Welcome to the Isle of Amiko! This secluded island paradise is known for its extremely varied species of flora and fauna, exotic Pokemon among these. While you're staying in Calcium Springs for the World Pokemon Tournament, we suggest you visit the local zoo located in the heart of the city and any other landmarks that pique your interest. Enjoy your stay!
Chris tossed the leaflet to the dirt and looked out across the rugged expanse of island ahead of him. Even though the aiport they were at was three towns away from Calcium Springs, he could make out the outline of the Cooke Hotel towering above the rest of the city's surroundings. He hefted his backpack onto his back and deployed the wheels of his suitcase before trotting to catch up with the rest of the group, in particular his friend Gregory.
"So, pal, whaddya make of this? Why do you reckon they selected a bunch of kids for the World Tourney? Why not some of the greats, like Red or Gold?"
Gregory shrugged and limped along on his cane. In his youth, an Arcanine had chomped down on his right leg, and he'd walked with a slight limp and a cane ever since.
"Probably trying to stir up interest in the next generation of trainers, that'd be my guess."
Chris couldn't argue with that logic. While the number of great young battlers was steadily growing, no one seemed to care. Endless title rematches between Red and Blue and Red and Gold and Red and everyone had clogged the market. The battles were thrilling, certainly, but always watching Red pull out the victory in the end could only hold the audience's attention for so long. It was now no doubt a ploy on the League's behalf to renew interst in battling.
Up ahead of the duo, six other fresh faces doddered along. None of them looked much older than Chris and Gregory, but a few of them certainly seemed more... maniacal. One was dressed simply. Slightly rumpled jeans, well worn sneakers, and a simple hoodie, but it wasn't his dress that disturbed the duo. It was his incessant hand rubbing. His hands were literally constantly sliding over one another as if he was trying to sand them down. His eyes darted back and forth, and he had a bag literally overflowing with Pokeballs. Every so often, one would squeeze out of the bag and bounce across the tarmac. He'd stoop over and return it to its rightful place. Chris shivered.
"I think they got a crazy to battle..."
Gregory guffawed softly, and they continued walking towards the airport. Once they'd made it to the doors, they were directed to rows of uncomfortable looking plastic chairs. They sat, and a man in a suit stepped up in front of them.
"Alright, kids. First of all, congratulations and welcome to the first ever World Pokemon Tournament. We're super excited you're all here and are looking to a great set of battles next week. Secondly, some ground rules. We understand you're all seventeen or eighteen and have impulses to go and chat up the opposite sex, but we need you all in your rooms by eleven p.m. every night. Finally, while you aren't required to attend any seminars or practice battling in the week leading up to the big day, we'd advise you to try and get a little training in. These'll be the hardest fights of your lives. So, that being said, if you'll let us pass out your ID badges we can get you guys on the express line to Calcium Springs, okay?"
The group of kids nodded in response, and badges were passed out. Once they were all given a badge containing their photo, name, and room number, they were escorted out of the airport, past their cheering fans (for the two or three who actually had fans), and into limos which then ferried them to the train station, where they boarded a bullet train headed for Amiko's largest city, Calcium Springs, which was home to the famous Cooke Hotel, where they would be staying.
Onboard the train, a few cabins ahead of Chris and Gregory, sat two more young trainers, one of whom was popular enough to have actual fans.
"So, Hans, what do you think of our competition?"
The one who'd spoken leaned back, sipping on a cup of hot tea. His companion spoke up.
"Hm. I dunno, Andre. The one with the cane won't be much of a challenge, nor will his friend. The twitchy one with the thousands of Pokeballs, on the other hand.. he will be difficult."
There was a knock on their cabin door, and Andre rose and opened it. In stumbled a gangly, large headed teen with an overstuffed backpack. He sat down on the bench next to Hans, who scooted over uncomfortably close to the window to avoid his newfound guest. Andre, gulping, extended a hand to the youth.
"Uh, hello... my name is Andre."
The gangly teenager shook it clumsily before pulling a battered copy of his favorite comic from his backpack. Without looking up from his reading, he spoke.
"Hi, name's Jimmy."
A sudden look of apprehension and surprise crossed Andre's face. Now barely able to speak, he looked at the awkward youth sitting across from him.
"You're... you're the Jimmy? The winner of the first ever Worldwide Youth Invitational Pokemon Tournament? It's... well, it's an honor, quite frankly."
Jimmy looked up, hearing the sudden respect in Andre's voice.
"Well, uh, thanks, I guess. You are?"
Andre straightened the lapel of his suit coat and sat up a little bit straighter.
"I go by Andre. The name is technically Andrea but that is a bit too... feminine for my tastes."
"Ah, Andre. I've heard of you and your Milotic. Nigh unstoppable, they say.
"Yes, so they say."
The duo chuckled and returned to being consumed by their own thoughts.
In the cabin directly across from them sat two more contestants. One, an acne pitted, rotund youth, was excitedly making his way through a plate of jelly donuts. The other, a mop headed, bespectacled young man, sat silently listening to some obnoxiously loud brostep. They didn't know one another, nor did they want to. The rotund stood and made his way to the trolley a few cabins ahead of him and bought the remaining stockpile of donuts. As he was stumbling back into the cabin, he tripped over the doorjamb and the plate of sticky, glaze coated donuts went sliding off the plate and directly into the curly headed one's lap. It took him a moment to fully process what had just taken place, but when it had registered with him, he bolted up, ripping his earphones out in the process.
"Dude! What the actual fuck! What is your problem?!"
The fat one stooped over and attempted to pick the donuts up off the poor kid.
"I’m so sorry dude-"
He was cut off by the curly headed one bursting out of the cabin. The train's attention was suddenly focused on the irate young man, who stormed down the aisles in search of a new, unoccupied cabin. A cabin away from the now solitary fat teenager, Andre stood up.
"Be right back, Hans. I'm gonna go talk to the clumsy fat one."
Andre knocked back the rest of his tea to bolster his strength before exiting his cabin and sidling over to the rotund kid's. He rapped a solitary knuckle on the thin plate glass, and the fat one gestured for Andre to come in. He slipped into the cabin and sat across from his new cabin mate. He went to extend a hand, but noticed it was covered in donut glaze. He lowered it and clasped his hands and placed them on his knees.
"So, your name is...?"
He looked up from his donuts.
"Uh, Ronald, but you can call me Ron."
Andre smiled and waved Hans over, who promptly stood and mosied over to the cabin with Andre and Ron. Towads the rear of the train, the irate, mopheaded one burst into Chris and Gregory's cabin uninvited and unexpectedly. Chris and Gregory straightened up, unsure of what to make of their new companion. He sat and fumed for a minute or two. Neither Chris or Gregory spoke up.
Finally, he spoke up, very clearly pissed.
"Do you have a problem with me or something?"
Chris looked at him, frightened. This kid was built like a bull. He could barely speak, his jaws locking up with fright.
"N- no. We were just a little confused as to why you didn't, y'know, ask to come in here. We were sort of in the middle of a private conversation..."
The new member of the cabin laughed and propped his feet up on the seat opposit him, his smelly, battered shoes plopping dangerously close to Chris's carefully pressed jeans.
"Deal with it. I'm Dirk, by the way."
With that, he plugged his earbuds back in and shut the other two inhabitants of the compartment out. They exchanged worried glances at one another, before burying their noses in their notebooks, working up strategies to take each other to the final round.
Around ten minutes later, the passengers noticed a sudden, but by no means jarring, decrease in speed. They began to look out their windows, expecting to see the city of Calcium Springs. Instead, they saw only jungle. The train slowly made a turn and they exited the foliage, revealing a massive city bordered on all sides by the jungle's canopy. The train now banked left and gldied across a bridge that spanned a canyon between the jungle's edge and the city. It now pierced the outside of the city and came grinding to a halt at a station a few blocks from the famous Cooke Hotel.
The trainers grabbed their bags and exited the train single file, with the man from the airport in the front. Once they were all disembarked, the man addressed them, handing each of the eight a map of the city area directly around the hotel.
"Alright. So here is how this works. The tournament starts in five days. Now, tomorrow will be the only pre- tournament day we have planned. You'll be touring the facilities. The other four days before the festivities begin are free for you to spend as you choose. Training, sightseeing, or even just staying in your room. So. Here are your room keys."
He handed each young man a set of three key cards so they would always have extras if they lost one. Once finished, he stepped back and began speaking again.
"So, without further ado, I'm gonna let you guys head to the hotel or check out the sites if you want. Just remember to meet in the hotel lobby tomorrow morning at eight thirty A.M. sharp, so with that being said, see you tomorrow!"
He waved to them and hopped back aboard the train, leaving the gaggle of youths to their own devices. Chris and Gregory headed off in the direction of the hotel, Andre and Hans followed along behind the two. Slowly but surely, the rest of the group caught wind that they were, as a whole, heading to the hotel, so they followed the others. As they made their way through the gleaming city, they took in the sights of the place. Towers of steel and glass rose high above their heads, passenger jets higher up still, left long, thin vapor trails behind them. On the street level, people of all races bustled about, and hundreds of different models of cars whizzed by. It was a perfect city for the tournament, large and urban and with plenty of room for the massive influx of guests that had been arriving in the past week. Hotels were full to capacity, and it was nigh impossible to find a taxi at rush hour, or any other hour, for that matter.
The gaggle of teens meandered through the streets, navigating to the famous Cooke Hotel with their small street maps, which quickly became limp and drooped in the sultry jungle air. Passersby on the street saw the group and went wide-eyed. It was the famous batch of young trainers here for the tournament. They walked up, fumbling for pen and paper with which to receive an autograph from the youths. They grabbed the slips of paper, hastily scribbled their name, and thrust them out to their owner. Before long, the crowd around them was massive and all movement had ceased. Frustrated, Andre snatched a Pokeball from his pocket and released the Pokemon inside. With a brilliant crimson flash, a Staraptor materialized into the air above Andre. The giant bird floated downwards and alighted softly on its master's shoulders. Andre cracked his neck.
The bird sunk its dulled claws into Andre's shoulders and with one powerful downward beat of its wings was in the air, carrying Andre with it. Slowly, the other trainers realized the genius of the idea and began taking off as well. Before long, all eight were in the air, headed straight for the massive Cooke Hotel. The swarm of trainers banked to the left and rapidly descended, landing at the front steps of the massive, gleaming structure. It was fifty stories of shimmering steel and glass, and every inch of it packed tight with guests for the tournament. The bellboy at the front panicked and called for a string of trolleys to be brought to carry the trainer’s luggage to their rooms. One was summoned, and suitcases were stacked high and succinctly whisked away to the suites the young men would be staying in. Chris made his way to the lengthy glass tubes that housed the elevators near the rear of the giant room. He slipped in, Gregory, Hans, and Andre quietly falling in behind him. He leaned against the gilded hand rail and sighed.
“Can you guys believe this? A few days from now and we’re gonna be battling for real. Not some ill-equipped kid on the side of the road, not a gym leader who has to keep their Pokemon at a certain level... no. We’ll be battling each other, the greatest young battlers in the world. The whole world. Crazy, right?”
Andre folded his arms over one another, smiling.
“Very. May the best man win.”
Hans piped up, laughing softly as he spoke.
“Oh, no worries. I intend to.”
The group of young men laughed as the elevator stopped slowly and they dispersed to their rooms.