Intended Pokémon: Poliwag, Machop, Gligar
Sugg. Length: 20-40k chars
Total Length: about 30,500 chars
It was graduation day at the Violet City’s Trainer School. Rows of children sat in plastic chairs on the auditorium floor, while their proud parents sat in the small bleachers against the back wall. All listened quietly as the various teachers gave speeches about how they were the best group they’d ever had the joy of teaching, or how the next generation was really the hope for the future. The only oddity of the ceremony was one of the janitors taking the podium to give them a piece of advice about wearing sunscreen. They smiled politely and nodded, clapping after each speech, until it was Evan’s turn.
Climbing the stairs to the stage, the fifteen-year-old tried not to trip over the gown that was just a little too long. As the class valedictorian, he was supposed to give them some sort of encouragement as they made their way in the world, as Trainers, or nurses, or just working a day job. He sighed as he pushed his blonde hair out of his eyes again.
He coughed quietly, shuffling the papers before him, and looked up at the sea of faces, most long since disinterested. He cleared his throat again, took a drink of water, and started talking.
“Graduation day. What a year. What a few years, in fact. Hard to believe that it’s been four years since Davis first told me about this place. In that time I’ve made friends, I’ve lost friends, I’ve forgotten homework, and I’ve written more essays than anyone should have to.”
Smiling at the polite laughter from the audience, he continued. “I’ve gotten to know most of you pretty well over the past year, especially. I’m glad to count you folks among my fond memories of this place. I was told that in this speech, I’m supposed to give you guys support, and speak about how we’ll all be there for each other, that school is a bond not easily broken.”
He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “The truth is, that’s not the case. To be perfectly honest, most of us will probably never see each other again. Or if we do, it’ll be a chance meeting at a Pokémon Center in some deep woods, or a bookstore. The world out there is huge, and I know people going to every corner of it. Nathan, I know you’re going to Hoenn to meet Professor Birch; and Katie, you’re going to Sinnoh for the contests.”
“I wish you all luck, in your future endeavors. If you ever need a favor when you do see me, don’t hesitate to ask. In fact, I’ll probably try to find at least some of you, because Steve, you owe me money.”
The laughter from the audience was more honest this time. Evan smiled. “I’m going to miss all of you. You’ll be in my heart, and I hope that I’ll be in yours. If we meet again, and I’m sure at least some of us will, we’ll at least have to go for a sandwich.”
“If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, myself, over this past year, it’s to be able to rely on yourself. That’s the happy little message I’ll leave you with today. In the end, you’re going to be the only one you’ll always have at hand. Make yourselves count for something in this world, and always depend on your own abilities. Congratulations to us all, I’m happy for us. Thank you.”
Evan returned to his seat amidst light but genuine applause. Smiling, he sat back in his uncomfortable chair and waited for the next round of speeches to be over.
~ ~ ~ ~
The reception after the ceremony was held in a park next to the school. Evan wandered from group to group, offering his congratulations and goodbyes, swinging back to the punch table to reload between visits. He had just started wondering where his parents had gotten to when he saw a familiar face at the snack table, but not one he’d been in school with.
The figure was a bit older than Evan, in his late teens; he had brown hair that nearly touched his shoulders, and wore a dark green t-shirt and blue jeans. He looked relaxed, like he belonged there, but Evan knew better.
“Derian,” he said, coming up to the boy. “Don’t you have anything better to do than raid my graduation snacks?”
“Evan!” he replied, smiling as he saw his friend. “Good to know you finally made it out of primary school, you goof.”
Evan punched him lightly in the shoulder. “Real funny, old man. What’re you doing around here? Last time I saw you, at the Leader tournament, you were heading to Sinnoh. What happened to meeting a few girls there for the contests?”
Derian selected another morsel from the platter, some sort of marinated cheese on a toothpick. “Turns out that place isn’t the hotbed of cuties I’d thought. There were a couple, but since it’s colder, most of them are all wrapped up anyway. More beaches to be had in Johto, so I figured I’d come back here.”
Looking around the crowd, his face got a little more serious. “Actually, the real reason is I wanted to challenge the gyms here,” He said. “You remember how I did with those battles in the Gym Tournament. I need to show people that I can, in fact, defeat them all.”
Evan picked up an appetizer from the tray; this one was marbled cheese, smoked meat, and a green olive atop a small wafer. He ate it, mindful of the toothpick, while he thought of a response.
“Well, Derian,” he began, “That definitely sounds like a noble undertaking. I know a lot of people from my class who will be taking up the Gym Challenge, and to be honest I’ve thought about it myself. I wish you luck with that.”
“Thanks, Evan,” Derian said. “You know, I was really rooting for you in the tournament, but you went up against one of the best Gym Leaders around. You didn’t even really have a chance to warm up.”
“Yeah, well, it really came down to skill, and he was just better than I was.” Evan picked another appetizer, this one some sort of dip on a slice of cucumber. “Even if I’d made it all the way to the end, he still would have beat me, I bet. There’s no shame in losing to someone better than you are.”
Derian fell silent, for once, as he turned and watched a Wooper wading in a small, burbling fountain. Evan noticed that a lot of his friends had wandered off; he finally saw his parents, speaking animatedly with Davis near a statue of a Clefairy.
“Well, it was good seeing you again, Derian. Will you be in town long? Want to grab lunch tomorrow or something?” Evan asked. “Of course, that assumes you don’t get so full on the finger food that you can’t move.”
Derian laughed. “Sure thing, kid, I’ll be sticking around for a few days while I scope out the gym. I usually stay at the Pokémon Center, so you can at least leave a note for me there.”
“Alright. Have a good night, and good luck again,” Evan said. They shook hands, and Evan went to join his parents.
“Yes, I knew he had potential, the moment I saw him,” Davis was saying. “Although, he has definitely surpassed my expectations; I’ve never had anyone do this well, this quickly.”
“Well, he does have my talent, his mother’s determination, and his uncle’s skill with Pokémon,” Evan’s father said. “He wanted to start his adventure with Pokémon from the time he could walk, and I knew that we couldn’t have afforded to send him ourselves. Thank you, so much, for helping him with the scholarships.”
Davis smiled. “I really didn’t do that much; they’re available for students in need, and the more promising the more likely they’ll get them. He still had to do plenty of work to earn them. And he’s more than repaid the school with his research, and field trips.”
“Hey, guys, sorry to interrupt. Hope you aren’t talking about me, again.” Evan said as he walked up to his parents.
His mom spoke up first. “We were just thanking Davis for help getting you enrolled here, sweetie. And asking how your year had been.”
“It’s been pretty good; I’ve managed to find all sorts of rare Pokémon, and I’ve even caught some of them. And Davis says that if I keep up my work for the Rocketeers, I’ll make a full fledged Team Rocket member in no time – I might be their youngest ever!”
His dad smiled. “We’re so proud of you, son. You’ve done a great job, here, and we know you’re going to keep on excelling.”
“Thanks, dad,” Evan said. “It’s been a long day, though. Can we go home now?”
“Sure thing, kiddo. Let’s head out.”
~ ~ ~ ~
The next day, Evan sat in his treehouse, listening to the pouring rain sluice off the wooden roof his dad had helped him build. Two windows, cut in the sides, showed the trees, bushes, and Pokémon getting thoroughly soaked; a Pidgey sat on one of the windowsills, halfheartedly trying to shake the water from its feathers.
Leaning back against the wall, he brushed the crumbs from his now eaten sandwich off his pants. Looking up at his Gastly, he tried to answer the question. “If Lucario’s aura is that powerful, that he and Sir Aaron could save the world like that, why aren’t they more popular?”
“That, child, is because they are rare,” said Gastly, “and only will evolve from their previous stage if they truly trust and care for their trainers. Nobody who could achieve that bond with a Pokémon would then sell it, and not many of them will trade them.”
“I see,” Evan said. “I really do appreciate you helping me learn history, Gastly. But how about for now, you tell me another story about your life?”
“Certainly, child,” Gastly said. “And I think this one, you’ll appreciate, and if you can’t guess why, I’ll simply have to tell you after it’s done.”
Waving a tendril of mist, he caused fog to settle around the treehouse. The splashing and pounding of the rain seemed to slacken; Gastly had done this before on a few occasions, for important stories that he didn’t want Evan to miss anything from.
“This would have been about fifty years ago. I was still alive, then; I was making one of my monthly sojurns into town for supplies. Violet City was really just a small town back then, and the Gym was brand new. People were just starting to come and see it.”
“As I was getting close to the store, I saw a child standing in the street before the Gym. I still remember that proud stance; it was only March, and he was only wearing sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt.
“He was shaking from the cold, but wasn’t going to show a single sign of it. I went up to the child, and asked him what he was doing.
“’Waiting for the Gym to open,’ he said to me.”
Gastly floated a little to the side, and continued. “Now, it was so early in the Pokémon League, here in Johto, that the Gyms were only opened when an official challenge went out. This child didn’t know that, but he was obviously willing to wait as long as necessary, even if it meant his freezing to death.
“I happened to know the Gym Leader at that time; her name was Rachel. I went to visit her, and told her this little boy was waiting to challenge her. Now, she was a sweet lady, and as soon as she heard about that she went straight to the gym to let him challenge her.
“I watched the battle, and it was very short. The only Pokémon that child had was a Poliwag, and as much as he cared for it, it simply wasn’t up to her well-trained Flying type Pokémon. When she’d defeated him, he didn’t say a word, just picked up his Poliwag, cradling it in his arms, and walked out the door.
“I spent the night in town, since we had a storm hit that day, and the next day as I was loading my supplies, I noticed the child in front of the Gym again. Still shivering, still only wearing those shorts and sandals.
“I walked over to him again, and asked him what he was doing. The answer was still the same, ‘Waiting for the Gym to open.’ Well, I resolved then and there to help this child beat the Gym.
“Over the next few weeks, I helped him train that Poliwag. We would battle for hours at a time, and every day, he challenged that Gym again. And every day, Rachel would defeat him, and he’d simply pick up his Poliwag and take it to the Pokémon center.
“The boy was clearly getting more disheartened, even though he still trained every day. I had an idea that I thought would cheer him up. One night, when I went home, I visited my workshop.
“I’d always been handy, and that night I made him a case for all the badges I knew he would earn. He only cried a little when I gave it to him; he thanked me politely, and I could see the flames of victory kindling in his eyes.
“That was the day he was going to have to win his challenge, and we both knew it. He’d been saving up his allowance, and he went to the little Pokémart in town.
“He went up to the counter, and asked what TMs they had there. This was before such things were popular, and I knew that they wouldn’t be carrying them there.
“This shopkeeper, however, had been keeping an eye on the child since he’d walked into town. He had ordered Ice Beam for the boy, since he knew it would do well against Flying Pokémon. He practically gave it to the boy, taking quite a loss, and the boy could only just afford it, but he paid gladly for it.
“He marched right to the Gym and found it already open. Rachel was inside waiting for him. Perhaps she’d grown too overconfident, since every day she defeated him; perhaps he’d simply gotten a large boost from the generosity of the people around him. Whatever the reason, he managed to defeat her handily.
“He proudly put that badge in the case; he gave her a big hug and walked out with the world’s largest smile on his face. Poliwag walked proudly by his side, and they walked off down the road to the next town.
Gastly floated silently for a moment, and Evan realized the rain outside had stopped. “I got a postcard from him, years later. The front was a picture of him and Poliwag, holding up the case I’d made him; inside were twenty-seven badges. He became known as Pokémon Master Greg, and was famous all over the world.”
They sat in silence for a while. “That many badges… Were you talking about my uncle Greg?” Evan asked.
“Yes, child, I was. And I think you should ask your father sometime what happened to his belongings. It may prove useful.”
Promising he would, Evan recalled Gastly to his Pokéball. He climbed down from the treehouse, careful of the slippery rungs, and headed back home.
~ ~ ~ ~
Silverware clattered on plates as Evan and his parents ate dinner. His mom had prepared a ham, his favorite food; he managed to work his way through three helpings, alongside a generous portion of mashed potatoes and corn.
They usually ate quietly, unless something special was happening at school that they asked him about. Today, though, he broke the silence, speaking up as he was buttering the last roll on his plate.
“Hey, Dad, is there anything left of Uncle Greg’s stuff, from when he was a trainer?” he asked, taking another bite.
“Hmm, I think there might be,” he said. “All of his stuff is in a trunk in the attic. What do you say that we head up there to look after dinner, graduate?”
“I’d like that,” Evan said. “I never really got to know him, before the accident. What was he like?”
Evan’s dad paused. “Well, he was always determined to succeed, no matter what he was doing. He had a great sense of humor, and was devoted to Pokémon. Why do you ask?”
“Well,” Evan said, “You know how I told you that my Gastly was special? That he’d once been a man, who died?”
“Yes, I’ve never heard anything like it before, but the world of Pokémon is vast.”
“He was telling me a story, today, of a kid’s first battle against the Violet City Gym. I’m pretty sure he was talking about Uncle Greg, and he might have known him.”
Evan’s parents exchanged glances. “That would be an awfully large coincidence. But we can definitely look afterward and see if any of his Trainer things are still in the chest.”
The rest of dinner, and the dessert that followed, was silent.
~ ~ ~ ~
“Aha, here’s the chest. Stand back while I brush the dust off of it.” Evan’s dad pulled a large, leather trunk out from under a pile of boxes, labeled with various rooms or articles of clothing.
“See, Gastly?” Evan said. “They do still have his stuff. Dad, he was your brother, I think you should have the honor.”
“Why… Thank you, son. Come on over here where you can see better.”
They crowded around the trunk as he opened it. Inside were several sets of folded clothes, an old leather belt with hooks for Pokeballs, a tattered backpack, and sheaves of worn and stained paper.
Evan’s father took out the folded papers first; he gingerly spread them open on the floor. They showed maps of every region, some with notes and lines scrawled on them. The backpack had long since been emptied, and the leather of the belt was falling apart.
However, what interested the trio was under the first layer of clothing. A finely polished cedar box lay before them, about the size of a loaf of bread. It bore no ornamentation save a brass clasp and hinges on the lid.
Evan’s father lifted the box out of the chest. Placing it on the floor, he gently undid the clasp and raised the lid. The interior had two compartments; the right one had rows of faded pins, that some of the original color still remained. The left, however, had a familiar looking red and white sphere.
Evan’s father spoke again. “Son, I’ve never really known how to tell you this story. Before your uncle’s accident, he was a very famous trainer. People all over the world used to know him; he was one of the few trainers that gathered more than one region’s badges.
“When the accident happened, we didn’t know what to do with his belongings. Most of them we gave away to other Trainers, but some things were just too personal to do that to. His badges, he’d spent years earning, and we couldn’t just let them go. His Pokémon went to Trainers that he’d been close to, except his Poliwag; we tried to release it, but it refused to go. It wanted to be with what family he had remaining.
“Well, none of us were Trainers; we didn’t know what to do with him. Finally we decided to leave it with the belongings, and whichever of our children became a Trainer first, would be offered Poliwag. Inside that little ball, it doesn’t need to eat, drink, or breathe, but it’s still doing it a disservice.”
Evan could hardly breathe. His uncle’s prized Pokémon, right there in front of him? The one he’d used to earn all those badges? Surely, that had to be a sign. As much as he loved Team Rocket, and helping out those in need, he’d always had a closer affinity for Pokémon.
“Dad… I’ll take him. We’ll set out to earn just as many badges as Uncle Greg. I’ll make you proud of me.”
“Oh, son, you’ve already done that a hundred times over. Of course you’ll follow in his footsteps. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“And I,” said Gastly, “think it would be a more fitting tribute to him than allowing his belongings to languish in a dark attic. Nevermind how much I may enjoy it myself.”
They shared a tearful laugh at that.
~ ~ ~ ~
“No, Evan, he’s not here right now,” said Nurse Joy. “He set off about an hour ago, and he may be back soon. Did you want to leave him a message?”
“Well, where did he set off for? Did he say anything about that?”
“Yes, he said he was headed for the Gym. I think today was the day he was going to challenge Lasky for the Zephyr Badge. If you head that direction, you’ll probably run into him.”
“Okay, thanks Nurse Joy!” Evan rushed out of the building, heading for the Gym at the center of town. It was nearly impossible to miss, as it was among the tallest buildings in the city, and had a spiral pattern along the outside.
Sure enough, he ran into Derian when he was halfway there. “Hey, Der, have any luck?” he asked. Several of the pedestrians nearby looked to see what the commotion was about, then went back to their lunches or shopping.
In response, Derian pulled aside one side of his jacket. On the inside were three badges; the shiniest of them was a silver U-shape, with notches at the bottom resembling feathers. Evan recognized the Zephyr Badge from his uncle’s collection.
“Hey, congratulations! Nurse Joy said that you were going to try for it. Glad to see that you got it.”
“Thanks, Evan. It was a tough one, but I managed to pull through at the end.”
“I’ve decided that I’m going to take up the Gym Challenge too, Derian. Do you have any tips for defeating her?” Evan asked.
“I do. I went in there thinking that Electric types were going to clip the wings of those bird Pokémon, but they all knew ground-type moves to short me out. I guess if you get to be a bird Pokémon Master, you know your type’s strengths and weaknesses pretty well.”
Evan mulled this over. “The only electric type I have is Flinch, my Jolteon. I’ll just have to figure it out as I go along. Wish me luck!”
Derian smiled. “You don’t need luck, kid. You’ll do fine. I’ll be at the Pokémon Center when you’ve won.”
Evan smiled right back at him. “You’re on.”
They went their separate ways, and in no time at all, Evan had arrived at the Gym. Looking up the height of the building, he was suddenly distracted by a pungent, unpleasant odor.
Looking around, he traced it to a tall, skinny man, leaning heavily against the wall of an alley nearby. The man wore dirty and ragged clothing, and in one hand dangled a brown paper bag, through which the mouth of a glass bottle protruded.
It was this that had put off the stench, as Evan recognized a cheap bottle of wine that the homeless in the area tended to favor. The man’s eyes were bloodshot, and it took several seconds for him to focus well enough to see Evan standing before him.
With a belch, releasing more of the noxious fumes, the man addressed Evan. “Hey, there, kid, are you… *hic* are you, a Pokémon Trainer? Yeah,” he continued, “I see the Pokeballs. You must be a trainer.”
Making sure to keep a good distance, Evan replied that he was.
“I bet you’re *hic* here to challenge the Gym Leader, eh? Of course you are. Nobody comes here for any other reason. Well, you wanna know a secret about bird Pokémon?”
“I know they’re weak to electric attacks.”
“That’s right, kid. But *hic* that’s not all they’re weak to. They’ll also go down if you hit them with a strong Ice-type move. Or even a rock type move. Stick with them, and there’s no way you can lose.”
Evan smiled nervously. “Thanks, er, mister.”
“Don’t sweat it, kid,” the drunk said. “And the name’s Monbrey. Master of fire-type Pokémon. Ruler of the seven seas!”
“I, er, I think you’re bottle is running empty there, sir.” Evan said, cautiously edging away from the entrance to the alley. “Perhaps you can rule the seas better with a full one?”
“By gum, you’re right, kid. I’d better get another. Thanks for your help, and *hic* good luck!”
Shaking his head at the encounter, Evan walked towards the large glass doors that opened to the Violet Gym.
The inside of the Gym was surprisingly open. Central pillars helped hold up the roof, but most of the interior was empty space. As Evan climbed the spiral staircase along the wall, he mused that it was a good thing he wasn’t afraid of heights; the railing to his side didn’t look terribly sturdy.
Every story, there were wider landings between the stairs. As Evan reached his third, he saw a teenager hurrying past; in his arms was cradled a Machop, who was covered in scratches and scrapes. “Hang in there, Machy, we’ll get you to Nurse Joy and she’ll make everything better!” the kid said as he went by.
After a brief pause, Evan kept climbing. From what he remembered, flying-type moves were especially effective against fighting Pokémon; the Trainer should have known better than to use it.
He finally climbed the last flight of stairs, and stood before another door. This one opened to a large, maroon arena, open to the sky. Stepping outside, he saw only one other person, on the other end of the arena.
She was only a little taller than Evan himself; she had long, brown hair that flapped in the wind, and a gray dress that swished back and forth with the breezes. Around her shoulders was a steel blue cloak, and when she saw Evan she threw one side of it out in a flamboyant gesture.
“I assume you are here to challenge the Violet Gym. I tell you now, turn back, for you shall not defeat me! I am Lasky, the Pigeon Master!”
With that bold statement, she threw out her other arm. The wrap around her shoulders went flying in the wind; a purple and black Gligar detached itself from a nearby pillar, swooping quickly to snatch it out of the air and bring it back to the Leader.
Looking around, Evan saw that the sides of the arena were actually tiered seats. Pillars around the arena held various sized perches, and some of those perches held flying Pokémon.
Stepping forward, he stood in the challenger’s box on the arena. “My name is Evan, and I’m here to challenge you for the Zephyr Badge. Do you accept my challenge?”
She too stepped forward into the box. “I do, but you’ll regret it. Rules are three on three, and you send first, if you dare!”
Evan hesitated only a second. “Legend! Don’t fail me now!”
In a flash of red light, he called forth his beloved Arcanine. Black stripes marked his orange body, and ruffs of cream-colored fur adorned his paws and neck. He stood protectively before Evan, the wind whipping his tail in the wind like a dancing flame.
“An interesting tactic,” Lasky said. “Don’t think it’ll throw me off balance. Fearow, get out there and win it!”
At her command, a lumbering brown bird with red crest and long, slender beak lifted itself off of a perch. Flapping its wings, it began to circle the arena, looking down at the Arcanine with beady eyes.
“Okay, Fearow, time to shine! Hit it with Air Slash!” Lasky called to the circling Pokémon.
“Legend, don’t let it hit you!” Evan cried. “Use your Thunder Fang ability!”
As the Fearow tucked its wings in close to its body, the Arcanine leapt to the top of one of the posts holding the roosts aloft. A pair of disgruntled Pidgey flew off as it used the ruff of fur at its throat to generate an electric charge.
Diving at him, the Fearow extended a wing. The leading edge stiffened, and struck the Arcanine; in response, Arcanine sank his jaws into the wing, discharging a shock of electricity. The Fearow screamed in pain, and Arcanine was knocked off the pillar; landing on its feet, it leapt to the top of another pillar as the Fearow circled around to come at it again.
“Fearow, time to finish it! Hit it with your Aerial Ace!” Lasky said.
Evan noticed the Fearow was favoring the wing Legend had hit. “Legend, it can’t take another hit like that! Finish it with your Flamethrower attack!”
As the Fearow lined up for its attack, the Arcanine opened its jaw. It blasted forth a pillar of fire, catching the surprised Fearow head-on. It fell from the sky, trailing smoke, and crashed into the field between the Trainers, obviously out of the fight.
“Fearow, return!” Lasky said, recalling the injured Pokémon to its Pokéball. “Not a bad start, kid, but let’s see how you can handle my Pidgeotto!”
From another perch rose a white and brown bird with a tail of red and yellow feathers, and long, red feathers in its head crest.
“Pidgeotto, Quick Attack!” Lasky said.
In response, the Pidgeotto blurred with speed. Charging towards the Arcanine, it deftly avoided another Thunder Fang attack and struck Arcanine on the side; flying above the arena, it waited for Arcanine to leap to the top of another pillar.
“Legend,” Evan said, “Try another Flamethrower!”
“Hit it with Gust, Pidgeotto!” Lasky said.
The oncoming flames met the fierce wind Pidgeotto was kicking up with its wings. Turning them back to Arcanine, they swirled around him harmlessly; however, when the wind itself hit him, he was lifted off the pillar and sent flying.
He sailed over the edge of the arena; Evan cried out in concern. Within a few seconds, however, Arcanine had leapt back over the rim. Evan realized his resourceful Pokémon had leapt between the buildings to not only slow his fall, but to regain height and launch back into the fray.
Unfortunately, the Pidgeotto was waiting for him. Beating its wings again, it caused a stream of mud from a nearby puddle to blast the poor Pokémon, sending it skidding across the arena floor.
“Okay, Legend, you did great. Time to rest now.” Evan recalled his friend to its Pokéball. “Flinch, get out there and win it!”
With another flash of red, a yellow canine-like Pokémon with spiked fur appeared. “Hit it with your Thunderbolt attack, Flinch!” Evan said.
As the Pidgeotto turned to face the new threat, the Jolteon twitched its fur and fired an attack of charged static at the bird Pokémon. The current fried the flying Pokémon in one blast; it dropped to the field, and the Leader recalled it to its Pokéball.
“Impressive, you’ve knocked out two of my Pokémon. You won’t get past the third. Gligar, go out there and finish the kid!” she said.
In response, the Gligar flew forward and landed on her side of the field. Evan realized that Gligar, as part ground-type, was going to be immune to any of Flinch’s electric attacks.
Before he could call a move, the Gligar struck its head on the ground. In response, the building began shaking; Evan realized that Gligar was using an Earthquake attack, even in this arena in the sky.
The ground under Flinch split open, causing him to fall into the crevasse. Rocks from the sides of the opening fell on him, and he let out squeals of pain. When the ground stopped shaking, Flinch was barely moving.
“Okay, Flinch, return. Thanks for your help.” Evan said, as he recalled the Pokémon.
Reaching into his pocket, he drew forth Poliwag’s Pokéball. “Okay, Poli, time to win this like you did for my uncle. Go!”
Evan sent out the tadpole Pokémon; it was round and blue, with a white patch on its chest showing a swirl pattern, and two stubby feet holding it upright.
“Poli, wag!” it said.
“Use the move my uncle taught you!” Evan said. “Use Ice Beam!”
The center of Poliwag’s spiral glowed white; Evan could feel it drawing the heat away from where he stood. With a cry, the little Pokémon fired a beam of cold air at the Gligar facing him.
It stole the heat from the air around it, causing motes of snow to swirl around it; when it hit the Gligar, it managed to freeze the moisture on its skin, encasing it in a thin layer of ice.
“No! How could this happen!” Lasky wailed. Running forward, she wrapped her cloak around the Gligar. She carried it carefully to a table out of the wind, rubbing its arms and legs through the cloak to help thaw it out.
Evan walked up beside her, recalling the Poliwag to its Pokéball. “Is it going to be okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, it is. I should have seen that coming, though. Well,” she said, “You did defeat me. You’ve earned the Zephyr Badge, kid.
From a pocket on her dress, she extracted a shiny pin; it looked just like Derian’s. “Congratulations on your victory.”
Evan stared at the small pin in wonder. This was his first step on the road to becoming a Master. This was proof that he was on the right path.
“Yeah!” he yelled. “I got a Zephyr Badge!”
(Story now finished, 10:30 AM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011.)