Title: Old Gideon McCrowley
Author: Ravyn Foxfyre
Old Gideon McCrowley tipped his straw hat back a moment to scratch idly at a spot on his bald scalp which had been nagging at him all morning. Sitting beside him was scraggly Nettie McCrowley who had also been nagging at him all morning. He swayed back and forth in his rocking chair, frowning into the hot Johto day and listening to Nettie natter on about how if he didn’t patch this porch up before winter it would collapse and murder them both.
“Trainer comin’ roun’ th’bend thur,” he murmured at last.
“How d’yuh figger thet, y’blind ol’ coot?” Nettie squawked.
“M’danged knee acts up ever’time thur’s a trainer comin’ round th’bend thur.” Gideon slapped his knee. Sure enough it was as sore as a burning Bellsprout.
Nettie grunted something about feeding Bless-Yo-Soul the Mareep, but no sooner had she stood up than a trainer did indeed come round the bend. She was a beautiful girl of perhaps sixteen. Her waist-length hair was auburn with blond highlights. Her eyes were shockingly violet. Gideon squinted for a better look as she approached their dilapidated shack, leaned forward in his chair, and fell off the porch. “Howdy thur, gal!” he yelled from the mud, over Nettie’s despairing clucks.
“Hi!” said the girl. “I’m Ravyn Foxfyre. I’m Flannery’s little sister, Cynthia’s cousin twice removed and Sabrina’s pen pal and I’m going to be the greatest Pokemon trainer in the world. Are you a trainer? Want to battle? I’ve beaten everyone else here on Route 38.”
“A battle?” Gideon gasped. “Lawd a’mighty! Ain’t battled none in nigh-on-twenty yeahs, Ah reckon! Sho’ nuff, gal, lessee what y’got. Go, Jedediah!” He seized a Pokeball off the belt strapped around his overalls and threw it onto the ground. Then he roared in shock. Lying there was a splatter of white-yellow goo laced with pieces of shell. “Jedediah!” Gideon croaked. His eyes rolled skyward. “Nettie! Jed’s done up an’ left us-all fer good!”
“Y’idjit, them’s m’eggs y’got thur what Ah was gon’ fry up fer luncheon,” Nettie screeched. Gideon would hear none of it; he was now whispering “Jed, Jed!” in a broken voice. Nettie limped inside, muttering, “Gon’ hafta wipe ‘em down with m’rag now yuh’ve got y’greasy paws all ov’em.”
Soon she returned with his Pokeballs. “Jed!” Gideon cried immediately with a gap-toothed grin. He flung a Pokeball off the porch. A Dunsparce emerged, buzzed softly and wriggled forward. “Jedediah’s been muh bes’ friend ev’since he got me out th’well back in ’22,” Gideon said proudly.
“That’s nice,” Ravyn smiled. “But you’ll have to send out two more Pokemon, because I only engage in triple battles. The League made that special rule for me because of my tragic past and heroic destiny.” She pulled out three Pokeballs and tossed them onto the ground. The three bursts of crimson light materialized into a robust Arcanine, a lithe Espeon and a shimmering Flygon. “This is Inferno, this is Solaris and this is Dustshoot.”
“Triple battle, eh? Fair ’nuff.” Gideon hurled two more Pokeballs beside the Dunsparce. Now a Shuckle peeped timidly out of its shell and a Qwilfish puffed up in warning. “This heah’s Zechariah, an’ this heah’s Obadiah.”
“Ready? Let’s go!” Ravyn said, and immediately began commanding her Pokemon. “Inferno, start things off with Leer! Solaris, use Helping Hand to raise Dustshoot’s power! Dustshoot, Sand-Attack!”
At once, Inferno stared menacingly at Gideon’s Pokemon. Zechariah cowered in fear and Obadiah deflated a little, but Jedediah seemed unfazed, perhaps because his eyes were always closed. Solaris lifted a paw to aid Dustshoot, who whipped up sand from around the shack and blew it toward Gideon’s Pokemon. Gideon coughed and rubbed his eyes; Nettie hurried back inside.
“Cain’ have thet,” Gideon rasped. “Jed, hit ‘em with one o’yer Yawns! Obi, Minimize! Zech—” But Ravyn was already shouting her next orders. “Inferno, Ember on the Shuckle! Solaris, Confusion on the Qwilfish! Dustshoot, Sand Tomb on the Dunsparce!” Her Pokemon leapt to oblige. Inferno, first to attack, spat a fireball at Zechariah.
“Not th’fire! An’ me jes’ outta Burn Heals after Bless-Yo-Soul knocked thet candle over coupla days ago!” Zechariah cringed as the flames hit his shell. Obadiah, on the other hand, had shrunk enough to avoid Solaris’ attack. Gideon was about to congratulate him, but he was distracted by the discovery that Jedediah was gone again. A hole in the dirt was all that remained.
“Musta Digged him his way t’ safety, clever lil’ rascal!” Gideon laughed. Then he broke off as Inferno let out a massive yawn, curled up and fell asleep.
“What?” Ravyn cried.
Gideon waved his hat and danced unevenly around the porch. “Jed’s Yawn got ‘im! Tole yuh thet lil’ blighter were som’n special!”
“All right, it’s a two-on-two battle for a moment. Not a problem. Solaris, Psych Up! Copy the Qwilfish’s evasion boost. Dustshoot, hit the Shuckle with Sonicboom!”
“Best Withdraw from thet’un, Zech.” Zechariah, however, didn’t move as Dustshoot’s shockwave struck. “Dagnabbit, cain’ y’hear me?” Gideon shouted. “Obi! Don’t y’got some kinda Bug move?” Solaris’ self-hypnotized trance was interrupted when Obadiah ejected a flurry of needles from his puffy body. Hurt by the Pin Missile, the Espeon fell back with a cry, exactly when the ground broke under her paws and Jedediah burst up to attack.
“Solaris!” Ravyn gasped. “Dustshoot, that Shuckle must be almost finished by now. Take him down with Dragonbreath!”
Dustshoot flew down, inhaling deeply. But as his mouth opened to reveal gathering flames, Zechariah rocketed upward, his shell glowing red. He collided with the Flygon and knocked him back. Gideon was so ecstatic that he nearly broke the railing off the porch. “Zechy! Yuh was jes’ Bidin’ yur time! Shoulda known y’was plannin’ som’n good, y’ol’ wart!”
Ravyn looked ready to cry, but she cheered at the sight of Inferno, who had risen from his slumber. His red-orange fur bristled at the sight of Solaris’ and Dustshoot’s injuries, and without waiting for orders he rolled into a fiery spin toward Gideon’s Pokemon.
“Curl up thur, Jed!” Gideon said desperately. Jedediah, the first to be hit by Inferno’s Flame Wheel, buckled down into a Defense Curl and weathered the attack without major damage. Tripping on the balled-up Dunsparce, Inferno passed over Obadiah but landed heavily on Zechariah. The Flame Wheel’s impact devastated the Shuckle, who squealed in agony and retreated into his charred shell.
“Zechariah!” Gideon pressed the button on one of his Pokeballs and recalled the Shuckle. “Nev’yuh mine, Zechy, nev’yuh mine… did fine… mangy ol’ mongrel ain’t gon’ hurt yuh no more…”
Ravyn grinned triumphantly, and for a moment her eyes flashed red, almost as if she was half-demon or something. “That’s one down, two to go! Solaris, use—” She was interrupted by Nettie, once again in the doorway. “Ah’m makin’ th’scrambled eggs,” she told Gideon. “Y’want some grub after th’battle, Robin? Set yoself heah fo’ a spell an’ have a lil’ lunch.”
“That’d be great,” said Ravyn without correcting her. Gideon was less gracious. “Woman, Ah’m tryin’ t’battle heah! Zech jes’ wen’ down unner fire!” Nettie shambled back inside with much mutinous muttering.
“Where was I…? Oh yes. Solaris, use Morning Sun. Dustshoot, give them a taste of Sandstorm!” Solaris arched her back to the sky as the bright sun restored some of her vitality. Dustshoot flapped his diamond-shaped wings to stir up a sand cloud. All the other Pokemon recoiled as the sand seared their skin.
Gideon winced, too. “Jed, long’s yuh’s curled up like thet, whyn’t yuh go fer a roll? An’ Obi, how ’bout a jab on thet thur Espeon?”
Still ball-shaped, Jedediah went into a Rollout, following Inferno’s movements. The first time they collided, the Arcanine only growled and swiped at Jedediah, but the second time he hit Inferno, it seemed to cause some appreciable damage… and the third time, Inferno barked in pain. Meanwhile, Obadiah fired a venomous barb at Solaris, causing the Espeon to hiss and soothe her poisoned injury.
“Inferno, Agility! Solaris, Psybeam!”
Inferno sped forward and momentarily blinked out of sight. When he’d stopped, Jedediah had given up rolling after him and lay there feebly. Solaris scored a powerful hit with Psybeam, battering Obadiah with the rainbow-colored blast. “No, Obi! Y’ain’t out yet! Water Gun!” Gideon cried hoarsely. Obadiah puffed up weakly, then spurted a thin stream of water at Dustshoot, circling overhead. But the water seemed to cause aggravated damage; Dustshoot screeched and fell to the ground. The Sandstorm faded as the Flygon lost consciousness.
“How could—? Oh…” Ravyn said thoughtfully. “That water was saturated with salts from Sandstorm. The Water Gun became Brine. Brilliant… Dustshoot, return.”
Gideon was overjoyed. “Fines’ battle Ah ev’fought!” he shouted. “Better’n shootin’ Magikarp in a barrel. Jed, take ’em down!” Jedediah slammed into the poisoned Solaris and plowed her into the ground. When the dust cleared, the Espeon was not stirring. Jedediah too, though, looked battered.
“I don’t believe it!” Ravyn gasped, recalling Solaris. “Inferno, this is embarrassing. Wipe out the Qwilfish! Flamethrower!”
Although the Water Pokemon resisted Fire moves, he was so badly damaged that Gideon knew it was over. Obadiah fainted under the jet of flame. Inferno rounded on Jedediah and caught the Dunsparce between his jaws in a Crunch.
Gideon’s voice cracked as he shouted his last order. “Jedediah! Flail!”
That settled it. Jedediah had taken such a beating that his Flailing body broke free of Inferno’s mouth and struck the Arcanine full in the face. Inferno howled and reared onto his hind legs. Then he collapsed.
When Gideon realized what had happened, he let out an ear-splitting whoop which prompted Nettie to reappear, clutching a skillet laden with scrambled eggs. She looked on disapprovingly as Gideon two-stepped around the porch in his joy. “Hoo-ee! Some fight thur, missy, some fight thur! Yessiree yessiree! Fust pusson says thet wun’t some fight thur gets a pow’ful wallopin’ from me.”
“Oh my gosh…” said Ravyn. “I’ve never lost a battle before. Never!” She looked heartbroken, but brightened immediately. “That means… you must be my rival!”
Gideon blinked. “Eh? – what?”
“My rival!” Ravyn sang. “Oh I’m so happy I found you. We’re going to have the best time! We’ll race across the land, spurring one another on to improve, sharing an affable enmity that eventually gives way to true friendship! Ready to go? I hope you have the first four Johto badges, otherwise I’ve got one heck of a head start!”
There was silence, broken only by the cawing of a Pidgeotto. Gideon stared at Ravyn for a solid minute before shouting his answer.
“Race? Badges? Consarn it all, what fer? Look heah, gal, Ah’ve done worked this farm fo’ fo’ty yeahs an’ been twice monthly kicked in th’teeth by Bessie our mad Tauros an’ what fer? So’s Ah kin go aroun’ fightin’ Gym Leaders an’ catchin’ a whole mess’a ugly critters Ah’ll nev’look twice at nohow? Cain’ yuh jes’ leave an ol’ feller in peace, yuh crazy varmint! Nettie. Han’ me thet thur skillet thur. Git outta heah, yuh lil’ upstart! Garn! Git!” And, swinging the skillet ineptly at Ravyn, Gideon chased her until she fled around the bend, sobbing that she was going to post about this on Whitney’s wall.
“Wull now,” said Gideon. “Thet’s thet.” He called Jedediah back and resumed his seat on the porch. “Them lil’ hot rods,” he said heavily. Nettie sat beside him and took the skillet from his wrinkled hands. “Yuh throwed out our entire luncheon thur when yuh took thet swing at her,” she said. “Jes’ an uncouth youth, thet’s all,” Gideon said darkly. “Y’gon’ hafta run fetch me s’more eggs at th’shop,” Nettie pressed on. Gideon tipped his hat back and scratched his head. “Real shame how they-all’s raisin’ thur young’uns now-days.” “Y’ain’t listenin’ t’me, yuh dumb stump,” said Nettie. “A cryin’ shame, Ah say,” Gideon continued. “A real, cryin’…”
If you keep on long enough it turns into a novel.