well if you insist. I’m good tomorrow.”
    “Well, Jim is gonna be coming tomorrow but I know he won’t mind the extra company. In fact, if Paul wants to he would be more than welcome, too.”

    “That would be cool. I’m sure he’d want too. Hey Paul! Paul?” Ash started looking around. The throngs of people were finally dissipating now. Paul emerged from the crowd. He was quiet, the image of steely serenity as he approached.

    “What?” Paul asked, before he noticed me. “Hey, Master Hawkins, how are you?”

    I shook his hand. “I’m good. Call me, Michael, after you’ve battled me, there is no need to call me Master.”

    “Ah…” Paul froze in his response, an unusual reaction from him, “Whatever you say, sir.”

    “Well that’s better than Master, I guess.” I forget sometimes that I’ve been a Master almost as long as they’ve been training. I smiled, an attempt to lighten the Paul’s mood. “How would you like to join me, my family, Ash, and Mr. Burning tomorrow night for dinner? We’d love to have you. Consider it a victory party. You’re pokémon will also be well fed and cared for of course.”

    “Thank you, Master Hawkins, but I think I’m gonna head back to Veilstone City. I’ve got some things I need to take care of.” Paul said, looking away from us both, staring into the distance.

    “Okay. You’ll be missed. What time does your flight leave?”

    “Two in the afternoon. Earliest one I could find.” Paul looked away from us again. His fingers twitched nervously.

    “Everything okay, Paul?” I asked. Ash got a strange look on his face and Pikachu cocked his head.

    Paul looked back at us, but his gaze never collected it’s characteristic steely look. “Everything is fine, Master Hawkins. Thank you for your concern.” He huffed. “I need to leave. Good job, Ash. We did it. I’ll talk to you later. I’m headed back to the hotel. Don’t call.” Paul opened his locker, grabbed his backpack, and started walking away. He didn’t even bother to close the door.

    “Paul? Paul? Hey, what’s wrong?” Ash called out. Paul continued to walk away. Pikachu called out as well and they both began to follow him. I reached out and grabbed Ash’s shoulder. “Let him be, Ash, he has something he needs to deal with himself.”

    “But…” Ash continued to watch him.

    “But nothing. You have no idea what’s bothering him?” I asked him, hoping to distract him from Paul’s leaving.

    “No, not really. After our press conference from winning the quaterfinals Reggie called. He and Paul talked for quite awhile, all the way back to the hotel. He didn’t really say anything about it either. Stayed away from everyone while he was talking too.” Ash recalled.

    “How did he seem afterward?”

    “Distracted. He’s been thinking about something a lot recently. More than battling even.” Ash confessed, “I actually did more scouting for the finals then he did.”

    Now this was news. Paul was the king of preparation. Getting into the ring with him meant that you were totally exposed before the battle even began. I remembered when I had the honor of battling with him in my second World Cup. He had fought his way out the grinder that was round robins and drew my name in the quaterfinals. As the second of Sinnoh’s Elite Four, Paul was a powerful trainer and it was no means a easy win. But the hardest thing to deal with was the feeling that he had me outfoxed and knew my pokemon my tendencies almost better that I did. However, I still had to teach him the lesson that World Masters always have at least a few more tricks up their sleeves. Paul’s apparent lack of preparation would have certainly explained at least some of his weaker perfomance in the final two rounds of the tournament. What’s eating at you, Paul? There are those here who would gladly help.

    “What are you thinking about, Michael?” Ash asked.

    “Huh?” I shook myself from my own thoughts. “Nothing.”

    Ash sighed, “Apparently no one wants to tell me anything today.” Pikachu gave me a little upset glare.

    “Sorry guys, I don’t think this is the place to talk,” I nodded toward the crowd of people now slowly navigating their ways toward us. “Tomorrow. Be at the house at five. Dinner will be at seven. It will give us time to meet up with Charizard and take a look at Sawsbuck as well before we eat.”

    “Okay, that sounds great.” Ash yawned. “Yeah, we should be going too, I think. Its time for my team and I to get some good rest. We’re headed back to the Pokemon Center.”

    “Pokemon Center? You’re staying there? Why not at a hotel?”

    “Don’t really like them that much. I don’t care if I get little mugged by people. Most are polite enough. It feels right. What is it that you told me after you trounced me when I won the Unova League? ‘remember where you came from or you're doomed to return the same.’ Well, that’s what I’m trying to do. I spent five years of my life sleeping in Pokemon Center beds. I can live with sleeping in them a few more.”

    I smiled. “Thatta boy, Ketchum.” I grabbed my backpack from my locker finally, closed the door, and locked it. “Have a good night, Champ. See you tomorrow.”

    “Thanks, Master Hawkins, you too.” Ash gave my hand a firm farewell shake.

    “Pikachu!” Pikachu proclaimed happily as I scratched his head. They both waived as I left. Goodbyes. Also just another part of the cycle. A stark reality that may have been introducing itself to Paul as well.

  7. #7
    Registered User BlackGroudon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Good chapter. I like how you've personified Paul and Ash as older people, with important positions.



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  8. #8
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    So, I'm now at the place where I'm writing new chapters so it will be longer between updates, though I hope to be able to post at least one new chapter a week hopefully more depending on chapter length. This chapter is some more character work and plot set up. I hope you enjoy getting to know Michael more. It's been fun for me and thanks for the feedback and include more if you wish. Including questions and such. I'll answer what I can or find ways to include them later on. I'm always open to suggestions. --- Tyroctar

    ***************

    Chapter Five

    “Fearow!” The loud, crackled cry filled the air as the large brown feathered bird pokemon jabbed this way and that with his beak. The smaller pokemon before him attempted with the best of her ability to dodge the fury attack. The pokemon was weasel like, maybe two feet tall with a single white spot on her back, and a yellow flotation device around her neck. She dodged with considerable effort but she had been making good progress.

    “Now, counter it, Remmy,” I said.

    Remmy was sixteen, short for his age and sort of pudgy though he was slowly shrinking in the horizontal direction. His face was still plagued with acne and he looked like he could have used a shower and a good combing before showing up. He stood in the trainer‘s box at the far end of the scrimmage field watching his two pokemon battle. “Buizel, use sonic boom!” He commanded in a voice now deepened by the descent of puberty.

    Fearow’s beak jabbed in again, just narrowly missing the tumbling Buizel. “Bui!” She cried and spun quickly, tucked her head, and gave her tail a sharp snap right in front of Fearow’s readjusting beak. There was loud boom and a blast of air and Fearow shot backward, wings flailing, and he crashed to the ground.

    “Yeah! Go, Buizel!” Remmy and Buizel both jumped into the air with exuberance.

    Still so much to learn… “Fearow, quick attack!” Fearow, who had already regathered himself nodded his acknowledgement, raised his two huge feathery wings and gave one sharp downbeat. Up and off he went, his speed appearing to create a blurred streak behind him. Buizel was still in the middle of celebration when Fearow collided with her and knocked into a backward somersault. She slid to a stop just a few feet away from Remmy.

    He gave a cry of disbelief.

    “Fearow, fury attack!” Fearow wheeled hard to his left and came streaking in ready for the final strike.

    “Buizel! No!” Remmy shouted, voice cracking, and he flinched, looking away. Buizel covered her head. Fearow bore down casting a predatory shadow over the helpless sea weasel.

    “Stop!” I yelled and Fearow held back landing hard, but merely kicked dust into Buizel’s face. His beak was only a few inches from striking. Well, Fearow was certainly getting better everyday.

    “Buizel!” Remmy ran out to Buizel and scooped her up and brushed the dust from her face. “I’m sorry, you were doing really well out there.”

    “Bui-bui.” Buizel said thankfully in return.

    “And you’re looking great, Fearow. You’re still my best.” Remmy reached up and scratched the beak pokemon’s big head. Fearow chortled a thank you in reply.

    Well, at least he understands to thank his pokemon after a good effort. “Well, Buizel has certainly improved some. She’s got some better maneuverability. She’ll need it. It suits her species and their fighting abilities best.” I said as I approached. I reached down and gave Buizel a pat on the head. She smiled. “And Fearow has improved significantly. You have the heart of a warrior in this one. He’s a fine specimen with a lot of potential.”

    “Fear!” He shrieked, spreading his wings in pride. I smiled back at him.

    “Thank you, Master Hawkins, he appreciates your confidence.” Remmy stood up between his pokemon.

    “Don’t squander that potential, Remmy.”

    “What? Of course, I wouldn’t. I mean why would I?”

    “On the battlefield you need to see the whole picture. Celebrating little victories like championship wins in the middle of a round gets you beaten. Just like today. Buizel did something very difficult and very key, but all you had done was turn the tide. But you acted like you had won.” My tone was stern, perhaps a little unforgiving.

    Remmy lowered his head defeated. “And because I lost focus, Buizel lost focus.”

    “Exactly.” I agreed. “Fearow and I maintained ours and were able to regain the momentum. Worse still you flinched. Not your pokemon, but you. Buizel had momentum in that somersault, momentum that her species can use to their advantage. You could have used a sonic boom, an aqua jet, or have her try to readjust with just her natural athleticism, but instead you panicked and Buizel did as well. What did I tell you when you first arrived for tutoring?”

    “You’re pokemon become a reflection of you.”

    “Exactly. So if you become distracted so will they. No matter how well trained a pokemon is, they can’t fight without their trainers. In a battle there are always two warriors, the pokemon and the trainer. One without the other is doomed to lose. You must focus as much as the human opponent across from you as the pokemon across from yours. If you can win the battle in the box, the chances of you winning the battle on the field goes up enormously. Lose it and it doesn‘t matter how strong your pokemon are. You‘re screwed.”

    Remmy’s head bowed lower and so did the heads of his pokemon. “Yes, Master, I will train harder.”

    A slight frown crossed my face. I’d been a little harsh. I clapped my right hand down on his left shoulder. “Hey, chin up. You are improving. Lessons require learning, some more than others. The hardest ones will bring about the most benefit. Do not let yourself become discouraged. You have good pokemon that are very loyal to you and that is more important than victories any day.”

    Remmy looked up and smiled and Buizel gave a little happy cry of support. Fearow squawked as well, holding his head high again. Remmy beamed again. I couldn’t help but a little chuckle.

    “Banner! Come here!” I cried and shortly a dark shape passed over us and landed beside me softly. My Braviary stood tall, proud, at almost five feet tall. His red body feathers shined brightly, almost like fish scales. His red and white headdress feathers were long and regal. His wing and chest muscles bulged as he folded in his mighty wings. “BRAVE!” He cried. Fearow ducked his head quickly in reverence and never deigned to meet Banner’s eyes.

    “Well done,” I smiled, impressed once again by his presence. I picked at a scrap of fish flesh still on his beak. “Holly give you a good breakfast?”

    “Braviary-Brave.” He responded with a happy bob of his head.

    “Good. I’m glad you approved.” I turned my attention back to Remmy who, along with Buizel were still staring at Banner. It wasn’t the first time he had seen the braviary, but apparently his arrival and imposing presence was still enough to drop his jaw. Good, it meant Banner still had it.

    “Let the rest of your pokemon out, Remmy.” I said.

    “Okay,” Remmy took the four remaining poke balls off his belt and threw them into the sky. “Let’s go guys!” The four balls opened with a crack and a electronic ping and red light flashed forth revealing four more pokemon. The first was a Blitzle, a small zebra-like electric pokemon. She was spunky and had been a bit of handful as well as Remmy’s newest pokemon. Next was a Nosepass, who tended to be very shy and unenthusiastic, a difficult trait to train with. A Houndour gave a long, loud yawn, before giving a hard shake and standing up. He had a bit of mean streak from what I had noticed, though it wasn’t rare for his species. The mean streak evolved into gutsy battling performance, a great boon for Remmy, however. The last pokemon was still a mystery to me. She hadn’t refused to battle or train, but was very closed off, despite being a very proficient pokemon. The Hippowdon was surprisingly loyal to Remmy, something I didn’t initially expect from a species known as being short tempered and difficult to train.

    “Alright, you know the deal, guys.”

    “Blitz.” Blitzle shot off a few little agitated sparks.

    “And lady, I apologize. You guys need to do your two mile run. Banner will fly escort. Remember run and encourage as a team. Don’t separate from each other too much.”

    There was some sighing from a few of them. Hippowdon blew a gust of sand from a back hole and Houndour grumbled. Remmy sighed as well before straightening up a little. “Come on, guys, we can do it!” He raised a fist in the air. The pokemon joined his cry.

    “Well get moving then. You’re done when you get back.”

    They cheered and took off down the trail that ran a route amongst the ranch property. Banner stretched out his wings after Fearow took flight to follow the rest. “Keep a sharp eye on them, Banner, no quitting.”

    “Braviary.” He replied with a wink before taking flight.

    I watched them run for a little bit before turning from training field and walking back to the house. On the outside it looked like a worn down old barnhouse, but in recent years, Holly and I had set to renovating the inside and it has become a good, cozy home. It was still in the distance, a several minute walk, but good for collecting my thoughts.

    I took out my pokenav, an older unit, but reliable and flipped to my tutoring notes. I looked them over, noting what had improved and what still needed work. Buizel’s agility was improving nicely, much to my pleasure, she had showed up originally somewhat lethargic for her species, but had began to show impressive skill after several different agility workouts.

    Fearow’s strength and endurance were improving and he worked relentlessly. He was, except for Hippowdon, Remmy’s strongest pokemon and he knew it. Which posed sort of a problem. None of Fearow’s attacks were necessarily game changers, with fury attack, quick attack, pursuit, and aerial ace. He was ready for something a little more devastating, like a tri attack or steel wing, but I was worried that the effort put into teaching him that move might result in him rebelling against Remmy. I didn’t want to put Remmy in the position of trying to deal with an unruly pokemon. Fearow was different from Hippowdom, because from Hippowdon I picked up a very gentle nature, so despite her power she wasn’t inclined to disobey as much as she was to be protective of Remmy. Fearow was proud, rightly so in some ways, but it made for a dangerous mix. Proud pokemon either require extreme humbling, something difficult to swallow and recover from for certain pokemon, or a trainer that they can feel proud of.

    Remington Montgomery wasn’t really there yet. Remmy, like most other prospective trainers, had started at fourteen in his home Sinnoh region. But a lack of skill and general conditioning meant he didn’t even earn his fourth gym badge that year. He took the next year off, depressed with failure, but was encouraged by his parents to have another try. He decided afterward that he wanted to challenge the Unova League instead and had relatives who lived in Mistralton. I knew his Uncle and one day at coffee he asked if I wouldn’t mind tutoring him.

    I tutor trainers as a side job, generally a half dozen sessions or so, and only for trainers yet to reach the Veteran’s tier in the Champion’s League, because by then they know the greatest gist of how to build, train, and perform as a team with their pokemon. So I’m used to tutoring trainers like Remmy, though normally with a little more experience. Remmy, when he first showed up was paunchy and had a lack of stamina that was glaring and his pokemon, especially those like Buizel showed it. So I immediately set to making them run two miles every other day, which is how often he came for training.

    The running was excellent team building, because they had to do it together and built valued strength and stamina, while decreasing body weight. Remmy wasn’t very appreciative at first, he could finish even a mile the first week or two, but could now complete the whole circuit. Some of his pokemon grumbled, Hippowdon, didn’t appreciate it, but she did it. Houndour disagreed because he was simply disagreeable, but true to what I expected, I think he secretly likes the run. Blitzle took to running like buizels take to swimming. Nosepass liked running persay, after all he could levitate as he wished, but the running had increased his ability to do so for longer periods of time which helped give Nosepass an extra bit of shiftiness not expected in rock types.

    With the extra work load Remmy was slimming and growing stronger with his pokemon as well, as was his ability to train and strategize. He had come quite a ways and I was looking forward to see how he would do in the Unova League. April was still six months away, but it was six months he would definitely benefit from.

    I punched a few more notes on my pokenav, mostly plans for new training exercises to get the most out of his current team, the only six pokemon he was interested in working with at the moment, though I understood he had about a dozen more at home. But I was unconcerned about his team wishes or who he wished to train. Those were his decisions and I had no reason to doubt him. It made it easier to focus on those six anyway. After I’d be done with him, if he kept up the work ethic he was learning here than he’d be more than capable of training his other pokemon later on.

    As I walked onto the concrete path that led to the front door, I noticed to gray shapes streak out from some bushes against the house. Gray and Blue raced to meet me, jumping up and down happily and excited. I reached down and scratched them both behind the ears. “You two having a good morning?” I asked as I stood up and they yapped and yammered to me, their grey tails wagging happily. I found a tennis ball resting on the lawn. I grabbed it and tossed the orb with a strong throw and the two pokemon took after it like a shot. I took the time the distraction it gained me and slipped throw the back door.

    The smell of lunch hit my nostrils. It was a beautiful smell. I walked through the back room, a laundry room as well as a closet for some of the stuff needed in the backyard that we didn’t want to keep in the barn, and came straight into the kitchen.

    The kitchen was nice, big enough for a few people to work in without bashing elbows at every move. Standing in front of the sink, her head down, and back to me, was the very best part of this house. I sneaked up behind her and wrapped her in my arms. She gave a slight jump, “Michael…” She smiled and leaned back against my chest. Her auburn hair was knotted back in a pony tail for now. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

    I smiled. I bent down a bit, planted a quick kiss on her neck, “Oh? Sweet scent perfume today? You smell good enough to eat.”

    Holly flicked soap bubbles from her wet hands into my face. “Hmmmm, you’re cute.” A quick peck.

    “Eeeew, you’re gross, Daddy.” Jimmy, my seven year old son, quipped. He had his mother’s hair and same short, lithe build. He had a half eaten grilled cheese sandwich in his right hand.

    “Gross? Am I gross, Holly?”

    “No… only very one track minded.” She gave me a teasing smile.

    I took my arms away from her. “Well, if that’s what you think you can keep doing dishes.” I laughed as I skittered away expecting a playful backhand.

    I took a seat at the dining room table with Jimmy, as well as Rachel, our five year old. She had my black hair and green eyes and her mother’s freckles. She was quietly spooning away at a bowl of tomato soup. “Hello, Rachel, how are you, lovely?”

    She looked up. “Fine.” She pushed more soup around.

    “Fine?” I asked. “You don’t seem fine.”

    She fixed me with a glare worthy enough to be called a leer. “I don’t wike soup.”

    “I see. Well, Mom worked hard on your lunch. You should eat it.” I looked over at Gloria, her two year old sister, sitting in a booster seat next to her and across the table from me. I stifled a laugh. Her green bib was now covered in failed to be eaten soup, and a mangled cubes of grilled cheese was laid scattered on the table. “Gloria likes soup.”

    “Oup! Oup! Mo…?” Gloria asked. Her hair and eyes where the same color as mine and Rachel’s but her hair was in a small tight cropping of curls. Her green eyes always flashed with an unbridled energy as well. She smiled and giggled.

    “Gworia’s two.” Rachel said as if it explained everything. Gloria smiled as if she understood.

    “Well, do you want to go see the deerling tonight?” I asked. The deerling were Rachel’s favorite. She smiled and nodded, a gap between her front two teeth now noticeable. “Eat your soup then.” Her smile faded but she took a bite.

    “Hey, Dad, when can I go to work with you again?” Jimmy asked. He had joined me a few months ago for a Champion’s League match. He got sit in the broadcaster’s box, as long as he didn’t cause too much trouble. He sat quietly, and I think was more fascinated by all the T.V. and broadcasting equipment then he ever was about the three battles we’d broadcast that day.

    “I’m not sure, Jimmy. I’ll ask the next day I’m there okay? You were good enough to come again.”

    He smiled and his eyes sparkled. “Do you think I can work a camera?”

    “I don’t think so, but maybe if I take to Mr. Montgomery I can work out a chance for you took get a little tour of one before the matches starts.” Mr. Montgomery was Remmy’s Uncle, and I figured he’d be glad to return a favor.

    “Mommy! Did you hear that, Daddy said I can see one of the T.V. cameras!” He shouted with surprise.

    “That’s wonderful, honey. Now finish your lunch. We have homework to get back to.” Holly said as she continued to wash dishes. “Michael, what would you like in your soup?”

    “How about---”

    “Dodrio! Do. Do. Do. Rio. Dodrio!” my pokenav blared.

    “Hello?”

    “Hey, Master Hawkins.”

    “Paul?” I asked in surprise.

    “Yeah. Do you have a few minutes?” I thought I could hear traffic in the background.

    “Yeah, sure. What’s up?” I leaned back in my chair.

    “I have something I need you to talk about. Preferably in person.”

    “Sure, whatever you need. Do you want to come out here?” Paul had been to place before, a few months ago after a Tag Team qualifier.

    “No, I only have four hours until my flight leaves. It got delayed. Do you think you could come out here?” He asked.

    “Yeah, of course. Do you know Shipper’s Café?” I asked.

    “Yeah, I know where it is.”

    I rose from my chair. “Okay, I’ll be there in about twenty minutes. Does that work?”

    “Yeah, that would be great.”

    “Alright, see you then.”

    “Bye.”

    “Bye.” I hung up my phone.

    “What’s wrong, Michael?” Holly asked. She had a bowl of soup in her hands.

    “Paul just called. He’s got something he wants to talk about and he has flight that leaves in a few hours. I’m going to go talk to him. I’ll take the bike.” I kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks for lunch. Ummm, just save it. I’ll eat it later I guess. Sorry, I have to run.”

    “It’s okay. What about Remmy?”

    I checked my watch. “He has about ten minutes before I expect him back.”

    “I’ll have some lunch ready for them if they want some.” Holly said as she put the soup in her hands on the counter.

    “Thank you, sweetheart. Love you.” I smiled.

    “Love you too. Get going. Shade’s in the basement still.”

    “Thank you.” I said as I ducked out the doorway into the living room. I shot down a few steps to a small landing blocked a door with keypad lock on it. I punch in a few quick numbers and ducked into the basement. I moved down the next five steps quietly. Shade rose from his place and gave a groan as he stretched. Another large black and grey shape stirred as well on the ground. The female mightyena didn’t get up however. She was a beauty too, her grey undercoat almost silver.

    She was Nymeria, one of three female mightyena that made up Shade’s harem. She was one of his favorites and was readily approaching her due date. Her belly bulged with new pups inside her. Shade approached slowly and sat at his feet, licking his lips nervously. My Shade, the indomitable mightyena, veteran of the Champion’s League and Master’s Cup hero, was a nervous Nellie when it came to due dates. It’s good to know we’re all human sometimes.

    I crouched, gave Shade a scratch on the year and looked over to Nymeria, “You’re doing beautifully girl. Almost done, beautiful.” Nymeria hummed a thank you in reply before lying her head back done. Her tail thumped the ground a few times.

    “So Shade, I’m headed to Shipper’s Café to meet Paul, would you like to come along? You can run alongside the bike.” I asked.

    “Mi…” He looked over at Nymeria. Looked over to me. He gave a little grunt at Nymeria and she replied with another murmur. Shade looked back to me and gave an affirmative bark.

    “Okay, lets go then. We’ll let her nap in peace.” I got up and Shade followed after. We left out the backdoor that led straight out to the back yard. We rounded the house to the barn where I kept my bike. I strapped on a helmet because Holly would kill me if I didn’t and hopped on the bike. I left in flash with Shade following after with his graceful long strides.

  9. #9
    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cycles of Life: A Pokemon Story

    Well, It's been awhile. Backed up by life and school finals, also this chapter ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would. Enjoy.
    *****
    Chapter Six.

    It’s about fifteen minutes by bike from my ranch to the outskirts of Mistralton, which, even with the airport, isn’t quite the bustling metropolis everyone expects. Most of the businesses in and around Mistralton are all warehouses and storage, and few hotels, but as the airport is mostly used for shipping, especially with twist mountain and chargestone ranges to either side, Mistralton isn’t necessarily the buzzing hub of activity in Unova.

    Shipper’s Café is one of the few cafes that remain near the airport serving the few hungry tourist who arrive as well as pilots and other airport personnel. Skyla makes regular visits as well between gym battles and shipping trips. But today, being a Monday was somewhat slow. Paul was sitting at a table outside, as the weather was nice and warm for a mid-fall day.

    He saw Shade and I approaching from his seat. He held a menu somewhat limply in his hand and nodded as I approached. I dismounted the bike and parked it at one of the bike racks out in front of the sky blue and cloud white building with a large courier plane logo on top of the small café. Paul rose.

    “Hey, sorry if I was a little late, have you ordered already?” I asked as I shook his hand.

    “It’s alright. No, I haven’t. Not sure I’m really hungry.” He answered as he seated himself. Shade approached with a happy growl and Paul patted him on the head.

    “I see. Well, I wholeheartedly suggest the chicken salad sandwich.” I sat as the bell on the front door jingled.

    “I see, sounds like a good idea then.” Paul answered as out came Amelia behind him, a seventeen year old blonde, the waitress for today apparently. She was homeschooled, and it allowed her to work on weekdays.

    “Ahh! Shade,” She squealed as she wisped across the ground, and gave him a hug around the neck. I smirked when I noticed Paul flinch at the sound she made. “How are you, big boy? You look handsome.”

    “Might!” Shade shook his tail after his happy bark.

    Amelia smiled and then looked up at Paul and I again. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mister Hawkins, how are you today? And you… I’m sorry, you look familiar though, are you doing well?”

    “I’m Paul. I’m doing fine.” Yeah, Paul Miyazaki, never much for small talk.

    “Hi, Paul, I’m Amelia, I’m your waitress today, and I’m so happy to see you and isn’t today so beautiful. You have a really nice seat too, and is this your first time here? If so, I suggest you get the persim berry turnover, they’re like amazing. Unless you don’t like sweet things, which would be sad, because sweet things are like amazing, though it’s lunch time so maybe you don’t want something sweet. If you don’t want something sweet you could…”

    I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m not which was funnier Amelia’s Pidgeot speed speech, or the absolute Deerling in the headlights look on Paul’s face. “I’m sorry, Amelia,” I said as I contained myself. “Yes, it is Paul’s first time. We’d both like the chicken salad sandwich and some lemonade. Also, if you could bring out and oran berry protein smoothie for Shade that would be fantastic.” Shade barked his agreement.

    “Okay, Mister Hawkins. Thank you! I’ll be right back with your order.” She zipped away as fast as she had appeared.

    Paul breathed out a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”

    I smiled, “She’s a bit hyper but she’s harmless. We’ve been coming here for quite awhile haven’t we, Shade?”

    “Yena.” He said in an agreement.

    “She’s one of our favorites.” I said. I leaned back in my chair and observed Paul for a moment. There were bags under his eyes, and the corners appeared bloodshot. Strange, champions normally sleep pretty well, at least I always did after a tournament was finally over. It was normally the only thing I wanted to do. After that much effort, tension, and stress is over and released the body doesn’t normally go into some sort of giddy overdrive. It crashes and it crashes hard. “Sleep well?”

    “No, not really.” He answered.

    “Bad hotel room?”

    “No. Just couldn’t sleep.”

    “I see. Why not?”

    “Thinking about stuff.” Paul answered and looked away into the distance.

    I sighed. “About yesterday’s match?”

    Paul continued to stare out into the distance. “A little. I didn’t have a very good match. I could have brought more, been better.” His right hand tightened into a fist. “My pokémon did well, they tried hard, but it wasn’t enough. They tried their very best given the circumstances.”

    I leaned forward on the table and perched my chin on the backs of my hands. “You were in the pole position after all, that’s not an easy position to battle from, especially in a title match.”

    “I’ve faced worse problems in the middle of a match. I’ve had Elite Four members pin my back to a wall and found a way to win a match. But it didn’t matter that match. It didn’t even matter what Ash did. For all his sometimes infuriating tendencies he’s always been able to get the job done. But I couldn’t. Nothing was working, nothing made sense, everything seemed…” Paul’s right hand tightened even more, knuckles turning white. He turned his face back to me, but his eyes never met mine, instead directing themselves to his fist.

    “Distant. Everything seemed distant.” I said.

    Paul’s eyes wavered, shaking in their sockets. Distant still, trying to cloak something going on behind them. He glanced up and met my own. He swallowed. “Yeah…”

    The front door bell jingled again. Amelia rushed up. “Hi, Mister Hawkins, and Mister Paul, here are your food.” She set two large plates with wheat bread rolls stuffed full of chicken salad and two tall glasses of freshly squeezed lemonades on the table. “And this is for you, Shade.” She set down a large metal bowl on the ground at his feet and poured a semi-thick blue-ish mixture from a blender cup into the bowl. “A yummy oran berry protein smoothie.”

    “Mightyena.” He growled back in thanks. She rubbed his head again as she stood up. “How are the kids, Mr. Hawkins?” She asked.

    “Oh, they’re doing well, Amelia, so’s Holly. Just enjoying life and whatever else comes their way I guess. The kids do ask when you’ll come babysit again though. Rachel especially.” I took a bite of sandwich.

    “Awww, that’s so sweet. I love you’re kids so much, they’re like just so sweet. I love kids, have I ever told you that Mr. Hawkins, I just love them so much. I want kids after I get married, lotsa kids, like you Mr. Hawkins, maybe more! I think that would be like so amazing. How about you, Mr. Paul, do you like kids?” She stared at Paul intently with a very genuine, but horribly out of place smile on her face. Once again it was the sort of scene that was so absolutely tragic that it was almost funny.

    I lifted my hands and gestured for her to tone it down. “That’s lovely Amelia, thank you. I’m sure we’d love to talk later but Paul and I are discussing something very important right now.”

    “Ooooohhhh.” She rocked back on her heels as she said it. “Okay. I’m sorry, I’ll go. Just let me know when you’re ready for the bill.”

    “Thank you very much.” I said and she disappeared back into the café as the bell jingled. Paul, Shade, and I all breathed a sigh of relief. We took a few bites of lunch and waited until the only sound that remained was Shade occasionally lapping at his smoothie.

    “So, you were distant from the battle yesterday. Ash said you got a call after the quaterfinals from Reggie. After that your performance dipped. What’s going on?” I asked.

    Paul looked at me and took a deep breath. “It’s Torterra.”

    “Torterra?” I asked. Torterra was Paul’s starting pokémon and one of his strongest. It had been one of his proven pillars on his ascent to Sinnoh Elite Four. He was an impressive pokémon with stamina and power that was unrivaled by those amongst his species. I thought back on the tournament before finally realizing that Torterra had never made an appearance during the tournament. It’s not that unusual for a pokémon to never make an appearance in a tournament, after all, most accomplished trainers have way more established powerhouse pokémon for them all to be used regularly. But Torterra’s absence, as well as Paul’s admission, meant something far worse was occurring. “Is he okay?”

    Paul shook his head. “He fell ill a few days before I had to leave for the tournament. He was still sick when I had to leave but we figured it had something do with the weather changing and maybe some sort of cold virus, it’s been unusually cold in Veilstone this fall. But after the quaterfinals Reggie called with the results on a test sent to pokémon center on the day I had to leave.”

    I felt my stomach clench. Suddenly lunch didn’t feel so appealing. “What did the test say?”

    Paul looked away, across the street where a small department store and neighboring gas station sat. The silence stood palpable for a little bit, as he stared off and I waited. Shade looked up from his smoothie, which was nearly gone any how, and watched us both.

    “Torterra had chlorophagosis.” How he said it so calmly, I’m not sure, but there it was, the anvil had been dropped.

    Chlorophagosis is a rare, but very dangerous disease known to afflict grass types. It’s a viral infection that attacks and devours the chlorophyll that is present in all grass-types, which for many of them is their primary way of energy gathering. It’s what makes them incredibly energy efficient and allows many of them to grow much larger and faster than the average pokémon. But if those powerhouse cells are destroyed than a grass type pokémon is absolutely crippled. Many die outright when too many cells die no matter how much nutrition is pumped into them it can never replace that produced by their chlorophyll cells.

    Unfortunately treatment isn’t much better. The virus that causes chlorophagosis infects the pokémon’s own immune system cells, mainly the lymph nodes and white blood cells and turns them into marauders against the pokemon’s own chlorophyll cells. The only way to stop the infection is to administer a massive radiation shock to the entire immune system in the infected body, meaning the virus dies out because it no longer has any host cells while the pokémon is left without any immune system. Battling is impossible afterwards as bruises don’t heal, infections spread through cuts and burns, and poison, a crippler for almost any grass type, goes unanswered without an auto-immune response.

    Chlorophagosis untreated is a death sentence and even when treated means a pokémon is sentenced to a life of endless medical treatments and caution against things most pokémon and people take for granted.

    I covered my mouth at first in shock and rubbed my cheeks with my fingers as the let the news sink in. “I’m so sorry, Paul. How far along is it?”

    “The nurses at the pokémon center said they weren’t sure, and the doctors in Veilstone think it’s probably past containment. Reggie has called in for a second assessment, but it’s not looking good.”

    “Who did he call?”

    “Dr. Harrison. He arrived yesterday.”

    Dr. Brock Harrison. Another friend of Ash’s, a former gym leader and now one of the premiere Pokémon doctors in the world. I’ve had the privilege of meet him on a few occasions but it had been awhile since the last time. “He’s good. What did he have to say?”

    Paul swallowed again and lowered his head, his purple bangs hanging down past his eyes. His voice went so flat it struck the soul like a vine whip. “He said I needed to prepare to make a decision on treatment shortly.”

    Shade whined in lament, and I lowered my head as well. “I’m so sorry, Paul. That’s horrible. I can’t express that well enough. Why didn’t you tell Ash though?”

    “He would have insisted that we backed out and went back to Veilstone and help Torterra. I couldn’t let him do that. Couldn’t have him back out for something that wasn’t his responsibility.” Paul answered not looking up.

    “He’s your friend though and he would have completely understood.”

    “I know. I couldn’t do it though, couldn’t ask that of him. Couldn’t…” He looked up barely, just enough for me to see his dark eyes. If I my soul felt struck by everything occurring at this moment, his was strangling.

    “You couldn’t bring yourself to go back and face it.” It was an observation, not a dagger, but Paul flinched all the same as the truth that had been gnawing at his soul like a rattata walked drunkenly into the light. Those cold, “stone-edge” as he was nicknamed in Sinnoh, eyes shattered and they began to well up. He lowered his head into his hands.

    “What am I supposed to do…?” He asked slowly between heavy breaths.

    “You decide what’s best for Torterra. You’re his trainer and he needs you more now than ever. I don’t blame you for not feeling or really wanting to face it. No one does, and we hope and hope until we can’t any longer that all of it will just go away and leave us alone. But life doesn’t always do that. You can run no longer and now is the time to man up and face it.

    You have three options, one, you don’t administer the treatment. Torterra lives maybe half a year at most before he wastes away to nothing. Chlorophagosis, mercifully, if there is such thing from such a cruel disease, is painless. He’ll go peacefully, but you’ll have to watch your friend waste away before your eyes.

    Two, you go through with the treatment. Torterra is done battling and will have to retire. He could still breed though, if the treatment is performed efficiently and I find that a pokémon with the experience of your Torterra is still invaluable for training other pokémon because they can communicate and teach each other even without the need to battle. He’d still be one of your best cornerstones. However, you’ll have to very careful with him and care for him meticulously. He’ll require immune boosters for the rest of his life as well, and even then you probably won’t extend it more than five years at best.

    Three. You perform euthanasia on him now.” Paul finally looked up. His eyes where still watery and wavering but they finally fixed on my own.

    “If you choose euthanasia, Torterra dies peacefully with no pain, and you don’t have to watch him suffer wasting away or go through the rest of his life living off an I.V. unit or continual medical treatment. You do lose him though. It will be over. You have to make a choice about what’s more important to you and him regarding all of this and it won’t be easy.”

    Paul watched me carefully. “Didn’t you have a pokémon with chlorophagosis?”

    I nodded. “I had a serperior, one of the first pokémon I ever caught, come down with it right after I reached the Champion’s tier. I was heartbroken. He was a stalwart member of my team and I could always count on him a pinch to give me a good performance. But he came down with chlorophagosis after I finally qualified, after winning me the clinching match against a very nasty heracross, no less.”

    “What did you decide to do?” Paul asked straightening in his chair again.

    “I decided to go ahead with the treatment. I couldn’t bear losing him yet. It was hard enough retiring him, but I couldn’t lose him forever. It was hard though, when he was healthy he had a lot less energy and had to spend a lot of time resting to stay healthy. Winters were really hard and he had to spend any time not in his pokéball inside so that he didn’t catch cold. But even then it wasn’t unusual for him to come down with minor illnesses and things like that. The smallest scratch got infected if we didn’t find it. And the auto-immune treatments aren’t very pleasant for them either. Pokémon are much closer to nature and the natural status quo than we humans are so medicine can be harsh for them. He barely lived for more than two years.” I sighed as I finished. Yes, the whole event took place over fifteen years ago, but you never forget things like that.

    “Did you make the right decision?” Paul asked.

    “Yes, I think I did for me and serperior. I cherish those two years of memories and I know he enjoyed them as best he could. I don’t think he would have traded them for anything else either. But it’s your decision. And you must decide what factors are the most important to you. I won’t tell you which ones should matter more or less, because Torterra is not mine and it’s not my decision to make. Whatever you decide will be the best one for you,” I emphasized by pointing at him, “and I will support your decision in every way that I can.”

    Paul’s head still hung low. He didn’t move for sometime. Shade whined again and repositioned himself alongside Paul and placed his large head on Paul’s leg. I smiled a little. Paul took one hand and patted Shade on the top of the head. I reached over and placed my hand on his shoulder.

    “Paul. I know nothing you are going through right now is any fun. It’s not supposed to be and really, life begins now. Real pokémon training begins now. The curtain is going to begin to lift now. I can’t tell you of anyway that makes it any easier or less painful. Nor will you grow more accustomed to it, and trust me you don’t want to. But there will always be good and bad. Life has certain cycles that it’s devoted to follow. Life and death are only one.”

    Paul didn’t look up but he managed, “Thank you, Master Hawkins.” He wiped is nose with his sweater sleeve and checked his pokenav. “I should be headed back to the airport.”

    I sat back in my chair. “Okay. You probably should.” Paul sat back in his chair and reached for his backpack. The bags under his eyes had multiplied in size and his eyes appeared even more bloodshot, as if the chance to dump the baggage he had been carrying had only served to remove his normally steely-faced demeanor like so much old makeup.

    The doorbell rang. Amelia walked up to the table with another wide, genuine smile of her face which faded as she noticed the still, barely eaten sandwiches on the table. “Is there something wrong with the food?” She asked.

    Before I could answer she gasped. “Oh, no! Did I get your order wrong? You ordered something different, didn’t you? I’m always getting this wrong, forgetting everything getting things wrong… Mrs. Eddy is always telling me to pay better attention. ‘You’re nice, Amelia, but a little flightly. Nice for a pidove but bad for a waitress,’ she always says.” She spun around in a fit of self-admonishment.

    When she stopped, I prepared to tell her that every was fine, but before I could a word out she gasped again. She leaned forward and put both hands palm down on the table in front of Paul. “You look sad.”

    Shade facepalmed himself with a paw. I was in total agreement. Paul just stared at her in a half there stare.

    “Are you okay? Have you been crying?” Amelia asked intently. They stared at each other for a moment, until she glanced at the table again. “It wasn’t the sandwich was it?”

    “I’m alright. Could you bring a doggie bag for the rest of the sandwich? I’ll eat the rest while I wait for my flight.” Paul said calmly.

    “I’ll take one too, please.” I asked.

    “Okay. I’ll go get one.” She took the plates from the table and disappeared slowly through the front door. Paul gathered himself and stood up as she came out again. She placed one brown doggie bag on the table in front of me and then handed Paul’s to him.

    Quick as a seviper, Amelia threw her arms around Paul. Shade and I were taken back in amazement and Paul seemed to freeze where he stood. Doggie bag still held out in one hand, back pack in the other at his side and blonde haired waitress ten years his junior clinging to him.

    “My grandfather always told me that tears are like rain. You only get rainbows after the rain, so sometimes the only way to be happy again is after you cry for awhile.” Amelia said as she held in the hug. Her eyes popped open suddenly, as she came back to her self. She back away suddenly and reached out and straightened out his jacket and brushed some bangs of her hair out of her eyes. “I… I’m sorry, Mister Paul.” She faced blushed beet red.

    Paul sighed before giving her a little a smile, “It’s okay. Thank you.”

    I rose from my seat. “Well, you should be going, Paul. Have a safe trip back. I’ll be thinking about you. Call if you need anything.”

    Paul stretched out his hand. “Thank you, Master Hawkins, have a good day. You’ve helped a lot.”

    “You’re welcome, and Paul, her grandfather’s right. Remember that too.” I said as I shook his hand.

    “Yes, Master Hawkins.” Paul said. Shade walked up to him and Paul reached down and scratched his head and neck. “Thanks for coming too, Shade.” Shade growled his reply sincerely.

    “Bye, Paul.” I said.

    He nodded and turned away.

    “Good bye, Mister Paul!” Amelia waved to him. She stopped, looked at me, and smiled sheeplishly. “Well, I’ll go get your tab.”

    “Okay, thank you.” I removed my wallet while I waited. She came out and I handed her some money. “Go ahead and keep the change, dear, you were great today, alright?”

    She looked at the money in her hands and gasped. “Really? Are you sure? I mean, you don’t have to.”

    “Really. Shade would be disappointed if you didn’t.” Shade played along with his best rendition of a puppy dog face. She giggled and then beamed.

    “Thank you, Mister Hawkins.” She hopped up and down giddily.

    “You’re welcome. See you around.”

    “Alright, have a good afternoon!” She said cheerily as Shade and I walked away and headed back for home.

    *********
    Amelia came back outside the front of the café with a rag. She started to wipe down the table Mister Hawkins and his friend had been using. A twenty dollar tip! Mister Hawkins always tipped her well, that wasn’t unusual, and he was always friendly when he came but still twenty bucks? It was more than the whole meal. She let Mrs. Eddy keep the change. She hummed a song happily to herself as she cleaned.

    She was still thinking about the Mister Hawkins, friend, the sad one. She still felt kinda silly for hugging him, he was guy after all. Not that she didn’t like guys, she did, guys were nice, but she didn’t hug guys. Especially strange ones. But she felt like he needed one, like he was really sad, like her grandfather when grandma passed away. He was the same kinda sad.

    Amelia hopped back from her cleaning job to admire it when she bumped into a man behind her. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said as she turned to see who she had bumped into.

    “Watch what you’re doing, girl.” The man intoned. Well, he was a man but he wasn’t very big. Amelia knew she was five-five, but the man she’d bumped into didn’t appear to be much taller than that, and didn’t seem to outweigh her by much either. But in everything else, he was a polar opposite. Instead of bright blonde hair, the man’s hair was black as coal, and laid flat, like sheet metal, well past his eyes and down his neck. He didn’t appear a whole lot older than her either, younger than the man with Mister Hawkins anyway by a year or two.

    “I… I will. I’m sorry. Did you come for something to eat? I’m Amelia, I can be your waitress.” Amelia smiled.

    “I don’t want food. Who was the man who left with the Mightyena a few minutes ago?” The man asked sharply. The one eye not covered by his hair fixed itself on her.

    “Oh, that was Mister Hawkins, he’s a very nice guy. His Mightyena is named Shade. Isn’t he beautiful? I think so. I bet you do to. Most people think so.”

    “I’m not most people. Do you mean he was Michael Hawkins, the old Pokemon Master?”

    “Yeah! He doesn’t battle anymore though. But he has big ranch just outside the city toward celestial tower. He has lots of pokémon living there too. It’s really pretty. I’ve been there before. It’s so amazing. I didn’t want to leave. His kids are really nice too. I like them a lot. Are you a fan of Mister Hawkins?”

    “Hardly.” The man stared at Amelia with that one deep blue eye. Amelia suddenly felt uncomfortable. “Outside Mistralton, you say?”

    “Yeah, just go out toward celestial tower. Stay on that route until you see the large archway made with oak and it has a pack of Mightyena engraved on the front.” She answered, flustered.

    “Celestial tower?” The man chuckled. “How deliciously convenient. Thank you for your help, Beautiful.” The dark man walked past her, not even waiting for her to move out of the way.

    Amelia grunted a feeling of offense, “Well, you’re not welcome, and why would a Celestial Tower be convenient. All it is a big graveyard.”

    The dark man looked over his shoulder and the hair covering his left eye moved away reveling an eye deeply bloodshot and scarred. Amelia gasped and covered her mouth with both hands in shock. “Exactly.”

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