WOOHOO! New story time. I haven't written one in awhile, and I kinda got the urge. So this is the first chapter of a multichapter story, and follows a kid named Brad through Hoenn. Uh, this first part will sound reaaally generic, but bear with me. It gets better, I promise. So, for the first part I sort of overkilled it...by about 16k... Anyway, it's not too awful so have mercy :D
Pokemon Attempted: Scraggy (Medium) and Gligar (Medium)
Characters Needed: 20,000-40,000
Characters in Story: 36,511
Part One: A New Region, A New Journey
“Bradley, come down stairs!”
Brad’s mother’s voice rang out through the entire house, raising the hair on his neck and nearly cracking the windows. She was angry at him again. He flicked off his handheld video game and slowly pulled himself off of his bed. His mother yelled again, and he slightly quickened his pace, trotting down the stairs.
“Yes?” he asked, not making eye contact. He already knew what he was in trouble for. He looked everywhere in the room except his mother’s eyes. While searching for something else to focus on, he found his father with a similar disapproving look on his face. Brad decided that looking down at the floor would do.
“Your grades, son,” his father said softly, in contrast to his mother’s shrill squawks.
“What about them?” Brad asked sarcastically, now eyeing a crack in the floor that he had caused by dropping the table he and his father had moved into the kitchen once. He had gotten in trouble for that as well.
“They’re getting even worse, Bradley. I thought you said you were catching up?” his mother asked.
“You clearly aren’t. We’ve been lenient lately, thinking you were improving, but it’s clear that you’ve just been lying. Your father and I have decided that enough is enough,” she continued. Brad had heard this one before, though. She would go on a spill about the importance of not lying, and having good grades, then she would take everything away from him, but she would lose her nerve in a week or two and give it all back. Part of his discipline problem was his parents’ inability to follow through with anything they did.
“I’m sorry, I promise that I’ll start fixing them,” Brad said, now looking up at his mother, but still not at her eyes.
“No,” said his father. It sort of took Brad aback. It was his mother’s turn to stare at the kitchen floor now.
“What do you mean?” he asked his dad.
“I mean that we’ve had enough of your empty promises. We’ve been thinking a long time about what to do with you, and now the opportunity has risen. We’re moving you to Hoenn,” his father explained. Every word that came from his mouth cut a little deeper into Brad’s brain. The answer he had been given was far from what he was expecting. He almost thought his father was joking.
“Hoenn? Like, the other region? Why in the world would we want to go to Hoenn?” Brad asked, firing the questions off in quick succession. His cheeks were red and burning now, and he was now looking straight into his father’s eyes.
“We feel like you can’t focus well here. Unova isn’t exactly renowned for its education program, and we aren’t exactly sure you should be hanging around the people you do. Hoenn’s schools are fantastic, and I’m sure that you’ll do well in them,” his mother chimed in.
“But we can’t just pack up and leave, can we? I mean, you two have jobs,” said Brad.
“That’s just the thing. We hadn’t decided on what would happen, but your father got an offer at work today. They want him to be Vice President of the Hoenn Branch. Not only would this mean a lot more money, but it also gives you the chance to start over and start focusing on what’s important,” she said.
Brad’s father worked as a Sales Manager for Unova Pokemarts. He was in charge of taking orders from local Pokemarts, and sending them supplies from the Unova Branch Headquarters. He also ordered the Unova Warehouse more goods from the main Pokemart Headquarters in Kanto. His boss had noticed his fine work, and the main headquarters had made the decision to put him just under the head of the Hoenn Branch.
“So…what does this mean? When are we leaving?” Brad asked. He had given up hope. They weren’t going to turn this offer down.
“Two weeks. School will be over by then, and that’s when the people we’ve sold the house to will arrive in Unova. We’ll be getting to Hoenn just at the beginning of summer, the perfect time to do a little exploring, and hopefully make some new friends,” his father said. He had a way of making unfortunate circumstances sound a little less dim.
“Where are we moving?” he asked. Disappointment rang through his voice.
“A very small town. We’re a bit tired of the big city, so we feel like this will do perfectly. It’s a town called Oldale.”
~~~Two Weeks Later~~~
As soon as the three of them touched their feet on the new region’s surface, they were met by a salty, oceanic scent. Summer was already in full force in this tropical region. They could see the beach from where they stood, and hundreds of tourists and locals were crowding it. Some swam and others sunbathed, but all were clearly enjoying themselves. To their left they could see the world famous Slateport Dock, where huge ships were dropping off their loads. Some were passenger vessels and others were barges, but each ship was equally impressive. Brad’s father pulled a piece of paper from his wallet and read over it for awhile.
“Looks like our ship won’t be at the main dock. It says here that we need to go to the beach and look for it,” he said. The airline had arranged for their bags to be shuttled to their ship while they were free to explore the city.
As they meandered about, they walked through Slateport’s huge open-air market. They had all sorts of fresh vegetables from local farms, and lots of Miltank milk sitting in racks for people to choose from. Several venders sold various things, including vitamins for your pokemon. Brad had seen some of the more serious pokemon trainers in his school give those vitamins to their pokemon, and they seemed to work. Several different shop owners offered various dolls and furniture that you might put in your child’s room. Brad noticed a giant Snorlax doll in one shop that had several smaller dolls at his feet.
They exited the market without purchasing anything, and made their way over to the business and manufacturing district of the city. Slateport was on the cutting edge of nautical technology, and was home to the famous Captain Stern. He was developing some sort of special submarine that was set to do underwater research soon. Several labs and factories lined the streets, each one serving a different purpose. One was an aquatic biology lab, and another was a manufacturer of ship parts. A giant crane came out of one side of this building, and it was lifting pieces onto a half-built ship.
Though Brad wasn’t thrilled about moving here, he couldn’t help but be impressed by all the city had to offer. He wondered if all the cities in Hoenn were like this. As he passed the buildings he had read about in a book about Hoenn, which he had rented from the library, he marveled at how much more marvelous they were in real life.
After walking for quite awhile, their feet finally met sand. They were standing near a small shack which offered “The Hottest Battles Around!” and plenty of fizzy Soda Pop. They peered through various beach umbrellas toward the coastline in search of their ship. Finally, as their eyes swept across the beach, they spotted an old man who was waving his arms excitedly. He was standing next to a small boat, and a Wingull was drifting through the air around him. Brad’s family walked closer, and they saw some airline employees loading their bags and luggage onto the ship.
When they walked up to the boat, Brad’s father handed the airline workers a few bills as a tip and sent them away. Brad was busy looking at the boat that had pulled up right to the coastline. It wasn’t big at all, but it would be more than enough room for he and his family on the short trip to Petalburg City. The man who had been waving his arms crazily at them only moments before was now propped up against the boat, looking at his customers.
“Afternoon, folks!” he said happily.
All three of them acknowledged him in different ways as they climbed aboard the boat. Once they were inside he followed them up. The Wingull that had been flying above them now swooped down and perched on the very tip of the boat, watching them. The captain walked over to it and it hopped onto his shoulder.
“I’ll be your captain, Mr. Briney,” he said, bowing slightly.
He was completely bald and had a white beard with streaks of grey in it. He was wearing a red shirt with a bunch of stains in it, and a pair of khaki shorts that were frayed around the bottom. He wore leather sandals on his feet which were covered in sand at the moment. He walked past them and made his way to the boat’s small control room. It was the only indoor area on the entire ship, and even then it was still just a hut with no glass in the windows. He grasped the wheel in one hand and pressed a few knobs with the other until the ship’s engine came on. All the while his Wingull was sitting on his shoulder. The boat backed away from the beach, and then lurched forward quickly to the west. Mr. Briney never gained much speed until they were past the swimming area. Once he was in the clear he kicked it into high gear, scaring a lot of tourists behind them.
They were going fairly fast, but Brad could still make out the scenery around them. To their right there was nothing but rocks and ocean; land couldn’t be seen for miles. Far in front of them they could see a land mass, but it would still be awhile before they reached it. There was much more to see on their left, and Brad walked over to the side of the boat and leaned over. There were more rocks and a few sand bars where the water barely washed over. A few of the braver swimmers had come to them and were splashing around happily.
Suddenly Brad saw something incredible. It was a huge shell of a ship that was half-sunk on one of the sandbars. Its windows were busted and its hull was wrecked, but it was clear what it was. What was even more amazing was that there were people on it. They were climbing all over the thing and going in and out various doors. Brad made a mental note to return to this place someday.
“You folks don’t need anything in Dewford Town do you?” called Mr. Briney from the control room. They had reached a tiny island that was the land mass from before. They could only see a Pokecenter and a few houses. There was one fairly large building toward the back of the island, but Brad couldn’t make out what it was from the boat. Mr. Briney continued about the island, and Brad learned that there was a small cave on the northern side, which might be worth exploring sometime.
They continued their voyage without stopping at the island’s small dock. Their boat zipped through a narrow body of water between beach and rocks, and swimmers had to get out of the way. They made one more turn to the North, and then Mr. Briney’s dock was straight ahead. The boat slowed until it bumped the wooden structure. For an old man, Mr. Briney was pretty agile. He leapt from the boat and onto his dock, and tied the ship down. Brad’s family exited the ship with all of their luggage and walked to the dirt path ahead of them. It was Route 104, which connected Petalburg to Petalburg Woods, and then on to Rustboro City. Petalburg City could be seen from where they were standing, so they said goodbye to Mr. Briney and headed that way.
Once they were in the city limits, they found a taxi service. Oldale was only the next town over, but carrying all the bags was getting to be a hassle. They were fixed up with a driver who loaded their bags for them, and then quickly drove them off. Petalburg was a boring city to Brad, who was still anxious about finding out what is present was. The buildings were grey, and the streets were bland. Nothing stood out to him except the gym. It looked like most other pokemon gyms, and there was a sign above it that read “Petalburg Gym: Challenge Today!”
Finally the taxi stopped in a tiny town with only a few buildings in it. There was a Pokemart and a Pokecenter, and several houses sat in rows. It was the complete opposite of Castelia City, and Brad didn’t really feel comfortable there. They pulled their bags out of the trunk and walked down their new house’s sidewalk. It was larger than their home in Unova, and had a fenced yard. There were dense woods behind the house, and if you listened hard you could hear the swishing of the ocean through them.
Surprisingly, the layout of the house was very similar to their old one. A small living room was the first room you entered, and around the corner there was a kitchen. From the kitchen, a set of stairs shot up into the roof. All the bedrooms were upstairs, and Brad would be sleeping in the smaller one.
“I think we’ll get used to this pretty fast,” his father said, looking around their new home with his hands on his hips.
“Um, dad, what about-“said Brad, but his father shushed him.
“I didn’t forget, son,” he said. He opened up a bag and started searching within it with both hands. Finally he brought them out with his fists closed. He held both of his hands out to Brad “Pick one.”
Brad looked from hand to hand, unsure which one he wanted. Whatever the present was, it was small, clearly not a bicycle or new video game. After a few seconds, he placed his hand under his father’s left one.
“Good choice, son,” said his father, dropping a small sphere into his hand. It was red and white, and instantly recognizable as a pokeball. Upon landing in his hand, the tiny ball quickly expanded until it fit his palm.
“A pokeball?” asked Brad in shock.
“Yes, now open it,” said his father, laughing a bit.
Brad aimed the ball at the floor of the living room and pressed the button in its center. A flash of red light illuminated the dark house, and suddenly a pokemon materialized on the floor before them. The pokemon that had appeared was a funny looking one. It was mostly yellow, with a red midsection. It had what seemed to be crumpled pants around its legs, but two tiny arms quickly darted down to pick them up, holding them beneath its chin. Its head was huge in proportion to its body, and it had two large eyes and a red protrusion coming out of its head. Brad had seen this pokemon before in Unova; it was a Scraggy.
“Wow!” was all Brad could manage to say.
“We picked him up from the Pokemon Daycare just before we left. It came from an egg that was left there by another trainer’s pokemon. How do you like him?” his father asked.
“I love him,” Brad replied. He walked over to Scraggy and patted him on the head. The pokemon looked up with a huge, toothy smile and extended both arms, as if trying to hug him. When he let go of his extra skin, it fell back down below his knees. Scraggy quickly reached back down to pull it back up. Brad felt a hand on his shoulder, so he turned around to face his father who was holding his other hand out.
“You can also have what’s in this hand,” he said.
Brad held his hands out and his father dropped a folded piece of paper into them. He quickly unfolded it and saw that it was a Town Map. It listed every notable location in Hoenn, and even included descriptions of each town.
“Son, do you understand why I’m giving you these things?” asked his father.
“Not really, I don’t deserve them,” said Brad, now feeling a bit guilty. His parents had always been too kind, despite his behavior.
“We feel like a little exploring around this new region will help you grow up a little, and maybe help you see what’s really important in life. I was your age when I first went on an adventure with a pokemon, so I feel like now is the time for you to go out on your own for a bit,” his father explained “That town map is so you can decide where to go next, and the Scraggy is so you can have a true pokemon trainer’s experience.”
“But, where should I go?” asked Brad, realizing that he knew almost nothing about this new region.
“Anywhere you want. You have an entire region in front of you, and it’s yours to explore this summer,” his father said. It was almost too much for Brad to handle. On top of a brand new pokemon, he was having an entire region thrown at him to explore.
“I don’t…” he said, struggling to come up with words “When do you think I should leave?”
“Tomorrow I guess, it’s up to you. There is one thing I want you to do, though. Just south of here, there’s a professor who lives in Littleroot Town called Birch. Pay him a visit before you head out, I’m sure he has a lot of valuable information to pass on to you,” he said.
Brad nodded and headed upstairs. His new Scraggy followed him up, now letting the molted skin sag around his feet. Brad was tired from a day that was nothing but travel. He had come to his new home by car, plane, and boat, and he was ready to be still for awhile. It was getting dark outside, and he sat his suitcase down and sat on top of it. He heard his mother shouting from downstairs.
“Bradley, we won’t have furniture until tomorrow when the movers get here. You’ll have to make yourself a cot for now!” she said.
He pulled out some blankets and a pillow from a suitcase and fashioned them into a makeshift bed on the carpeted floor. He sat down on the blanket and admired his new Scraggy.
“You’re a funny looking guy, aren’t you?” he asked, looking the pokemon over. Scraggy grinned hugely, squinting his eyes. Brad reached out and touched the skin around the pokemon’s feet. It was incredibly rough to the touch. It made sense, as Scraggy were found in rough terrain such as the desert.
“Why don’t we go to bed? We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow,” said Brad. Scraggy nodded, and curled up beside his trainer in the mass of blankets. Though it was only seven o’clock, Brad and Scraggy were out instantly. A combination of jet lag and exhaustion aided their slumber.
The next morning the duo rushed downstairs. Brad’s mom was fixing breakfast, and his father was getting ready for his first day of work. He was struggling to tie his tie. Brad made sure his bag had everything he might need in it, including his new pokeball, and then walked out the door. He decided to let Scraggy walk beside him instead of keep him locked up in a cramped pokeball.
Once outside, Brad opened up his Town Map. He located his new hometown of Oldale, and traced his finger due south. The town’s image on the map was a large building with a few trees around it. He read the description the map gave:
“‘A town that can't be shaded any hue.’ Littleroot Town is a very small, southern town, and is home to the famous Professor Birch. His research lab is located here, but there aren’t many other areas of interest. The town is marked by its closeness to nature, and fresh air.”
Brad liked the sound of that. It was small, like Oldale, and it seemed to be a friendly place. He set off to the south, hoping to arrive at the professor’s lab before he got too busy.
The route between the two towns was pleasant. It was a dirt path that wound through the woods, with little tufts of grass along the side of the road. The silhouettes of Taillow could be seen above, and a few Wurmple were slowly climbing up some of the trees. To his left, Brad saw a Zigzagoon and Poochyena fighting over some kind of food. There was a patch of rich, brown dirt with three berry plants growing in it. Its flowers had just begun to bloom for the summer. Brad was happy that the weather was so nice. It was a perfect day to start a journey.
Finally, Brad walked through a narrow path into Littleroot. As the description said, it was small. Only three or four houses were there, and at the far end of the town there was a huge square building. Brad assumed it was the research lab, and made his way in that direction.
Brad reached for the door handle, but out of nowhere it came open and he was face to face with another child about his own age. The kid was wearing a mostly red and black, and he donned a bag that was similar to Brad’s. He had a strange looking hat on, with a green band around it. The rest of the hat was white and misshapen, and fell behind his head. This kid had a brand new pokeball on his belt, just like the one Brad had in his bag.
“Excuse me,” he said, walking past Brad.
Brad continued on into the lab and was taken aback by what greeted him. Everything seemed to be chaos inside, with machines buzzing and people walking around like crazy with clipboards and charts. Nothing seemed organized, but the people didn’t seem too bothered by it. He walked on in and saw Prof. Birch standing at the far end of the lab.
“Come on in, young man. I’ll be with you shortly!” he called. Brad nodded and took a seat at a table.
The professor was wiping dust off of his shirt and pants, and examining a tear in his shirt. His white lab coat was wrinkled and dirty, and his hair was a bit messy. Finally he came over to the table where Brad was sitting.
“Sorry, but I was just attacked by a wild pokemon while doing some research,” said the professor.
“Are you alright?” asked Brad.
“Oh, yes, this sort of thing happens at least once a week. Besides, I was lucky enough to be spotted by a young trainer who came to my aid with his pokemon. Actually, he just left,” the professor explained. That explained the other boy’s presence in the lab.
“I’m from Oldale Town, and I just moved here from Unova. I’m about to start a journey across Hoenn, and my father thought it would be a good idea if I came to talk to you before I left,” said Brad.
“Oh! You’re the new kid from Unova! I was wondering when your family would arrive. Your father is set to be the new Vice President of the Pokemarts around here, correct?” he asked. Brad nodded.
“We just got in last night, I’m still getting used to everything.”
“Yes, Hoenn is quite different from Unova,” said the professor, cleaning his glasses “It’s not often that our little towns of Littleroot and Oldale get new families. Lo and behold, both towns get a new family only one day apart! The boy who just rescued me has only just arrived from Johto.”
“Really? Who was he?” Brad asked.
“I didn’t catch his name, but I know his father. They moved here so he could be the new gym leader of Petalburg City. His name is Norman. Anyway, what would you like to know about Hoenn?” asked Birch.
“Well, I don’t know anything about it. What do you think I should do first?”
“Well,” laughed the professor “That’s an awfully big question. Hoenn is a very vast region with a lot to offer. However, Oldale is a fairly secluded little town with only one or two ways out. If I were you, I would head for Petalburg City to the west. You can challenge the gym there, I suppose, but be prepared for a tough battle. Norman is an experienced battler. From there you have a couple of options. You can head north toward Rustboro, or you can take Mr. Briney’s ferry on to Dewford. If you’re just looking to explore, my advice would be to go to Dewford on the more oceanic route. If you’re looking to make a name for yourself by challenging gyms, I’d go for Rustboro. The leader there is brand new, so you might be able to go toe to toe with her.”
Brad considered this. Gyms sounded cool, but he wasn’t an experienced battler at all. He had also noted all the cool places that could be explored on the way from Slateport, though, and knew he was supposed to be getting familiar with the region. Perhaps he would just decide when the time came.
“I think I’ll just hold off on deciding for now,” said Brad.
“There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Now, do you have a pokemon yet?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Brad happily, his face lighting up. Scraggy was hiding underneath the table by his legs “Scraggy, come out.”
The little yellow pokemon poked his huge, round head out from under the table before completely walking out. He looked at the smiling professor for awhile before returning a grin.
“Aha! A Scraggy! That’s a very fine pokemon indeed. They’re very hardy, and should make a great partner for exploring,” said the Professor, digging in his satchel “But, you can’t go on a journey alone. One pokemon is nice, but you’d be much better off with a full party. So, as a gift I will confer you these five pokeballs!”
Birch pulled out a small bag with five brand new, shining pokeballs. Brad’s eyes widened as he graciously accepted the gift. He emptied the baggie into his own bag and thanked the professor.
“Have fun on your journey, and feel free to come by the lab any time you feel like it!” he called as Brad walked out the door.
As he exited the lab with Scraggy by his side, he saw the boy from earlier standing outside one of the houses of Littleroot. He was talking to a woman, probably his mom, about a pair of shoes she was holding. Brad watched as the boy swapped them for the ones he was wearing, and walked around in them for a bit. He hugged his mom and then set off in the direction of Oldale.
“Hey!” shouted Brad. The boy turned around and looked at him.
“Yeah?” he asked. Brad could tell he was ready to leave town. Brad started walking toward him, and the boy began to walk in Brad’s direction as well.
“You’re new in town, right?” asked Brad.
“Yeah, we just got in yesterday. Our family is from Johto. Do you live here?” asked the boy.
“We live in Oldale. We just got here yesterday too. We’re from Unova,” Brad replied.
“Really? Wow, I didn’t expect to find someone else new in this small of a town. We’re from Goldenrod, so this is pretty different compared to that.”
“Yeah, we’re from Castelia which is a thousand times bigger than this,” said Brad.
The boys stood there somewhat awkwardly for a few minutes. Both wanted to go the same direction, but they didn’t really want to go together. After a bit longer, Brad broke the silence.
“My name is Brad.”
“So, do you have your own pokemon yet?” asked Brad.
“Yeah, I caught him just before leaving Johto,” he said, reaching for the pokeball on his belt. He tossed the ball onto the ground, and a purple pokemon flew out of it and into the air “It’s a Gligar.”
“Wow, I’ve never seen one of those before. This is my partner, Scraggy,” said Brad. The yellow lizard walked out from behind him nervously “Say…do you want to have a battle?”
“I’ve never had a real one before,” said Brendan “I guess now is a good time to try it!”
“Alright then, let’s go Scraggy!” said Brad.
Brendan’s Gligar swooped down out of the air and landed on the ground in front of his trainer. Scraggy surprised Brad by jumping out and instantly taking a fighting stance. The two pokemon both looked friendly, but each one had an intense and determined look on his face.
“We’ll start! Scraggy, I want you to…” said Brad. He realized that he didn’t know what moves Scraggy was capable of using. He thought about moves that most fighting and dark pokemon knew, and decided on one “Use Faint Attack!”
Scraggy nodded and began his attack. Brad was relieved that he knew it. Scraggy let go of his fallen pelt and leapt into the air. Gligar and Brendan were both watching.
“Gligar, use Quick Attack before it strikes!” shouted Brendan.
Gligar shot off of the ground like a rocket towards Scraggy, but the scrappy pokemon had a plan. Gligar followed his path through the air, and aimed his tackle for him. Scraggy jerked to one side, and Gligar speedily followed, but suddenly Scraggy was gone. He seemed to disappear in midair. Gligar looked completely baffled by this as he looked around for his opponent. Then Scraggy appeared right behind Gligar and kicked the purple pokemon hard in the back with both feet, grounding him. Gligar rolled through the dirt, while Scraggy landed gracefully behind him.
“Gligar, use Fury Cutter!” cried Brendan.
“Cut him off! Use Low Kick!” Brad said.
Both pokemon ran full speed at each other. They had intense determination written all over their faces as the distance between them quickly lessened. Gligar’s large pincer was raised above his head, glowing green. The Bug type attack would certainly deal a lot of damage to the Dark type Scraggy. Just as the two of them were about to make contact, Brendan surprised Brad by issuing another command.
“Now dodge that Low Kick and swoop around behind Scraggy!” he shouted.
Gligar leapt into the air, and wind rushed underneath its wings. It flew above its opponent with ease, and then made a wide turn in the air. Scraggy was completely baffled by this strategy. He stopped running, but took awhile to completely slow down after running at full speed. As Scraggy turned around, trying to prepare himself for the inevitable attack, Gligar was soaring down like a bird on top of its prey. Gligar tucked its wings close to its body, making him fall out of the sky like a dive bomber. Scraggy put up his arms, but there was no way he could block the sheer power of Gligar’s attack. The Flying Pokemon raised his pincer once more, and brought it down like a hammer on Scraggy. The huge attack sent Scraggy sliding across the ground on his back. His eyes were clenched and his teeth bared as he absorbed the massive damage.
“Keep it up, Gligar! Don’t lay off of him!” shouted Brendan. Gligar rushed over to Scraggy’s crash site and quickly began to swipe the weakening pokemon with its green pincers. This spelled trouble for Brad and Scraggy, since Fury Cutter gained power with each successive hit.
Brad knew he was running out of time, and that the assault of Fury Cutter attacks would soon be the end of Scraggy. He racked his brain for a strategy, but his lack of knowledge on Scraggy’s moves was an issue. He had to improvise. Time was running out, and something had to stop Gligar.
“Scraggy, grab his arms!”
The tiny Pokemon’s hand shot up from in front of his face and grasped the Gligar’s arm. Gligar looked at his arm and began trying to shake him off wildly. While he was focused on that arm, Scraggy reached for the other. Gligar was shaking and dancing like crazy, but Scraggy’s iron grip wouldn’t losen.
“Now, use Headbutt!” shouted Brad. Over the short time they had known each other, he had learned one thing: Scraggy’s head was as hard as a rock.
Scraggy held the pokemon with all his power and reared his round head back. His forehead slammed onto the Gligar’s chest with intense power, and caused the pokemon to cry out in pain. Scraggy’s grip loosened, and Gligar was sent skidding across the dirt. Gligar tried to push himself up with his pincers, but he had no energy left in him. Instead, he collapsed onto the dirt. Brendan zapped him into his pokeball again, looking a bit disappointed.
“Good game, Brad,” he said “Hopefully I’ll do better next time I battle. Now that I know how they work, I’m sure that I’ll be able to win the next one.”
“Thanks, that was a lot of fun. So, where are you headed next, Brendan?” he asked.
“Oldale Pokecenter I guess,” he laughed “How about you?”
“Petalburg City. Then I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I guess I’m just making it up as I go along,” replied Brad.
“Well, good luck, Brad. I hope I get to have a rematch against you pretty soon.”
“Same to you.”
The two trainers shook hands, and Brendan took off in a sprint towards Oldale. Brad walked casually, as it was still morning and he was in no hurry. When he reached Oldale, he took a left toward Route 102. He stared into the wooded area and took in all it had to offer. There was a pond, a lot of grass and trees, and several trainers walking around and looking as new as Brad.
“Well, here we go, Scraggy,” said Brad. His partner nodded and growled in agreement. He was as ready to explore the new region as Brad was.
The two walked into the route with anticipation. They had no idea what would be in store for them this summer, but hoped it would be a lot of fun. Brad wanted to come back with an entirely different personality and make his parents proud. He could already tell he was a bit more grown up now that he had some responsibility. He wondered how much an entire summer would affect him.
As the duo progressed through Route 102, they found it to be a lively and enjoyable place. Quite a few pokemon were playing and training with their masters, and patches of berries were sprouting up here and there. Brad looked across the landscape at the several trainers and pokemon, then reached for his bag.
“How about a Potion, Scraggy? You look pretty tired, and I’m sure we won’t get through Route 2 without a battle or two,” said Brad. He sprayed the healing mist all over his pokemon who closed his eyes, much like a child applying sunscreen. After the Potion was emptied, Scraggy stretched and smiled. His energy was replenished, and he was ready for any action that might come their way.
Trees littered the route, even causing the road to fork a few yards down. There was a small grove to their right that jutted out of the main tree line. Almost nothing was visible behind it, but Scraggy seemed to be focusing on it. As they walked, Scraggy never took his eyes off of the grove, grumbling and growling as they neared it.
“Is something the matter?” asked Brad. Scraggy stopped completely now and stared into the thickly wooded patch of trees. Brad looked around to see if anyone else was watching. Nobody else seemed to take notice of anything.
“Scraggy, come on. There’s nothing in there,” said Brad. He assumed Scraggy had spotted a Skitty or Zigzagoon and wanted to battle “We can battle some trainers if you want, let’s just-“
Brad was cut off by a muffled scream that came from within the trees. Scraggy looked up at him and Brad simply nodded, then they set off into the grove. Brad tumbled through the underbrush and suddenly popped into a clearing. Scraggy and Brad were met with a brutal sight. A man who was only in his early twenties at the most was holding a young boy up against a tree. The man wore a black and white striped shirt with a bandana covering his hair. His pants were blue with odd symbols down the sides. On the front of his bandana there was a similar sign, but from where he stood, Brad couldn’t tell what it was.
The young boy’s eyes were full of terror. He was lifted at least two feet off the ground by the much larger man. He spotted Brad and Scraggy come into the clearing behind his attacker, but didn’t say a word. The villain still hadn’t noticed.
“You’ve gotta have a spare set somewhere, kid,” said the man.
“I swear, I don’t know where my dad keeps them,” said the boy.
“Team Aqua needs supplies, and that Mart has everything we need. You’re going to get me in, or else the owner’s son might go missing for a bit,” laughed the criminal. Now he put the boy on the ground, holding him in place while he reached into his bag. He pulled a black cloth out and wrapped it around the boy’s eyes. He pulled a zip tie from the bag as well and fastened it around the kid’s hands.
“Please, let me go, I’ll-“ said the boy.
“It’s too late now. A ransom will work just as well to get what we need,” said the man, now standing the boy up to walk him out of the clearing.
“Hold up,” said Brad. His voice cracked when he said this, and he was shaking all over. He knew picking a fight with this guy couldn’t be smart, but he wasn’t about to let a kidnapping happen right in front of him.
“Huh?” said the main as he turned around to see Brad and Scraggy “Who are you, some friend of this twerp?”
“That doesn’t matter,” said Brad, trembling with fear as adrenaline pumped through his veins “Let him go.”
“Ha! I don’t think so little man. Move along and let me get on with my job,” he said, pushing the boy through the trees.
“Scraggy, use Low Kick!” shouted Brad. His pokemon ran toward the criminal and slid toward his feet. The man’s legs flew out from under him, and he crashed to the ground. He grumbled and swore as he made his way back up to his feet.
“You wanna play like that, huh? I’ve got tricks too,” he said, pulling a butterfly knife out of his pocket. He flipped it open and started walking toward Brad.
“Faint Attack!” said Brad, backing away from the man.
Just as he had before, Scraggy leapt into the air and vanished. The already dark clearing was the perfect place for Scraggy to exploit the shadows for his attack. Right as the man approached Brad, Scraggy reappeared next to him and landed a kick on the man’s hand. His knife was sent flying into the trees as he held his wrist in pain.
“Alright, things are about real,” said the man. He pulled a Pokeball from his waist and tossed it onto the ground. A Poochyena emerged from the capsule and growled at Scraggy “Use Bite!”
The mutt rushed over to Scraggy with its mouth open, showing off all of its fangs. Scraggy and Brad were caught off guard as the Pokemon sank its teeth into Scraggy’s thick skin. Brad was instantly reminded of the battle he had recently had with Brendan.
“Scraggy, use Headbutt!” Brad’s voice rang through the clearing. Scraggy smashed his head onto the Poochyena’s, causing the dog to backpedal. The Pokemon shook its head, trying to refocus its gaze. The blow had shaken it up to the point it couldn’t even ready a second attack. Headbutt occasionally did that.
“C’mon Pooch, Bite again!” said the man. Poochyena shook its head one more time, but couldn’t bring himself together to launch another attack.
“Low Kick!” Brad said.
Scraggy slid along the ground and rammed a foot into his enemy. Just like its master, Poochyena was sent tumbling to the ground. He yelped as the blow struck, and then whimpered as he tried getting up. The Pokemon’s leg looked injured, and it limped back toward its master. The villain’s face turned pale as he bent over to pick his Pokemon up.
“I’ll remember your face, kid. If I or any other Team Aqua member catch you again, there’s gonna be hell to pay,” he said, bolting out of the clearing.
Brad rushed to where the boy was lying. He pulled the blindfold off of his face and then turned his attention to the zip tie. He fiddled with it for a few seconds before pulling it apart, freeing the boy.
“Thanks so much,” he said, looking at the cuts on his wrists. He had finger marks on his neck as well.
“No problem. Who was that guy?” asked Brad.
“Some Team Aqua goon. They’ve been around Hoenn for a few weeks now, and they’re really making things hard on some of the cities around here,” he said, rubbing his throat.
“What did he want from you?”
“My dad’s store keys. My father owns the Pokemart in Petalburg, and he thought I might have a key to it. When I told him I didn’t, he attacked me. I’m lucky you came along,” he said.
“Well, you should probably get home. Be careful,” said Brad.
“Thanks again!” the boy shouted as he ran through the trees.
Brad and Scraggy followed him out to Route 102. None of the other trainers had seemed to take notice of the fleeing Grunt, and were continuing what they had been doing before. In only a moment, Brad’s outlook on Hoenn had quickly changed. What he had first viewed as a paradise had now become a harbor of fear. He was full of doubt, wondering if it was even safe for him to continue his journey.
Brad’s thoughts were quickly dispersed by his pokemon. Scraggy was tugging at Brad’s pants, trying to get him to continue down the path. For the moment, the thoughts of Team Aqua and the Grunt’s threat were gone. Scraggy reminded him that he had an entire summer of exploring Hoenn in front of him, and a few thugs weren’t going to get in the way of that.
NOTES (DON'T READ UNTIL AFTER THE STORY OK?):