Required character length: 20k-30k
Actual character length: 26,524
I threw the ball and it hit the weakened Pokemon. It opened and he was sucked in. The ball fell to the floor and the red circle in the middle started flashing as the ball writhed around on the dirt. I willed it to stay in…
Encounters with Rex
The day I met Rex was an ordinary day for everyone else in the region of Kanto, but not for me. It was my tenth birthday, and I could barely keep my excitement under control. My mother had just completed her annual ‘ritual’ of measuring my height on my birthday. “Five foot six!” she exclaimed, holding her measuring implement of choice, a tape measurer, in her hand. “You’ve grown so much!” she said, and I swore I could have seen a tear welling up in her eye. I mumbled an OK and dashed out of the house into the crisp spring sunshine.
My excitement level was unbearable. I tore down the quiet street in Pallet Town, and ran up a hill towards the Pokemon Lab. I was out of breath by the time I got near the Lab, and had to walk the last few yards. I walked through the automatic sliding door and entered. I had only been in the lab once before, when a ball I had overeagerly kicked had smashed a window and gone inside and I had to go in and retrieve it. The lab was exactly like I remembered, even though it had been nearly a year. The entire lab floor was tiled white, and the walls and ceiling painted white. Plants were spread around in a futile attempt to make the lab more pleasurable to be in. Bookshelves covered most of the walls, full of books about Pokemon. I scanned a few as I walked by. ‘Pokemon Evolution by Professor Rowan’, ‘The basic guide to Pokemon breeding by Professor Elm’ and the fattest book of them all, ‘Pokemon and their relationship with Humans by Professor Oak’.
Professor Oak himself appeared at the end of the hallway through a doorway, and beckoned me in. I followed him into the room. The room in question was filled to the brim with machines and smelled metallic somehow. Oak didn’t say a word, just walked over to a computer and pressed a button. A platform, a yard in diameter, rose from the ground, where it had been completely camouflaged. The top split and moved to the side, showing three Pokeballs. Each Pokeball had an image in front of it. A flame, a leaf and a raindrop. I knew what was inside each of them. Without hesitation I reached out and grabbed the Pokeball which had a flame in front of it. “Go Charmander!” I yelled, and threw the ball. It hit the floor and opened, and instead of their being a red light it just stayed where it was, empty. I looked in confusion at the ball, thinking I had done something wrong, and then I looked at the Professor.
“Oh yes” he said sheepishly “Someone else came earlier and took that Pokemon”.
I sighed, slightly annoyed I hadn’t come earlier and taken the Pokemon I had intended to take. I wasn’t sure which one of the others I would like, so I grabbed both balls and opened them, there was a flash of light and stood in front of me was a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle. I looked at both of them closely, thinking about which one I would prefer. Bulbasaur was apparently unnerved by my staring, and cowered behind Squirtle, who stood where he was, staring back. I took both of the balls and recalled them both, then returned the cowardly Bulbasaur to its platform. I didn’t need such a weak Pokemon in my team. “I’ll take this one”, I said to Oak, who nodded and smiled. I was walking out of the lab when I heard him shouting out for me. I turned, bewildered, then I saw that he was carrying a Pokedex in his hand. I had forgotten. The Pokedex was a crucial tool for any trainer, regardless of experience. I graciously accepted it, but then I saw that the Professor had something else in his hand. He handed me 5 Pokeballs, shrunk to about the size of golf balls which were perfect for carrying around on your belt. I thanked the Professor and dashed home to say my goodbyes, before setting off on my new adventure.
That was just five hours ago. It seemed like a lifetime. I had made good progress and had just entered Viridian Forest. I decided to avoid the beaten path to search for a Pikachu, who would be essential once I got to the Cerulean Gym. I was following some paw prints into a thicket of trees when I saw the blue light. It was shining out from the gaps in the trees in the direction I was facing. I ran up to the trees and peered through, hidden in the greenery. I heard someone talking but I was to far away to understand. I crept closer until I could see what was happening. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right there, in a clearing in the middle of Viridian Forest, was a lone Charmander. I didn’t need my Pokedex to identify it. I tried to keep my emotions under control as I looked for its trainer, hoping it didn’t have one. It didn’t. I leapt out of my cover.
It never occurred to me that Charmanders are not found wild in Viridian forest, or that when Pokemon are released into the wild by their trainers they glow blue. I was an inexperienced, perhaps a bit naïve, rookie trainer, and I could not think of anything else than to catch that Charmander.
Charmander heard me jump out, and instinctively readied himself for battle. I grabbed a ball on my belt and threw it. It opened in mid-air and out came Pidgey, who I had caught on my way to Viridian City, and I was eager for it to get some battle experience. I ordered a Gust, which Charmander dodged. He was fast. Pidgey tried a tackle this time. Again, he dodged. Running out of options, I tried a Sand-attack. Well, if you can’t see your opponent you can’t dodge its attack. The Sand-attack neared Charmander when he unleashed a mighty Fire-spin. It decimated my attack, leaving me to stand there, shocked by his power.
Charmander launched onto the offensive. He opened his mouth and released an Ember. Pidgey tried to dodge but was too slow. The move struck Pidgey’s left wing and it spiralled down to earth and landed with a sickening thud. Pidgey got up but as it tried to fly off it fell over. Its’ wing was too damaged for it to fly. It slowly got up and I was about to recall it when, out of nowhere, another Ember hit Pidgey. Pidgey was flung to a tree and hit it hard. I didn’t even bother checking to see if Pidgey was knocked out. I knew there was no way it could continue battling after that attack. I recalled it and somehow smiled. Even though I had just seen Charmander’s awesome power, I was confident. I grabbed the second ball at my waist and threw it. It opened and the escaping red light materialised into Squirtle. Charmander did nothing to give away any emotions it had at this moment.
Squirtle opened with a Water Gun. Charmander blocked it with another Ember. It collided with the Water Gun, and both attacks vanished, replaced by a thick fog from the evaporated water. Squirtle tried desperately to see where its opponent was, but he was well hidden.
Suddenly I saw a movement in the fog and cried out to Squirtle to dodge. But Squirtle seemed to exist a split second before me, and flipped backwards, dodging the Scratch attack. “Now, use Bubble!” I yelled, and Squirtle began filling the area with bubbles, removing the fog in the process too. The bubbles cornered Charmander, who had nowhere to escape to. I thought I had figured it out. I was wrong. Charmander scratched his way free, popping the bubbles. I was furious. All of my attacks, rendered worthless. “Full power Tackle!” I shouted “Straight at him!” Squirtle obediently started charging towards Charmander. Charmander looked ready for any sort of trick. I murmured quietly “That’s the plan” Charmander had proven himself a worthy adversary, dodging and anticipating all of my attacks. This time, however, there was not going to be any trickery or tactics. There was just going to be a direct hit from a turtle’s skull.
Charmander, sadly, had called my bluff. He raised his claw, which began to glow white. It was Metal Claw. Squirtle quickly withdrew into his shell. There was no way to avoid it. Squirtle was going too fast. The attacks collided, but Squirtle was send flying, and Charmander stood where he was, dazed slightly by the power Squirtle had hit him at. Squirtle was flung to a tree, where it hit a surprisingly resilient branch and rebounded straight back at Charmander. Charmander was unimpressed, and used another Metal Claw to hit Squirtle skyward. Squirtle was helpless throughout all of this, still inside its shell, probably unconscious, and there was no way to get Squirtle inside its ball, he was too far away. Charmander opened his mouth and an almighty Fire-Spin raised upwards, its opening at the top like a snake about to devour its prey. The flames covered up Squirtle, hiding him from view.
“Use Bubble!” I cried in desperation, knowing it was in vain.
The flame eventually subsided and suspended in mid-air almost by a thread, was the shell of Squirtle. It looked slightly blackened and charred. It began to fall, slowly at first, but it picked up speed and I was still stunned until I realised the best thing I could do at the moment was save Squirtle from a fifty foot drop. I pulled out its ball and a red beam shot out from the front and hit Squirtle just at he was about to land. The red beam turned Squirtle red as well, until you could only make out the outline of its shell, and the light morphed until it went back inside the ball.
I turned and ran, not thinking for a moment about my own safety, cradling my two Pokeballs as I tore through the forest, and I didn’t stop until I had realised I had arrived at Pewter City. I jumped on a train that led to the City Centre, hoping a Pokemon Centre would be near the station. It wasn't, but I had gotten seriously lucky. A trainer who apparently knew the city well was on the train as well, and could see the wild look in my eyes. He was dark-skinned, had short pointy hair and his eyes were small. After explaining that I needed to get to a Pokemon Centre right away, he told the quickest route involved getting off at the next stop and taking a different train. Following his advice, I arrived, out of breath, at the Pokemon Centre and was greeted by a Chansey, who I pushed aside and ran towards the desk, where a nurse was present.
“Hello, I am Nurse Joy. How may I help you today?” she said, with a smile.
“It’s my Pokemon” I panted, still out of breath. “Please help them”
The smile vanished and was replaced by seriousness. I thought she was going to tell me off for not taking care of my Pokemon, like dad used to do whenever I fell over and tore a pair of brand new jeans, or dropped a new toy and break it. Instead she took the balls off me and said “Don’t worry; I’ll get them to perfect health in no time”. She deposited the balls in a machine that looked like it had been taken from an 80’s disco and walked over to her computer, where she pressed a key. The machine started whirring and crackling. It lasted only four seconds. The machine went silent, and Nurse Joy retrieved the Pokeballs and handed them back to me. “There you go. They’re now perfectly healthy”
I looked at the balls, bemused. My brain couldn’t grasp how Squirtle and Pidgey could be perfectly healthy after being put into an ancient looking machine for four seconds. Disbelievingly, I sent them both out to see for myself. Sure enough, Pidgey was there, chirping, its wing perfectly healed. Squirtle was fine too. Its shell was glossy, showing no trace of the battle. I was happy, but sad at the same time. Looking at them two reminded me of the battle, and seeing them healthy almost made me want to go back and challenge Charmander again, but I knew better. I knew that we would need to train to stand a chance.
So that’s how it was for the next day at least. We trained at the edge of Viridian Forest, battling wild Pokemon and the occasional Trainer. Apart from the obvious benefits of training, there was another good thing that happened to me during training. I had encountered a wild Pikachu, and caught it. Even though, I felt it might not be enough. There wasn’t much help in training to my Pokemon batting Caterpies, Weedles, and the occasional Metapod. It was then that I realised why Pewter City was so important to any trainer. There was a Pokemon League Gym here! In my haste to capture Charmander, I had forgotten all about it.
Immediately I went there straight away. The sun was tiring, ready to retreat beyond Mt. Moon, casting its last rays onto the city. I reached the Gym, and was immediately disappointed. It was closed. Apparently the Gym Leader was busy in the evenings and a notice on the door urged challengers to ‘be annihilated’ tomorrow morning. I retreated back to the Pokemon Centre, slightly glad that I had extra time to ready myself for my first Gym Battle. I did some research on the Gym and its Pokemon, and as I finally went to sleep late that night, I was confident.
I awoke next morning full of hope. I knew a win here would be the final preparations for my grudge match. I entered the Gym and knew immediately this Gym was meant to help its own Pokemon. The battle arena itself looks like it was hauled in one piece from a cave. The floor was rock and solid earth. The Gym Leader entered the room with an official looking referee. The clothes were different, but the face was the same. It was the same trainer who had graciously given me directions to the Pokemon Centre two days ago!
“My name is Brock, Leader of the Pewter City Gym” he said loudly, giving away no emotion or showing that he remembered me. “The rules of this battle are simple. We will have a one verses one battle” and with that he pulled out a Pokeball and threw it. The Pokeball hit the floor and opened, releasing a gigantic Onix. Onix roared, and I flinched ever so slightly. Luckily my Pokemon didn’t see that. I pulled out my own Pokeball and released Squirtle. It looked comical. The tiny blue turtle was looking up at the enormous rock snake.
The referee waved his flag and the match began. I started with a Water Pulse. Squirtle charged up and released the light blue ball of water, which rushed towards at blinding speed. Rock Pokemon are not usually known for their speed. It hit Onix, who roared out in pain. I used another Water Pulse, but this time Brock was ready. He ordered a Rock Tomb, which blocked the attack in its tracks. I tried a Bubble, hoping the same tactic I used against Charmander would help me here. It did. Onix desperately tried to use Rock Throw to get rid of them, but there were too many. He writhed as the bubbles hit, each only doing a small amount of damage, but together, they were a powerful force. I could see Onix was weakening. This badge almost seemed too easy. Almost. Onix released a Dragonbreath which eliminated the remaining bubbles.
Brock launched on the offensive. Onix started throwing rocks at Squirtle, who was doing his best to dodge the incoming boulders. He skipped backwards and forwards gracefully, as the missiles hit harmlessly to the sides of him. Until a particularly large one hit him square on, sending him tumbling as the rocks still rained down. Squirtle withdrew into his shell for protection. The rocks suddenly stopped.
“Ok now use Water Gun…” my voice trailed off as I saw that the space where Onix was hurtling rocks from was empty. In the middle was a large, distinctively Onix-sized hole. By the time my brain had put the pieces together, Onix rose out of the ground and Wrapped itself around Squirtle, who was now trapped. Squirtle was being crushed, but I knew this was something that was supposed to happen. Apparently this was to test trainers’ battling skills while under pressure. I had found out about the night before when I was researching. I smiled. No difficulty when you know what to do. Squirtle went back inside its shell to try and do a Rapid Spin. It didn’t work, and the smile vanished. Onix’s hold was tight. It was so tight Squirtle couldn’t even move. “Water Gun” I yelled, and Squirtle’s head popped out from the shell as he released a jet of water from his mouth. It had the desired effect. Onix stayed strong for about five seconds, but the pain was too much to bear. Onix roared and released its hold on Squirtle who was keeping up the barrage of water magnificently. The attack had now soaked Onix. Then the unexpected happened. Onix opened its mouth and a powerful Dragonbreath burst out. It travelled towards Squirtle, who jumped out of the way.
Squirtle was about to start Water Gun again but I stopped him. I could see that Onix had taken a lot of damage from the previous attacks, and was nearly finished. A so-called ‘good’ trainer would have finished it off gently, or even try and reason with the opponent that their Pokemon was finished. But I didn’t. Ever since my fateful battle with Charmander, I had somehow grown a sort of loathing for anything that tried to hurt my Pokemon. Now I know it was a horrible thing to do, but at that moment, I ordered a Hydro-Pump. We’d been working on it in our training sessions and we had nearly got it perfect. Squirtle jumped up into mid-air, retreated into its shell, and almighty blasts of water were coming from the holes in the shell as it span. The water hit the already weak Onix and sent it flying into the back wall, where it collided with concrete, leaving a noticeable mark. It then slid down, and landed in a heap.
Onix was recalled back into its ball. Brock turned and walked over to me. It still hadn’t sunk in that I had won my first Gym battle. Maybe it was the adrenaline that was coursing through my veins. As he approached he reached into his pocked and retrieved a small piece of metal. It had no purpose, other than to certify that the owner had beaten the Gym Leader of Pewter City in a battle. He tossed it to me, and I fumbled it as I caught it. I looked at it closely. It was grey, and was shaped like an octagon. I couldn’t believe it. I had the Boulder Badge! I was about to start jumping on the spot in joy when I looked up and saw that Brock, along with the referee, were nowhere to be seen. The confusion only lasted a few seconds, before the ecstasy returned. I considered heading off to Viridian Forest right then and there, but the battle had taken a surprisingly large chunk out of the day. The sun was getting pretty low when I got outside, and I didn’t want to create a disturbance during my battle, especially since Charmander had proven he wasn’t about shy about using his fire type moves. Besides, to give myself the best chance of catching him, I needed my Pokemon at perfect health. So I headed off to the Pokemon Centre, thinking up my battle strategies on the way.
The next morning could not have gotten off to a worse start. It was not the sound of the portable alarm clock that I had set to go off at ten o’clock. It was the sound of Chansey doing its afternoon rounds of cleaning the guests’ room. It was particularly surprised when it went to tidy the bed and saw me, dozing peacefully. But it still dutifully completed its tasks, until of course when she had to vacuum-clean the room. The din woke me from my slumber and I jumped up, baffled. Then I checked my watch and saw the time. I gasped in horror as I saw the directions the arms were pointing. I got ready in record time and dashed out of the room, leaving it in a state that was worse than that of which it was when Chansey entered. This did not please her. She chased me out of the room and, once she had caught me up, started her barrage of Double-slaps. I thought I was being mugged. Eventually it took Nurse Joy and two other Chanseys to pull her off me. I checked myself in the reflection of a mirror on the wall. It did look like I had been mugged. My nose was bleeding slightly and I had a deep purple bruise on my left cheek.
Trying to not let the fact that I had been beaten up by a Pokemon get me down, I rushed to Viridian Forest. We eventually found the spot where we had first met Charmander, but he was nowhere to be found. I then decided to send out Pidgey in the hope of luring him here.
It took a while for the flames to leap out of the forest into the sky, narrowly missing Pidgey. Pidgey returned back to me as the greenery was ripped aside as Charmander appeared. It seemed confused by my appearance, then starting mocking me, apparently for the way I looked. Apart from the facial injuries, I was wearing my shirt inside out, mismatching socks and my hair wasn’t particularly tidy. That’s what you get for getting dressed in thirty seconds. I decided to ignore his attempt to bruise my ego and sent Pidgey to do a Gust. The battle had begun.
Charmander dodged the attack. I tried a Wing Attack. Again, he dodged. This was turning out to be rather annoying. Charmander clearly had decided he liked the way the previous battle had ended and wanted the same result again. Pidgey wasn’t impressed by Charmander’s stalling techniques and went head on into a Tackle. Once more, history repeated itself. But I had an ace up my sleeve. Pidgey sent out a Sand-attack. Charmander, purely for the sake of it, sent out a Fire-Spin to counteract it. As the dust settled from the collision, Pidgey appeared out of nowhere, and landed a Wing-Attack right in the chest of Charmander, who was rammed backwards, hard. Pidgey then tried to get out of range of Charmander’s fire attacks, but failed miserably. Charmander let out an Ember straight at Pidgey, who took it straight on. Charmander had gotten stronger since last time. I wondered if he had battled any other trainers since. Pidgey flapped hopelessly as it circled down towards earth. It landed softly into some grass. It got up slowly and for a moment I thought it couldn’t fly but it flapped its wings and rose of the ground, still looking a little shaky.
“Now, circle and use Gust”, I shouted. Pidgey started climbing. Charmander tried a Fire-Spin but his accuracy was limited at such range. Then Pidgey dove. It circled around Charmander in tight circles as it rapidity fell. Then, when it was only a meter above his head, Pidgey spread its wings and flapped forcefully once. The momentum of the fall made the Gust extra powerful, and the spinning had stunned Charmander. The Gust threw Charmander to the floor for the first time. “Ok, use Wing-Attack” and Pidgey flapped some more so it was pushed backwards. It then flew straight at Charmander, head on and spread-eagled.
Charmander was suddenly aware of the situation. In an instant it pulled its claw behind it, and started charging up Metal Claw. Both attacks clashed, and almost as if life was written by a man who loves repetition, my Pokemon was worse off. Pidgey was lying on the grass, unconscious, while Charmander was knocked over, but still had plenty of fight left. He jumped up and was rearing to go. I recalled Pidgey. I decided it was time for a surprise for my little antagonist. I reached and pulled out an unfamiliar ball from my waist and threw it. The red light subsided and there stood my second Pokemon, Pikachu.
Pikachu opened with a Thunderbolt. The sheer speed of the electric attack was enough to stun Charmander into doing nothing, and the attack hit, shocking the Lizard Pokemon. He clearly wasn’t happy. He responded with an Ember, but Pikachu dodged sideways. Next, Pikachu went for a Quick Attack, moving left and right as it got closer to its opponent. Charmander countered with Smokescreen, effectively blinding Pikachu. Charmander took advantage of the situation by sending out an Ember, which hit Pikachu, sending it off to the side. The Ember continued on and hit a Butterfree, who had come to investigate the smoke. Butterfree, in self defence, released a powder all over the smoke covered area. Charmander managed to escape it, but Pikachu was still confused by the smoke, and was covered in the powder. The Butterfree escaped into the woods, and as the smoke cleared, I found out what it had done.
Right there, where there should have been a Pikachu that had a chance to win this battle lay a Pikachu which was asleep. Sleep Powder was what it was, and now Pikachu had to take the consequences for Charmander’s brash behaviour. The loathing simmered, just beneath the surface, but I kept it there. I knew if I caught Charmander, it would all go away. I just knew it. I wasn’t risking Pikachu to wake up. So I sent out my final Pokemon, Squirtle. This was it. I wasn’t expecting Pikachu to wake up and save the day should Squirtle lose, so I had to give it all I had.
I opened with a Water Gun. The jet of water shot out from Squirtle’s mouth and went straight forward, with unerring accuracy, at Charmander. Charmander blocked it with an Ember, and the water evaporated, creating a thick fog. Squirtle went straight in with a Skull Bash. The collision sounded horrible. Like a bone snapping. Charmander shot out of the fog and hit a tree. It slid down and howled out in pain as it cradled its left arm. His flame on his tail shrunk. I knew the end was near. What happened next was completely unexpected.
Charmander began glowing white. He got brighter and brighter, until he was completely white. Acting on impulse, I ordered a Water Gun to try and put Charmander off. It worked. It hit him on his injured arm and he fell backwards. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. It had taken all three of my Pokemon to do any serious damage to Charmander, and if it were to evolve into Charmeleon, I would have had no chance of capturing him. Charmander lay on the grass, staggered, and I took my chance and threw my Pokeball. It hit Charmander and he was sucked in and the ball fell to the floor, wriggling. Eventually the ball stopped moving, but not because it had been a successful capture, but because Charmander had escaped.
Charmander released a Fire-Spin at Squirtle, who dodged backwards. He used Fire Spin again and Squirtle was bounding off trees to dodge, and eventually ended up at the other side of him. I could have used a Hydro-Pump, but I didn’t want to risk fainting Charmander, so I used another Water Gun. Charmander was weak, and tried to block with his good arm, and was forced backwards, towards me.
It was at that moment that I realised Charmander was not wild. He had a dog tag of sorts around his neck, and on it was etched one word: ‘REX’. It had been released by its trainer for some reason, and that’s why it was so mad. I pulled out my Pokeball for a second time and tapped Rex with it. He turned around, surprised, as he was transformed into energy and sucked inside. I dropped the ball and it writhed on the floor. I willed it to stay in…