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Title: How did this happen?
It’s strange, I suppose. I’ve been around Pokemon for as long as I can remember. My interest in them waxes and wanes as often as the phases of the moon, but that’s mainly because of the stresses in my life. You see, I’m reaching the age where many roaming trainers begin to settle down, giving up on their dreams of being the best to start a family, or get a productive job, or both.
I really don’t know what to do with myself. The desire to travel hasn’t left me entirely, but I’m no great battler. I know that I don’t have a chance of becoming a League Champion, or a Top Coordinator; I just don’t have that sense of battle. But if I don’t travel, what else can I do? I can’t settle down and start a family. Sure there are one or two girls who seem quite keen on me, but I’m just not interested in a relationship right now. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever find that interest.
With all this doubt in my future, is it any wonder I feel stressed? Is it any wonder I feel lost? I’ve been thinking so hard about what to do with my life recently that I can barely remember what happens from one day to the next. So that leads me to ask: how the hell did I end up registered in this tournament?
The walk into the trainer’s box from the sidelines of the pitch seems to take an agonizingly long time to me, though I’m sure it can’t have taken me more than 10 seconds to get there after my name was called. I still don’t know how I ended up being entered in this stupid thing; I was all set to help my Dad out with a little gardening when my neighbour, Kelly, started ringing our doorbell, shouting that if I didn’t hurry I would be disqualified. When I opened the door to ask what I’d be disqualified from, she grabbed my arm and dragged me to this tournament. I really wish that she’d at least have let me change first; I can see the people in the stands pointing at me, and I can hear them laughing at my ensemble of muddy boots, torn jeans, and a patched shirt. She barely gave me enough time to grab my Poke Balls from the counter; I don’t even know who I’ve brought with me. I just hope that they aren’t empty.
“Hey mate!” I hear a loud voice calling; it’s coming from the other end of the dirt battlefield, and I realize it’s coming from the guy who’s scheduled to be my opponent. “That’s a real nice get-up you got on there; you planning on digging a grave for your Pokemon once I’m through with them?” It’s then that I realize I have a trowel shoved through my belt.
“I forgot that I entered,” I confess to him. “My neighbour dragged me here when I didn’t show up.” He snickers in response.
“Your poor neighbour; I hope she wiped the mud off her dress once she let go of you.” I start feeling a cold pit of anger in my stomach. This kid has to be at least three years younger than me, if not more, and I doubt he even knows who Kelly is. If he did, he’d know she never wears dresses. But who is he to insult her? Kelly’s one of those girls who really like me, and she’s still my best friend, even if I don’t reciprocate her feelings.
“Alright, that’s enough,” the referee calls from the sidelines. “This is the first match of the fourteenth annual Stig Valley exhibition Spring Tournament. Every match is a three-on-three battle; best two-out-of-three moves on to the next round.” He holds out two flags and then quickly raises them above his head with a shout of “begin!”
“I choose you, Sunflora!” my opponent shouts, and a beautiful flower-like Pokemon appears. I can tell straight away that it’s been very well raised, and is in the prime of its battling abilities. I start to feel very nervous; I didn’t have much of a chance from the beginning, and I’ve got to go against this? I don’t even know what Pokemon I have on me! Cripes. I just reach, grab a Poke Ball at random, and hope for the best as I send it out.
Oh, it’s Flareon. Well I guess that’s good; it’s a fire-type against a grass-type after all. I can’t help but worry though; my Flareon hasn’t had all that much battle experience, and that Sunflora looks tough.
“I’ve never seen a weaker looking Flareon,” my opponent observes. “Geez, I thought this would be a challenge. Alright Sunflora, wrap it up in one hit: Sunny Day followed by SolarBeam.”
Fantastic. So he’s going to use Sunny Day to make his SolarBeams form more quickly. Brilliant, just brilliant. It’s a powerful move at the best of times, and the fact that it’s a grass-type move doesn’t really matter all that much if more than one manage to connect. I guess dodging might be easier than trying to counter it.
“Flareon!” I shout, “use Dig and go underground!” I start to squint as the sunlight gets blinding, and I can feel the heat of it too. My Flareon gives a little yip as she dives under the ground; just in time too, since the first SolarBeam blasts past where she was just standing. I’m really starting to hate this Sunny Day now though; the light is so bright that I didn’t even see that SolarBeam until the last moment; it would have hit me if my reflexes weren’t as good.
Squinting and wishing I’d brought sunglasses, I suddenly hear a cry of pain from the other end of the field. I can’t even see what’s happening, so I can only guess that Flareon surfaced and hit Sunflora with all her might.
“Okay Flareon!” I shout, “stay in close and use Fire Fang!” There’s a glimmering of flame that I’m barely able to make out in the blinding brilliance, and then a definite cry of pain from Sunflora. I’m starting to get excited; Sunflora’s been hit twice, and Flareon is still okay. Maybe I can win this first round.
“Spin around and hit it with a SolarBeam!” my opponent shouts.
“No way!” I shout, really getting into it now. “Flareon; Sunny Day may make their SolarBeam charge faster, but it makes your attacks way stronger! So use Lava Plume and blast it through your Charcoal!”
“Your Flareon has a Charcoal?” my opponent screams in disbelief. I don’t have time to answer before Flareon unleashes her devastating attack. The effects of Sunny Day are starting to fade, and now I can see my little Flareon in all her glory; I’ve never seen her so determined. Her cream chest fur parts, revealing the small black stone pendant I bought for her. She closes her eyes in concentration, and her expression is so serene that the Sunflora doesn’t launch its attack. Silly; my Flareon begins to glow a deep red and a blast of pressurized energy roars from the Charcoal.
Even I’m in awe; I’ve never seen it used like this before. The Lava Plume is all kinds of crimson shades, and I’ve never seen it interlock like that. My opponent really doesn’t have all that much choice; he recalls his beaten Sunflora, and I happily hug my Flareon before returning her too. That was the best battle I’ve ever seen her do, and she looks more than pleased with the result. Since I won this round, I guess it means that I have to choose next. It’s only fair, right?
“I don’t know who you are,” I whisper. “Just please; do your best for me.” I throw the Poke Ball and am happy to see that it’s my Pidgeot. This should be a good match.
At least I thought it would be, before my opponent chose a Rhyperior for his second Pokemon anyways. Goddammit, how experienced is this guy? I don’t even want to know how long it took him to raise a Pokemon as powerful as that; I’m way out of my league with this guy. Maybe my first win was just a fluke? No, I earned that win. Or Flareon did at least; I couldn’t see most of it. Oh well; I’m determined to give it my all, even if it is in vain.
“Pidgeot, use Quick Attack!” I shout, and my Pokemon speeds off at a blinding rate; it’s hit the Rhyperior before my opponent can even issue a counter-attack. Not that it matters; Pidgeot just bounced off.
“Rhyperior, hit it with Stone Edge!” he shouts, and Pidgeot and I both cringe as we wait for the attack. It doesn’t come. The Rhyperior just stands there, scratching at its belly with an irritated look. I start to smile; his Pokemon won’t obey him. Maybe I have a chance after all.
“Okay Pidgeot, try a Steel Wing!” I shout, and the attack hits almost instantly. This time it definitely did something; it even knocked the Rhyperior a few steps backwards. It looks seriously pissed now though.
“Rhyperior, knock it down with Hammer Arm!” my opponent shouts, but I watch in horror as the Rhyperior chooses to grab Pidgeot by the wings instead. It jumps into the air, tucks Pidgeot against its belly, and hits the ground with a jarring impact that knocks me off my feet and even splits the earth. There’s no way Pidgeot can keep going after that; as the Rhyperior rolls off my flattened bird, I recall it with a whispered word of thanks.
Now we’re at one victory apiece, and it’s time to see who wins. At least my opponent isn’t taunting me anymore; it’s obvious to everyone his Rhyperior isn’t trained, and that’s more than enough ammunition should he choose to start up the unpleasantries again.
We both send our Pokemon out at the same time, and as far as I can tell it’s a close matchup: my Espeon against his Marowak. “This should be good,” I mutter.
“It’ll be fast,” he shouts, somehow overhearing. “Marowak, use your Bone Club on the ground!” I don’t know what he has planned, but it can’t be good. Sure enough, it isn’t. The ground begins to shake under the force of the blows, and the cracks caused by the Rhyperior’s impact are lengthening and growing wider.
“Espeon, run away!” I shout; just in time too. One of the cracks shoots between Espeon’s feet and rips apart the ground; she only just manages to leap to the side. “Fight from a distance; use Psychic!” I shout.
“Bonemerang!” my opponent shouts, and the flying club hits Espeon before she can take control of Marowak’s body. I can barely restrain a cry as she flies backwards before being hit a second time by the Bonemerang’s return path to Marowak.
“No,” I gasp as she collapses. “No, Espeon! Get up and use Psychic, please!”
“Bonemerang again!” The club flies and Espeon struggles to her feet; I close my eyes, ready for the impact that doesn’t come. Confused, I open my eyes and realize that Espeon has used Psychic to catch the club in mid-air, and is currently using it to beat the hell out of the Marowak. The Marowak may have been fast, but it wasn’t strong; it takes only a few hits before catching the club, but then collapses with a groan.
I would be ecstatic about it if it wasn’t for the fact that Marowak had caught the club because Espeon had fallen to the ground first, unable to keep going. With a sigh I recall my Espeon and press her Poke Ball to my lips in thanks.
I may have lost, but that’s okay. It was the most fun I’d had in a long time.
I only hope that Kelly isn’t too upset.