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Goron of Light

Memoirs of a Pokemon Trainer: Silver Chronicles

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Banner by Myn McGeek (aka Cucco of Aether)

In this community, we are Pokémon fans. In the world of Pokémon, we are Pokémon trainers. Every trainer has a unique story to tell, and though we all journeyed across the same regions, we each had vastly different experiences. This is my story; a tale based on my experiences in the games, with a little imagination added. It is a nostalgic tale, and will perhaps evoke memories of your own experiences. So, my friends, please join me on this quintessential journey, the one that defines what it means to be a Pokémon trainer. Join me, and be reminded of the legacy that we Pokémon trainers have built.

The Silver Chronicles continue where the first Memoirs of a Pokémon Trainer left off, beginning with my account of Pokémon Silver Version. Beyond that, I delve into the realm of imagination that was inspired by the many facets of Pokémon I experienced in my early days. Although helpful, it is not necessary to have read the first part of the story, which documents my original adventures in Kanto. From here, we begin a new arc of the story, which chronicles the second generation of Pokémon.

This thread continues the work that began with the hand-written manuscript of old, was reborn on NSider, and continued on NSider2. For archival purposes, the original NSider2 version of the thread can be found here.

Table of Contents

Prologue - below

Part 1: Johto

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Part 2: The Orange Islands

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Prologue

There is a story of a Pokémon trainer named Daniel. A traveler, he made his way to Pallet Town in Kanto, where he first became a trainer. There, he met the famous Professor Oak, and chose Charmander as his first Pokémon. He journeyed across the land, gathering more Pokémon and earning gym badges by defeating the gym leaders. He met two friends, a girl named Laura and a Pokémon surfer named Pete, who traveled with him until the end of his journey.

Daniel had befriended nine Pokémon by the time he competed in the Pokémon League Championships, where he gained a spot in the top eight. During his travels, he also had encounters with a strange and mean-spirited trainer named Tricia, who used to spread fear of an unnamed terror across Kanto. According to rumor, Daniel defeated her for the final time in an epic battle somewhere near Pallet Town.

After his fierce battles in the Pokémon League and with Tricia, he decided to rest for a while. This did not last long, however, because a Pokémon trainer always has the urge to do more. Although he had explored all of Kanto, Professor Oak told him about the region of Johto to the west, where new challenges awaited him.

Daniel stayed in Pallet Town with his Pokémon while making plans to eventually visit this new region. The time came when his friend Laura arrived and asked him to come to her home in New Bark Town for a special meeting. Inviting Pete to come along, too, they made ready to travel to this town, which was just across the border in Johto.

Before leaving, Daniel had some decisions to make. His first Pokémon, now a Charizard, had helped him to battle a great evil in a secret valley that was home to wild Charmander. Now, Charizard wanted to stay behind for a time and guard this Charmander community from further harm. Daniel agreed, but planned on reuniting with Charizard when the time was right.

Eight more of his Pokémon were staying in Pallet Town at Professor Oak’s Pokémon corral. These were Pidgeot, Raichu, Victreebel, Machamp, Wigglytuff, Marowak, Gyarados, and Poliwrath. For this trip to Johto, Daniel decided to take only one Pokémon with him to begin with, but he told the rest of them to be ready in case he ever needed to call upon them.

Having made his preparations, Daniel set out with Pidgeot as his Pokémon companion, along with Laura and Pete. Their first destination would be the lab of Oak’s colleague, Professor Elm, who could lend Daniel assistance on his new quest. They set off from Pallet Town and traveled through a little-known shortcut that Laura had first used to arrive in Kanto. So it was that Daniel and friends set off on a new adventure, not knowing what the future may hold.

Edited by Goron of Light

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Part 1: Johto

Chapter 1 - The Winds of New Beginnings

It was a strange and wondrous experience for Daniel as he traveled down a quiet path through the mountains on this transitional journey between regions. Though headed somewhere new, he felt comfortable wearing the same travel clothes he had in Kanto, a black jacket-vest over a red shirt with blue jeans. As he walked down this path, he reflected on his past journey, and wondered about this new region that was unfamiliar to him, but home to the girl walking alongside him.

Laura had been an invaluable friend to Daniel during his travels in Kanto. She knew the thoughts and feelings of Pokémon very well, and was always ready to give him advice. Today, she looked well-dressed for the road in her light blue jacket over a green shirt and skirt. She was usually very cheerful and bright, but Daniel noticed that she looked strangely somber today.

Pete, however, was in high spirits as usual. He whistled a catchy tune as a soft breeze rustled through his unkempt blue hair. As his sporty blue shirt and black shorts suggested, he was especially at home in the water, but he also enjoyed traveling the countryside with Daniel and Laura. Though perhaps the most mild-mannered of the group, he was always a reliable friend in times of need.

The three travelers continued down the mountain path until it meandered into a tranquil forest full of evergreen trees. The climate was beginning to feel different than that of Kanto, which had been bright and sunny, with leafy green flora. This new forest had a crisp and cool mountain air, which accentuated the fresh scent of the pines. Before long, this easy-going forest path gave way to a small and peaceful town with humble-looking houses and a pleasant atmosphere. Daniel, Laura, and Pete finally set foot in New Bark Town, the stepping stone to the region of Johto.

“So, this is your hometown, then?” Daniel commented to Laura. “It feels strange to actually be here after vaguely hearing you talk about it from time to time”.

Laura chuckled in reply. “Yes, this is New Bark Town, where I come from. It looks just as beautiful as ever!” She took a moment to take in the nostalgic sight.

“Yeah, not too bad. I could get used to a place like this,” Pete pleasantly noted.

“I’m glad you guys are with me,” Laura said. “Now, before we meet Professor Elm, you should come to my house. There are some things I need to tell you…” She looked troubled for a moment before adding, “I also want you to meet someone”.

Laura’s house was a simple and humble abode, with a backyard that looked fit for Pokémon to play. Although her parents lived here, they were currently away, as they often had to go on business. “It’s too bad they couldn’t be here today…but I know they trust me to get this started,” Laura said, almost to herself. Before they had approached the door, someone had already opened it.

“You’re here!” said the young girl who had come out. She ran out and hugged Laura.

“It’s too bad we won’t be together for long…but it’s your turn now,” Laura said in a bittersweet way. She turned to Daniel and Pete, who were slightly confused at this point. “This is my little sister, Clara,” she explained.

Daniel took a closer look at Clara. She looked spunky and energetic, wearing her brown hair in a ponytail, which contrasted Laura’s long, flowing hair. Her lavender t-shirt and light green shorts gave her a playful demeanor, and she had an excited look in her eyes.

“Clara, this is Daniel and Pete,” Laura introduced. “As I’ve told you, they’re the ones I traveled Kanto with”.

“Nice to meet you,” Clara said simply. Daniel and Pete smiled back, still confused as to what was going on.

“Clara has been eager to start life as a Pokémon trainer for a long time,” Laura said, “and my journey only made her wish even more that she could begin. She is only nine, so she’s not old enough to be a licensed trainer. However, my parents and Professor Elm decided that she could have her first Pokémon and travel under the supervision of a more experienced trainer”. She looked into Daniel’s eyes. “I was hoping that trainer would be you”.

“Me? Well, I would be glad to help out, but…where will you be?” Daniel responded.

“I’m afraid I can’t travel with you on this journey,” Laura said sadly. “My parents are going to be away for a while, and someone has to take care of the house. Not only that, but…my Clefairy has fallen ill”.

“How so?” Daniel asked.

“I don’t know. Clefairy is a very difficult Pokémon to diagnose. However, the Pokémon Center nurses said that it should be in a relaxing environment for a while, where it can see the moon. The best place to do that is at my house”.

“I see,” Daniel said, disappointed. “That’s sad to hear. We’ll miss having you on the team”.

“At least you get to have a new face with you,” Laura said. “I hope you’re ok with the plan? Er…why don’t we go see Professor Elm. He’ll explain more”.

Professor Elm’s lab was not far away. It was slightly smaller and less impressive-looking than Professor Oak’s lab, but it was a nice place. They walked up and Laura knocked on the door. Clara had not said much during this time, but she did look very excited.

The Professor opened the door. He looked younger, nerdier, and more stressed than the confident and expertly Professor Oak that Daniel knew. “Oh, you’re here. Please come in, come in…” he said.

“So, you’re the trainer who is supposed to supervise Clara?” Elm asked Daniel when they were inside. “Let me see your Pokémon. I’m sorry, it’s just a standard procedure…you know”. Daniel let Pidgeot out of its Pokéball. “Mmm…very good. Very good. You raise your Pokémon well,” he said after examining Pidgeot. “From what Samuel and Laura have both told me, you’re a decent trainer. I think you would be fit for the job”.

“Samuel?” Daniel asked.

“That’s Professor Samuel Oak to you,” Elm replied. “Did I mention he has some plans for you, as well? Oh yes, we’ve been corresponding on this matter”. Daniel was surprised and pleased to hear that Oak and Elm were friends. The situation was starting to become a little less tense for him.

“So then, is that it?” Clara asked. “Is it set?”

“Your parents and I know each other very well, and they trust me to approve of a supervisor for you, and I trust Samuel, oh, and also you, Laura, so…I hereby approve of Daniel as a supervisor for you,” Elm declared.

“All right! Yes, it’s so nice to meet you, Daniel! I’ve been waiting for this!” Clara said, beaming.

“Yes, very nice to meet you, too…” Daniel tried to smile, feeling a little pressured as he had not yet agreed to be Clara’s supervisor. He also noticed that she hadn’t acknowledged him very much until this moment.

“Now, Daniel,” Elm said, “Professor Oak knew that this would be a new experience for you, and he wanted it to be a learning process. He wanted you to train Pokémon you had never seen before, so…well, I wouldn’t normally do this for someone who already has Pokémon, but with Samuel’s approval…”

“Yes?” asked Daniel, starting to find Elm’s formalities slightly annoying.

“I am going to provide you with one of the starter Pokémon that I normally give to new trainers,” Elm finished. As if almost forgetting, he added, “Oh yes, but I hope you don’t mind if I let Clara choose first”.

“I get to choose my new Pokémon now!?” Clara asked, almost choking with enthusiasm.

Elm looked at her, not seeming to care about how momentous the moment was, and replied, “Yes, you may choose now”.

Clara stepped up to the Pokéball table with awe, and ceremoniously viewed the info on each Pokémon. Daniel had almost forgotten about the fact that he would be seeing new Pokémon that he had never seen before, but here they were. There was a Grass-type Chikorita, a Fire-type Cyndaquil, and a Water-type Totodile. Clara looked at each of them long and hard before finally deciding.

“So cute…but it looks like it could become strong. I choose Chikorita!”

“Congratulations. Very nice choice,” Professor Elm said. He handed her the Pokéball, and she immediately let Chikorita out and introduced herself to it. Daniel watched the introduction for a moment, but Elm turned to him and said, “Now, you can choose a Pokémon, too”.

“Oh…ok,” Daniel said. Clara seemed oblivious to all but her new Pokémon, so Daniel let her enjoy her moment without thinking too much about it. He thought about his own choice for a second, but not for long, because the choice was obvious. “I can’t start my journey without a Fire Pokémon…so I choose Cyndaquil”.

“Very good,” Elm said, and handed him the Pokéball. Daniel also let his Pokémon out, but their introduction was more quiet and solemn. Daniel and Cyndaquil looked into each other’s eyes, and Daniel hoped that it would be able to fill the role of Charizard for this journey. It was a unique Pokémon of its own, though, and it would fill a different place in his heart than Charizard. He smiled, already beginning to like Cyndaquil. It seemed to smile back, in a calm way. Somehow, he now got the feeling that everything would work out. He hadn’t expected to start his journey as a mentor, but he decided that he could do it.

“Clara,” he said. “I’m glad I can help you out on your first journey as a trainer. We’re going to have a fun time together! Right, Pete?”

“More fun than you can imagine!” Pete agreed.

Laura smiled. “I think you’ll like Daniel and Pete, Clara,” she said.

“All right! So, when do we start?” Clara asked.

“First, I have to give you some equipment,” Elm said. “Here is your Pokédex, and a Pokegear. The Pokegear is a useful tool that will allow you to read a map of Johto, call other trainers with the phone device, and let you listen to radio broadcasts. Oh, you can have a Pokegear, too Daniel, and also, I need to upgrade your Pokédex”.

Daniel handed Elm his Pokédex, and he put it into a computer slot. It was updated with information on the Pokémon of Johto. “That ought to do it. You can begin your journey when you’re ready,” the Professor concluded.

Daniel decided to spend some quality time with his new Cyndaquil, so he used the lab’s PC to send Pidgeot back to Professor Oak for the time being. He felt a little strange not having any of his strong, loyal Pokémon with him, but he figured he could focus on training his new Pokémon for now, and call upon the old ones when necessary.

Later on, Daniel and friends met back at Laura’s house. It was time for transitions, and another good-bye was soon to come.

“Good luck, Clara…and all of you,” Laura said. “I’m going to miss traveling with you”.

“We will, too, Laura. I hope your Clefairy feels better soon,” Daniel said. He was only now starting to really feel the disappointment. “It’s hard to imagine traveling across an entire region without you… I’m going to make sure I bring something back to you, Laura. A souvenir! It’s too bad you have to stay behind”.

“I’ll be all right,” she said. “My Pokémon can keep me company, and it’s nice to be back at home again. I hope you have a good journey”.

Clara hugged her again and said, “I’m going to make you proud”. Laura smiled back at her.

“Well, I guess this is it, huh? I hate long good-byes,” Pete said.

“Yeah…it’s about time you all started on your journey,” Laura said. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again sooner than you think”.

“Good-bye Laura, and good luck,” Daniel concluded. With that, they began their journey. Laura’s house grew smaller in the distance as they made their way to the western edge of town. The winds of new beginnings were blowing, and Daniel was about to start on a journey that would shape his life as a Pokémon trainer.

Edited by Goron of Light

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The new prologue was better, I think, so I'm glad you got rid of those sages. :P

As for the chapter... Honestly I can't tell how it's different on glance. The first few paragraphs flow well at least.

By the way, I love this banner. ;) Very good.

Edited by Dran Seasona

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Sages gone, good, let them burn in bad fictional character hell.... Wait.

...

... Banner?

BANNER?

BAAAANNNNNNNNNEEEEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!

...

WAAAAAAAAHHHH!! T.T *jealous*

... Does this mean there'll also be a banner for the Golden Saga coming up?

Edited by The King of Dastards

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@Seasona: I'm glad, too. :P

Really? The first few paragraphs flow well? I'm relieved to hear you say that. I had a surprising amount of trouble getting them to flow correctly. o_O Those first few paragraphs are all that really matter, anyway. Any other differences in this chapter are subtle.

@KoD: Hey, it's not like UD doesn't have a banner. :P If by "Golden Saga" you mean the Golden Tournament, then no. It won't be a separate thread.

Now, in the interest of keeping to my word and getting through this quickly, it would behoove me to post two chapters. These chapters have no notable differences, except that in Chapter 2, I threw in a wild Rattata in order to more properly introduce Cyndaquil and Clara. Also, I'm now condensing multiple episodes into single chapters like I had started doing in the Silver Records of the original thread.

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Chapter 2 – New Experiences

~ A Lurker in the Night ~

After putting New Bark Town behind them, Daniel and friends stepped out on the road that led to the heart of Johto. Known as Route 29, it was a simple and pleasant country road with vibrant grass and trees. According to the map on Daniel’s Pokegear, the next major town was Cherrygrove City, so he figured he should head there first.

Familiar Pokémon such as Pidgey and Rattata lived on this route, as well as new ones such as Sentret. Most of them kept their distance, but one bold Rattata dared to challenge the group, and Clara was excited to see Daniel battle it.

“All right, Cyndaquil, give it your best shot!” Daniel said as he sent his fiery Pokémon into battle for the first time.

“What kind of moves does it know?” Clara eagerly asked.

“It looks like Cyndaquil can only attack with Tackle for now. It may not be experienced enough to use a Fire-type move. Try using Tackle, Cyndaquil!” Daniel said.

The Pokémon felt brave enough to comply, so it launched itself into its foe. Fortunately, the Rattata had little strength to back up its challenge. It had most of the wind knocked out of it by the Tackle, but it attempted a Tackle of its own. Cyndaquil was not too badly hurt by the attack, and it hardily struck back with another Tackle, which took the Rattata out.

Daniel was impressed by Cyndaquil’s ability, and he was even more pleased to see its quills suddenly flare up with heat. “I think it may be able to use Ember now,” he noted after scanning Cyndaquil with his Pokédex.

“Awesome!” Clara said. “Can I battle a wild Pokémon?”

Daniel was not sure how to respond, but he remembered that as her new mentor, he should make sure she did not get into any trouble without being ready. “Maybe you’ll have a chance. We’ll see,” he decided.

About halfway down the route, the party came across a guardhouse leading to the north. Daniel decided to see where it led. “This way leads to Route 46,” the guard explained when they entered. “You won’t be able to get very far, because the mountain is too steep to climb. Still, it’s a breathtaking sight, if you want to go sightseeing”.

After passing through the gate, Daniel and friends looked up at a towering mountain range. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful!” Clara commented.

“You’ll see a lot of beautiful things on this journey,” Daniel said, “I’m sure of it”.

A lot of rocks were strewn around the ground, and Daniel wondered what kind of wild Pokémon were hiding. He began searching around, when he felt something move as he stepped on it. It was a Geodude, a familiar sight from Kanto. Although it was nothing new, Daniel decided to test Cyndaquil’s skills against it, anyway.

“Now Clara, watch carefully,” he said. “This will help you learn more battle techniques. Normally, Cyndaquil would have a weakness against Geodude, but this wild one doesn’t have any battling experience. Cyndaquil, Ember!”

His Pokémon friend raised the fiery quills on its back, and released an Ember attack. Geodude was resistant, but its health was still lowered. The Geodude responded with a Tackle, but Cyndaquil did not appear very to be phased. “Let’s see another Ember!” Daniel said. The second attack lowered Geodude’s health enough so that it could be captured. “Clara, here is your second lesson for the day - a Pokémon capture!” He threw a Pokéball and caught the Geodude.

“Wow! I’d love to try it!” Clara said. “I haven’t seen any Pokémon that I particularly like, though”.

“Sometimes, it’s good to catch Pokémon just for extra security,” Daniel said. “I didn’t like the idea of having only one Pokémon on my team, and I think this Geodude will make a nice addition”.

After viewing the mountain scenery, the party continued to travel west down Route 29. It was not long before dusk fell, and night began to settle in. As they walked down the path, trying to hurry toward Cherrygrove City, Daniel suddenly spotted a suspicious looking figure. This person noticed him and became startled.

“Hey! What are you guys doing lurking around at night like this?” he asked. Daniel couldn’t see him very well.

“We’re just on our way to Cherrygrove,” Daniel replied. “You’re the one who seems to be lurking”.

“That’s right, and I don’t like being snuck up on!” said the stranger. “Why don’t I find out whether you’re really tough enough to travel at night? It just might be dangerous!” He walked closer so that Daniel could see him. The stranger had long, red hair and wore a black jacket. “So, are you going to be the one to fight me?” he challenged.

“I’ll do it!” Clara piped in.

“What!?” Daniel responded. “You’re not nearly ready for a trainer battle, Clara! You haven’t even battled any wild Pokémon yet!”

“Aw, won’t you let me give it a try?” she replied.

The stranger laughed. “If you want to challenge me, then go ahead! It will be fun beating down a wimp like you!”

“All right, Chikorita, go!” Clara said with vigor. Her cute new Pokémon emerged from its Pokéball and looked around innocently. The stranger immediately sent out his own Pokémon, and there was nothing Daniel could do to stop the confrontation.

“Sneasel, use Slash and tear it to pieces!” the stranger said with a devilish grin. Daniel looked up this new Pokémon. It was a deadly fighter, both an Ice type and a… “Dark type?” Daniel said out loud.

The attack tore into Chikorita mercilessly. It was too much for the inexperienced Pokémon to handle, and it fainted. “Huh? No!” Clara said, reluctantly bringing Chikorita back in its Pokéball. Before she could, however, the stranger had suddenly issued another command.

“Sneasel, Pursuit!” Sneasel used a strange, fierce looking attack that caught Chikorita before it could be withdrawn, hurting it after it had already fainted. “Hahaha! How pathetic!” the stranger laughed. Clara was on the verge of tears.

Now, Daniel was angry. “You really have the guts to do something like that?” he said. “You’re going to have to face me now!” The stranger looked unconcerned as Daniel sent out Cyndaquil.

“Sneasel, Slash!” the stranger said. Cyndaquil was taken off guard by the unexpected ferocity of the attack, and barely managed to survive. It quickly used Ember to retaliate. The Ice-type Sneasel was weakened, but not enough to prevent it from using another strange move called Faint Attack. Cyndaquil was defeated, looking very weak and pitiable.

Daniel had no choice but to send out Geodude. Needless to say, it lacked the necessary experience, and was immediately felled by a Faint Attack. Geodude frowned as it was taken back into its Pokéball, apparently not very concerned about its injuries. Despite its loss, Daniel could already tell that Geodude’s tough demeanor would be of great value to him.

“Ha! So, you’re not so tough either!” the stranger gloated, reminding Daniel that he had lost the battle. “Well, are you going to challenge me?” the stranger asked, turning to Pete.

“Eh…no,” Pete replied, somewhat embarrassed, although it was a smart move.

“Then I guess I’ve taught you all a lesson!” the stranger laughed. “That’s right, I’m the master of Dark-type Pokémon, and don’t forget it! I’ll see you next time, and beat you next time!”

“Just who are you, anyway?” Daniel demanded.

The stranger looked amused. “Well, you know what most people call me? They call me Meany! Haha! I think I like that, so you can refer to me as such, too!” With that, he continued laughing and ran off into the night.

“Is Meany a name?” Clara asked.

“I think it might be Irish…or something,” Pete said with a shrug.

“Well, that was humiliating, to say the least,” Daniel growled. “I hope we don’t run into this ‘Meany’ guy again, but I have a feeling we will. In fact, on second thought, I hope we do, so I can teach him a lesson!”

“We’d better get to the Pokémon Center as quickly as possible,” Pete reminded him.

“Yes, that would be good,” Daniel said. “Clara, I’m sorry your first battle had to happen this way…”

“Hey, it just means I have to train harder!” Clara replied, apparently not too broken up about her brutal defeat.

Daniel was not quite used to having inexperienced Pokémon with him, and he realized that he would need to train his Pokémon just as much as Clara would. His loss had helped him formed a new bond with his Pokémon, though, and taught him to keep on his guard in this tough region.

~ Clamped On ~

After the battle with Meany, the party arrived safely in Cherrygrove City, a small and humble place, but with a Pokémon Center. Their Pokémon were restored to health, and it was here that Daniel learned of Violet City, where the first of Johto’s gyms awaited. He figured this should be his next destination, so he planned the journey there.

Before leaving Cherrygrove City, however, they decided to take a look around. In the west of town, they came across a small lake. Here, they met someone who appeared to be a Pokémon surfer, and Pete asked him what he was doing.

“I’m practicing for an upcoming championship on Route 32,” the surfer replied.

“I’ve got to find out more about that!” Pete said. “Want to race?”

“Sure,” the surfer replied.

Pete got on his trusty Squirtle, the Pokémon had used to win many surfing championships back in Kanto. The surfer’s Pokémon of choice was a Seaking. They began a race to a small island and back. As Pete sped across the water, something bit his arm and latched on. He cringed, but tried to make it back to shore. He ended up just winning the race, but his main concern was finding out what had clamped itself onto him.

“Whoa, there’s a Totodile on you!” the surfer said. Daniel looked it up in his Pokédex, noticing that it was one of the starter Pokémon that Professor Elm handed out. Apparently, this Pokémon would stubbornly latch onto anything its jaws met.

Luckily, Totodile wasn’t biting into Pete very hard, but it was causing discomfort. “Squirtle, try to Headbutt it off!” Pete said. Squirtle slammed into Totodile, but it remained latched on. “I’m afraid it will stay clamped even if it faints!” Pete said desperately. He tried sending out another of his Pokémon; the goofy Golduck he had acquired in Kanto. “Use Disable!” he said.

Golduck tried to disable the Totodile, but its jaws simply fell limp, while still being clamped on. Golduck then attempted to scare Totodile off by squawking threateningly, but Totodile wasn’t very intimidated. “Any other ideas?” Pete asked.

An idea lit Daniel’s face. “Hey, maybe this will work!” he said. He threw a Pokéball at the Totodile. Sure enough, it was transferred into energy and caught inside the Pokéball, and did not manage to break out.

“Whew…thanks, Daniel,” Pete sighed, relieved.

“No problem,” Daniel replied. “Hey, that Totodile seems to like you. Why don’t you keep it?”

“I think I kind of like the guy. Maybe I will!” Pete laughed.

“That’s strange, though…you wouldn’t normally see a Totodile in the wild, here,” the surfer said. “Oh well”.

The surfer then told Pete a little more about the competition on Route 32. Daniel and friends had a fair amount of time in which to reach it, so they continued on their journey without worry.

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Chapter 3 – Into the Wilderness

~ Sweet Scent ~

Leaving Cherrygrove City, Daniel and friends traveled up Route 30, toward Violet City. Most of this route was surrounded by tall evergreen trees, but after a while they came across a patch of strange flowers. These flowers had an overpowering scent, but a girl was walking about, gathering them with no trouble.

“What are you doing?” Clara asked.

“Oh, hello,” the girl replied. “My name is Flora. I’m collecting flowers for my perfume shop in Violet City”.

“These flowers are making me woozy…” Pete said.

Daniel sneezed. “I’m allergic to pollen,” he grimly noted.

“Yes, the flowers have a strong scent. It takes some getting used to. You might want to stand on that small hill over there, if it bothers you,” Flora said.

Daniel and friends moved onto the small hill overlooking the field. “Very interesting, but maybe we should move on now,” Daniel suggested.

However, Clara was getting curious. “You make perfume out of these flowers? Wouldn’t the scent knock people out?”

Flora laughed. “It would if it weren’t for my Bellsprout”. They then noticed the Bellsprout standing nearby. “I mix the scent of the flowers with Bellsprout’s Sweet Scent. It lessens the strength of the flowers, but still gives it a unique scent. Why don’t you show them, Bellsprout?”

Her Bellsprout showed them its Sweet Scent move, which weakened the overpowering scent of the flowers. Daniel had never seen any Bellsprout in Kanto use the move before. Perhaps only Bellsprout native to Johto would learn it, he thought.

Suddenly, there was a movement in some nearby bushes. Bellsprout noticed it, and alerted Flora. “Huh? What are you doing here, Maggie?” Flora said, as the person hiding in the bushes failed to conceal herself. “You’re not spying on me to try to discover my secret recipe, are you?” Flora said suspiciously.

“Ugh… I had to do something! You’re putting me out of business!” Maggie replied, annoyed.

“That’s still not the fair way to do things,” Flora said. Daniel and friends could only stand around, blinking in bewilderment at this strange confrontation.

“Fine, then let’s have a battle for it! Maybe that will be fair!” Maggie replied, angrily. She sent out a Furret.

“If I win, will you stop spying on me?” Flora asked.

“Furret, Double Team!” was Maggie’s only reply.

“Bellsprout, Sweet Scent!” Flora said. This move lowered Furret’s evasion, nullifying its Double Team.

“Oh…Quick Attack!” Maggie said desperately. Flora countered with Sleep Powder, and a few Vine Whips knocked Furret out.

“Fine, Flora, you win. I’ll just have to think of something else to get my perfume business back…” Maggie said dejectedly.

“There are plenty of bases I don’t cover, you know,” Flora said. “Find one of them”.

At this point, Daniel could no longer stand the allergies the flowers were inducing, and Pete was about ready to faint. “Nice battle,” Daniel said. “That taught me something new about Pokémon moves in Johto. We had better be going now, though”.

“All right, then. It was nice meeting you!” Flora said.

Daniel and friends continued on their journey, pondering the strange incidents that had occurred.

~ The Mysterious Egg ~

The fresh scent of pine trees and the cool mountain air welcomed Daniel and friends as they continued their journey up Route 30. After walking for quite a distance, they were suddenly stopped by an old gentleman.

“Excuse me, young trainers, if you’ll kindly come over here for a minute,” he said. “My name is Mr. Pokémon, and I am in need of assistance”.

“Mr. Pokémon?” Daniel repeated.

“Yes. You could call me an eccentric Pokémon lover, of sorts,” Mr. Pokémon explained. “My house is just beyond those trees. I like to live out in the wild and study Pokémon”.

“What seems to be the problem?” Clara asked.

“You see, I recently made an amazing discovery,” Mr. Pokémon began. “I found a mysterious Pokémon egg near my house! I don’t know what might hatch from it. It could be a very rare Pokémon! Isn’t that exciting?”

“So…what exactly is wrong, then?” Pete queried.

“Oh, right. Well, you see, not long ago, a dreadful thing happened. A thief! A thief stole my Pokémon egg! He went north, heading to Dark Cave, I think. Such noble Pokémon trainers as you can certainly help me, right?” Mr. Pokémon asked.

“Sure, we’ll help you out,” Daniel said. “I think I may have a feeling who this thief is,” he whispered to Pete and Clara.

“Jolly good, then. When you get it back, make sure you return it to me!” Mr. Pokémon said. “I’ll know it if you don’t…” he said in a slightly threatening undertone.

“Sure thing. We’ll get that egg back for you,” Daniel agreed.

They journeyed northward for a while, continuing through the pine-filled region. Eventually they came across a small mountainside, with a cave entrance leading inside.

“This must be Dark Cave,” Daniel said. “Let’s go check it out”.

They approached the cave cautiously. It was positioned in such a way that sunlight would never enter, no matter what time of day it was. The cave would most likely reflect its name. Daniel sent out Cyndaquil in hopes of lighting things up. However, as Daniel noted, Cyndaquil was not as good for lighting as Charizard had been.

“All right, Cyndaquil, we may get into a fierce battle here. I hope you’re ready,” Daniel said. His Pokémon had gotten some training in along the way, but Cyndaquil had still not gotten any serious experience.

He entered the cave. It was pitch dark inside. Cyndaquil partially lit the area, but Daniel would need a Pokémon with the Flash technique if he were to explore deeper into the cave. As he expected, Meany was waiting for him. He wondered how Meany was able to stay in the cave in complete darkness.

“So, you’re here. Yes, I’ve been waiting for you,” Meany said. “I knew you would probably show up sooner or later. You’re after this, aren’t you?” He revealed the Pokémon egg.

“Give it back, Meany!” Daniel said.

“Only if you can beat me, of course!” Meany grinned. “Go, Zubat!” he said, revealing a new addition to his team. Daniel replied with Geodude.

“Zubat, Supersonic!” Meany said, confusing Geodude. Geodude ended up attacking itself, and was punished with a Bite.

“Geodude, Rock Throw!” Daniel said, hoping it would work. It did, but Zubat wasn’t quite out yet. It used Leech Life, trying to regain some of its health. Geodude attacked itself once more, and Zubat bit back.

“Keep your senses together,” Daniel said. “Just throw the rocks!” Geodude succeeded again, and Zubat was taken out. Daniel smirked, having just beaten one of Meany’s Pokémon.

“What!?” Meany balked. “Humph. Well, there’s still no escape from Sneasel, and that’s what really counts”. He sent out his deadly Pokémon, and it finished Geoudude quickly.

Daniel retaliated with Cyndaquil. Sneasel used Quick Attack, getting the first strike. Cyndaquil countered with Ember more quickly this time, but Sneasel leaped out of the way. “Cyndaquil, Smokescreen!” Daniel said, hoping it would prevent another attack. It didn’t quite work. Sneasel was able to use Slash, causing Cyndaquil to faint.

“Hahaha! Aw, did you lose? Did the big Meany beat you again?” Meany mocked.

“Oh, shut up!” Daniel replied. “You don’t truly have what it takes to be a good Pokémon trainer. I can see that by the way you push your Pokémon. Your day of reckoning will come soon enough, Meany”.

“Nice talking, but it doesn’t really matter does it? I still have the egg!” Meany laughed.

“Chikorita, Razor Leaf!” Clara suddenly said. The flurry of leaves flew through the air, startling Meany. A second later, the egg was in Clara’s arms. “Thank you very much,” Clara said cheekily.

“What? You can’t do that!” Meany said.

“It’s no worse than stealing, is it?” Clara countered.

“Oh, I’ll show you!” Meany said, about to make a move. He caught Daniel’s stern gaze, and, surprisingly, seemed to back down. “Oh…fine. I don’t really care about the egg, anyway. I’m just glad I beat you! That was my real purpose”.

“Sure,” Daniel said, and he motioned for his friends to follow him out of the cave.

“I guess Meany was just egging you on, huh?” Pete said.

Daniel wasn’t in the mood for puns. “This is ridiculous!” he said. “I made it to the top eight in the Pokémon League, and I keep losing to him?”

“Yeah, I guess you’re kind of rivals now,” Pete commented.

Daniel realized that maybe he wasn’t training his new Pokémon as well as he ought to be. He was used to having stronger Pokémon, but he needed to work with less experienced ones now.

Later on, they arrived back at Mr. Pokémon’s house. “Wonderful, you got my egg back, thank you!” the eccentric said.

“I noticed it was shaking around a lot,” Clara informed him.

“Oh my, it could be about to hatch!” Mr. Pokémon said. Suddenly, a crack appeared in the egg. Clara carefully put it down.

More cracks appeared, and what looked like a beak smashed through. More egg pieces fell off, until finally the Pokémon emerged. “Oh my goodness! Could it be? It’s… it’s… a Pidgey!” Mr. Pokémon declared with excitement.

“A Pidgey? That’s all?” Daniel said. “Not quite as rare as you made it out to be”.

“Haha, yes. Recently, scientists have been studying Pokémon eggs in detail, and have discovered many things about them. I guess that got me excited,” Mr. Pokémon said. He scooped up the baby Pidgey and said, “I’ll take care of you now, my little darling!”

“Heh heh…well, I’m glad we could help you out, Mr. Pokémon. We had better get going now, though,” Daniel said.

“Why, absolutely, thanks again!” Mr. Pokémon replied, distracted.

Daniel and friends went on their way and continued their journey.

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Good stuff as always, Goron. Happy to see you're still working on this stuff, because I enjoyed reading the originals on Nsider. Keep it up theydonothing;.

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K-Kratos? Wow... You're like some kind of phantasm from the past. I almost forgot you existed. XB

Well, uh, good to see you again, and thanks for dropping by. :)

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Chapter 4 – Lessons in Violet City

~ Taking Flight ~

The buildings of Violet City soon came into view after Daniel’s party had traveled west down the short Route 31. Violet City wasn’t very large, but it did have some old and impressive looking structures, such as a tall tower to the north. The entire city had a very traditional feel, and Daniel could tell that it had a long history.

After stopping by the Pokémon Center, Daniel and friends began to explore the city. The first major landmark they came across was the Pokémon Academy. Here, they were met by a strange man who kept spinning around in circles, as if dancing.

“Trainers, you are? Pleased to meet you, I am! Earl is my name!” he said. “Please, to my academy come!”

“This is your academy?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, headmaster I am!” Earl affirmed.

Pete and Clara exchanged nervous glances, but Daniel shrugged and said, “All right, we’ll stop by”.

Earl led them to an old building. This was Johto’s famous Pokémon Academy, where new trainers learned about Pokémon. Class was currently in session, and Earl hospitably invited them to visit.

“I don’t think I really need to learn the basics again, but this might be useful for you, Clara,” Daniel said.

“Yes, I think this will be useful!” she replied, making sure to copy down all the notes written on the blackboard.

“Knowledgeable trainer, you seem to be!” Earl said to Daniel. “Perhaps a test of your knowledge, you will accept?”

“All right,” Daniel said.

A schoolboy walked up. “My name is Drew,” he said. “I’m the top student. I always watch every battle that takes place at the Violet City Gym. Are you going to challenge it?”

“Yes, that is my goal,” Daniel said, although he was feeling slightly discouraged after his loss against Meany.

“Let me see if you’re ready,” Drew said. He brought him over to a small battle arena, and sent out a Pidgey. This Pidgey looked like it was somewhat experienced in battle, but only against weaker Pokémon of its own level. Daniel pushed aside his memories of the Meany battle, realizing that he should easily be able to conquer what seemed like the low-level challenges this city had to offer.

“Go, Cyndaquil!” Daniel said. “Smokescreen, first!” Cyndaquil blew smoke at Pidgey, disrupting its Tackle attack. It used Gust, trying to clear the smoke away, but Cyndaquil landed an Ember on it. It attacked back with Tackle, but Cyndaquil was too tough for that. It used its own Tackle, and Pidgey was defeated. Cyndaquil looked like it was trying to be tougher. It, too, felt it needed to strengthen its abilities.

“Hey, I think you’re ready!” Drew said. “Why don’t you come to the gym?”

“I definitely will!” Daniel replied. He knew that the gym would be a challenge for his Pokémon, but not a brutal one like the battles with Meany.

After copying down a lot of notes, Clara was ready to join Daniel, and Pete, of course followed, too. “All right, I’ll show you to the gym!” Drew said. Apparently, Earl didn’t mind, as it seemed to be part of the educational process.

“Good luck, I wish you. For stopping by, thanks!” Earl heartily said.

“This is going to be a good one,” Drew commented as he led them through town, toward the gym. After walking a few blocks, they arrived. The gym looked antiquated but impressive, like the other buildings in the city. “Falkner specializes in Flying-type Pokémon, so you’ll need the same skills you used against my Pidgey,” Drew explained. “Oh yeah, Falkner is the gym leader,” he added.

They entered the gym. It arena was a large room that had no roof, opening up into the outside air. The actual arena was composed of a walkway over a chasm on either side. At the bottom of the chasm, fans softly blew air upward. At the other end of the walkway sat a young man with purple hair covering one eye. Many Pidgeys flocked around him.

“Oh, hello,” he said, standing up. “It looks like you’ve brought another challenger today, Drew”. Daniel stepped forward. “My name is Falkner,” said the gym leader. “I inherited this gym from my father recently, and I take care of it as best I can. I’m always in the mood for a battle, so I’ll do my best”.

“Ok, then. This is my first Johto League gym battle, so let’s make it good!” Daniel said.

“All right, let’s begin!” Falkner replied. “Go, Hoothoot!” Daniel had heard the cries of this owl Pokémon at night, but had never seen one in action.

“Let’s go, Geodude!” he said. Hoothoot began with a Peck attack, which didn’t do much to Geodude. “Hmm. Geodude, Rock Throw!” The rocky attack struck the Flying-type hard.

“Hoothoot, Hypnosis!” Falkner said. A drowsiness overcame Geodude, and it fell asleep. Daniel felt that Hoothoot wasn’t a threat, so he let it peck Geodude a few times before it finally awakened. Another Rock Throw finished Hoothoot.

“You know how to use type advantages, that’s for sure,” Falkner commented. He sent out Pidgeotto.

Daniel thought he might be able to win the entire battle using only Geodude, but he was taken by surprise. Pidgeotto used Mud Slap, a move he had never seen before. It was a Ground-type move, and it defeated Geodude. “Hmm. Go, Cyndaquil!” Daniel said.

Pidgeotto used a Quick Attack, just like Meany’s Sneasel had done before. Daniel realized he had to consider what his Pokémon was thinking, like how he used to in Kanto. Just because he had new Pokémon did not mean he was not an expert trainer, and this gym should be a piece of cake, considering how oriented it was to new trainers.

“Cyndaquil, get into defensive mode! Run around, and flare your quills!” Pidgeotto looked a little confused as Cyndaquil ran around like a small critter. “Now, Ember!” Daniel said. The fiery blast took Pidgeotto by surprise. It retaliated with Mud Slap, which was dangerous to Cyndaquil as well.

Cyndaquil stopped and tried to rub the mud out of its eyes. “Don’t stop! You need to defend yourself! You have a great power within!” Daniel said. Pidgeotto began flying toward Cyndaquil, swooping down with a Gust ready to knock Cyndaquil off the edge. “Ember, now!” Daniel yelled. Cyndaquil’s spines flared up, and embers were thrown into Pidgeotto’s face. Not used to this kind of ferocity, Pidgeotto quickly fell.

Withdrawing his fallen Pokémon, Falkner announced, “Well, that’s it. You’ve earned your Zephyr badge”. Daniel was almost amazed that it had ended so quickly, but he gladly accepted his badge. He realized that Falkner could use more experience himself.

“Thank you,” Daniel said.

“That was awesome! I think I learned a thing or two!” Drew said, grinning.

“Good, I’m glad,” Daniel said, then muttered, “You better have…”

With that, Drew returned to the academy, and Daniel and friends followed. Back at class, Earl greeted them. “So, learn anything, did you?”

“I learned that I’m more experienced than I seem,” Daniel said.

“Hey, I learned a lot, too!” Clara said. “That was a great battle, Daniel! I can’t wait until I’m old enough to start earning badges”.

Daniel had forgotten about Clara, and he remembered that he was supposed to be teaching her. Maybe the easier vibe of Violet City was a good thing for her. Still, Daniel knew that Meany was not one to make things so easy, and in order to beat him, he would really have to make sure his Pokémon were up to par. This was the first step in raising his team well, and he hoped that he would come to the next step quickly.

~ The Sprout Tower ~

Another sightseeing spot still awaited Daniel in Violet City, and it stood taller than any other buildings. This was the Sprout Tower, a place where sages sometimes went to sharpen their minds. According to the brochure Daniel was reading, it was said that the central pillar supporting the tower was the stalk of a giant Bellsprout.

Daniel and friends visited the tower, hoping for an interesting experience. The central pillar indeed looked like it was swaying back and forth. This seemed a little nerve-wracking, but apparently the flexible nature of the central pillar was meant to keep the tower sturdy.

Each of the tower’s wooden floors had a ladder leading to the next floor, and it was not difficult for Daniel and friends to climb the tower. As they ascended the hallowed structure, they often encountered sages deep in meditation. Some were training their Pokémon, mostly Bellsprout, with slow and deliberate movements. When the party reached the top floor, they found a group of sages studiously gathered around a particularly wise-looking elder.

“Young man, I am afraid you do not yet understand what it truly means to be a Pokémon trainer,” Daniel heard the Elder say.

“What are you talking about, old man? I won! I beat you! How is that not a true trainer?” came the answer.

“Meany,” Daniel muttered.

“A trainer works with his Pokémon as a friend, offering companionship and respect. You, however, treat them as tools of war,” the Elder explained.

“Bah! I’ve had enough of this nonsense!” Meany retorted, stomping out of the room. He glared at Daniel and pushed him aside as he went downstairs in a hurry.

“Ah, another trainer,” the Elder said, seeing Daniel. “Allow me a moment to restore my Pokémons’ health, and then I will test you”.

Daniel waited until the Elder was ready, and then got into battle position. “Now, let us begin,” the Elder said. He sent out a Hoothoot. Daniel had dealt with a Hoothoot at the gym, and he figured Geodude could handle one again. Indeed, this Hoothoot was even more mild-mannered than Falkner’s Hoothoot had been, and did not prove much of a threat to the Rock-type.

“Use a good Rock Throw, but don’t hit it too hard,” Daniel said, not wanting to injure the bird unnecessarily. Geodude casually flung some rocks, and the Hoothoot quickly admitted defeat.

“You show good discernment,” the elder commented. His next Pokémon was Bellsprout, the symbol of the tower. Daniel switched to Cyndaquil in order to deal with the Grass-type. In the meantime, Bellsprout used Growth to power itself up.

“Cyndaquil, use Ember before it strikes!” Daniel said. Bellsprout was quite vulnerable to the scorching heat, but it stood its ground and used Vine Whip, causing Cyndaquil some discomfort. “No need to hit it with more fire. Tackle!” Daniel said. Cyndaquil charged forward and finished the battle.

“Mmm. Very good,” the Elder said. “A battle against my Pokémon is not difficult, but the test is hard to pass. You have treated both your own Pokémon and mine with respect, and that is to be commended”. He began staring at Daniel, and almost became lost in thought.

“Hmm?” Daniel said.

“My apologies, young trainer,” the Elder replied. “I feel the spirits of Pokémon calling out to me, telling me something. I believe that one day, the quality of your heart as a trainer may play an important role. Just remember to continue being the good trainer that you are, and treat Pokémon with respect, for that is more important than gaining pride and recognition”.

“Ok, I’ll keep that advice in mind. Thank you,” Daniel said.

With that, Daniel was ready to leave the tower. “What do you think the Elder meant by all that?” Pete wondered on their way down.

“I don’t know, but it sounded like pretty good advice, anyway,” Daniel said. “You should keep it in mind, too, Clara”.

“All right,” Clara replied. “Um… What did he say, again?”

Daniel chuckled. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ll learn it as we go along”.

They left the tower feeling edified, and ready to continue their journey.

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Ok... Well, I guess I should be moving along, then. By the way, I suppose it's worth mentioning that in the previous chapter, the battle against the Elder had a lot more description than last time. Also, Daniel's conversation with the Elder was a little more watered down, as it it no longer relates to the sages' narrative.

Anyway, I will now post two more chapters. For old readers, Chapter 6 will be especially significant, because I have greatly expanded it. In fact, the second episode of Chapter 6 might as well be completely new. You should probably read it.

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Chapter 5 – Many Mysteries

~ Roadblock ~

After his enlightening experiences in Violet City, Daniel was ready to move on. He began making his way to Azalea Town, the next town with a Pokémon gym. The path went down Route 32, where the surfing challenge they had heard about in Cherrygrove City was to be held. They still had time to fully explore the route, however, which was useful because it was home to a famous sightseeing location - the Ruins of Alph.

Coming down a narrow path between trees and bushes, the party suddenly found themselves halted. A small, strange looking tree was blocking the immediate path. Daniel tried to squeeze past it, but it sprung back on him, and seemed not to allow passage.

“Normally, these trees can be cut down easily by a Pokémon,” Daniel said. “Clara, do you think your Chikorita can try to cut it down with a vine?”

“Sure, I’ll try,” Clara said. Her Chikorita lashed out with a sharp vine, but it bounced off the tree, not putting a scratch.

“This isn’t like any tree I’ve ever seen,” Daniel said, wondering how to remove it.

“Maybe this is a good time to take a break, anyway,” Pete suggested. There was a small stream running nearby, and Pete said, “I need to get in the water and get some practice in, before the surfing challenge begins”. There was little room to practice surfing, though, so Pete ended up relaxing with his Pokémon instead of training.

“What do you think of this tree, Clara?” Daniel asked, still intent on solving the dilemma.

“I don’t know, it’s weird,” she replied. “Come on Chikorita, let’s do something”.

Daniel grumbled as he was left to figure out the predicament on his own. He always liked to keep going, and was not in the mood to take a break at a place like this. He set his mind to the task at hand, and tried various methods of moving the strange tree out of the way. Geodude tried pushing it, but it was very strong, and wouldn’t budge. It seemed unusually sensitive despite its strength, because it would wriggle back and forth when touched.

Daniel sat down and sighed, annoyed at the situation. He heard Clara giggle and saw that Pete’s Pokémon were being playful. Totodile was squirting people and Pokémon with water, and Clara was trying to dodge to avoid getting wet. Suddenly, a stream of water hit Daniel, causing him to say, “Hey, watch where you’re squirting!”

He heard a noise behind him and noticed that some water had been sprinkled on the weird tree, and it was reacting strangely. “Now, that’s just weird,” Daniel said as the tree wriggled around. “Wait a minute… Hey, can you try to squirt the weird tree again?”

Totodile aimed its water stream at the tree, soaking it. Daniel then heard a strange cry come out of the tree, and it began thrashing around violently. “Sudo!” it said as it suddenly caused rocks to fly through the air.

“I should have known, it’s a Pokémon!” Daniel said. He looked it up in his Pokédex. It was a Sudowoodo, a Rock-type Pokémon disguised as a tree. As a Rock-type, it obviously did not like water. It was now throwing rocks violently and attacking.

“Geodude, go!” Daniel said. Geodude’s Ground-type trait made it resistant to the rocks being thrown. “Now, use your own Rock Throw!” Geodude damaged the Sudowoodo, which made it throw even more rocks.

“I’d better be careful with this one,” Daniel said. “Geodude, try to aim your rocks better than it does”. Geodude landed a few hits, but the Sudowoodo got smart. It suddenly lashed out with a Low Kick, causing Geodude damage.

“Uh-oh…” Daniel said. He decided to risk using Cyndaquil. As he switched Pokémon, Cyndaquil took a Low Kick, but it was not as effective. “Now use a strong Ember before it uses Rock Throw!” Daniel said. Cyndaquil sparked flames at it, which managed to lower its health to a small extent. “I’ll have to try to catch it,” Daniel concluded. He threw a Pokéball. Sudowoodo burst out easily, and used Rock Throw dangerously. Cyndaquil dodged them frantically.

Daniel threw another Pokéball, but it still wasn’t enough. Sudowoodo’s instincts kicked in to its disadvantage, and it used Flail, which did not do as much damage to Cyndaquil as Rock Throw. “Use another Ember!” Daniel said. Cyndaquil damaged Sudowoodo as much as Daniel was willing to risk, then he pulled out another ball. “I’ve been saving this one for something like this,” he said, and threw the Great Ball.

He watched as the ball shook back and forth, with Sudowoodo attempting another breakout. The Great Ball was designed to be stronger than a Pokéball, however, and the breakout failed. Daniel had caught Sudowoodo.

“Whew…that seemed like a fairly strong Pokémon, in comparison to mine at least. I’m glad I caught it,” he said.

“Now your team is a little unbalanced, because you have two Rock-types,” Clara noted.

“Good observation,” Daniel replied, “but let’s just see how it works out. This Pokémon may come in handy”. He turned to Totodile. “Oh, and thanks for accidentally solving the mystery!”

Pete chuckled. “I guess we’re ready to move on, then?”

“Yes, I believe we are,” Daniel said, and they continued down the road.

~ The Ruins of Alph ~

Route 32 held a very significant place, a sightseeing location, but perhaps with greater significance than any tourist would know. When Daniel and friends arrived at the Ruins of Alph, they immediately felt an aura of mystery and wonder.

On first glance, the ruins did not look like much. There were large structures that appeared to be man-made, but resembled natural caves. Despite their simplicity, however, Daniel felt that there was something odd about them. He also noticed some small bird Pokémon hopping around. They were the Psychic type Natu, and they looked at him quizzically before hopping around some more.

“Over there is the information center. Maybe we should visit it first,” Clara pointed out.

They entered the small, modern building. Some researchers greeted them and told them more about the ruins. “Long ago, the ruins of Alph were built by an ancient civilization. We hardly know anything about them, except that they left behind ancient writing within their caves. The writing looks strangely similar to a Pokémon that can be found within – a Pokémon known as Unown. The question is, which came first, the writing, or the Unown? What relationship do the Unown have with the writing? That’s what we’re trying to figure out. So far, we haven’t really gotten anywhere in our studies. Who knows whether the mystery will ever be solved?”

Daniel was intrigued. “An ancient mystery? It’s worth investigating!”

As they headed outside to take a look at the ruins, someone stopped Daniel. It was a strange man with a distant look in his eyes. His sleek, black hair accentuated a dark purple cloak with patterns of twinkling stars.

“Please…I need a good-hearted trainer to do something for me,” he said. “You seem like the right trainer. I am a Psychic, and I need someone to watch over my Pokémon while I go on an important errand. Let me show you”.

He opened a Pokéball, and Daniel was greeted by a Xatu, the evolved form of the Pokémon he had seen earlier. According to the Pokédex, it could see into the future. “So…you want me to take care of your Xatu?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, if you would be so kind,” the Psychic replied.

Daniel looked at his friends, wondering whether he should trust this guy enough to do something so impulsive. They looked back with equally wondering faces. “Oh, what could be the harm?” Daniel said to himself. “All right, I’ll keep your Pokémon for now. How long will I keep it for?” he said to the Psychic.

“It will not be for long. Thank you,” the Psychic said, handing him the Pokéball. He disappeared soon after. Daniel withdrew the Xatu and put it on his belt.

“I hope you know what you’re doing… There was something strange about that guy,” Pete commented.

“Yeah, I hope so too,” Daniel said. “Why don’t we go explore the ruins now? Maybe Xatu can somehow help”.

The most prominent ruin was in the center of the area, and this was the most obvious place to start. A set of stairs led into the rock and underground. They walked down the stairs and took a look around. The place seemed fairly empty except for halls of torch-lit walls with ancient inscriptions. The writing on the walls looked vaguely like letters of the alphabet, but the language was not distinguishable. They walked down the hallways and explored the whole room, but there was nothing else to see.

“Yup. Very interesting. Anything else?” Pete asked.

Daniel took a closer look at one of the inscriptions, hoping to find something, but nothing struck him as significant. “I guess that’s it. Let’s check out another cave,” Daniel said.

They left the main area and went to a smaller cave. The inside of this one was different. It didn’t have as many inscriptions, but there was a strange design on a shelf. It seemed to be composed of squares with various abstract figures. Daniel looked at it and shrugged, then began looking around the walls of the room for anything else.

Clara took a closer look at the design on the shelf. “Hey…it looks almost like a puzzle,” she noted. She found that she could move the square pieces like a slide puzzle, and she began shifting them around. A picture was being formed. “Hey I got it -” Clara announced, but she was cut short as the floor opened up beneath her. Daniel and Pete heard her scream, but it was too late. Daniel looked into the opening, but it was closing back up like a trap door. He heard Clara scream again, and figured that she hadn’t fallen far, but something else had caused her to scream.

Indeed, Clara had not been hurt by the fall, but something was happening around her. Some of the inscriptions on the wall were coming off and floating in the air. Large glowing eyes opened up and stared at her. These strange beings began swarming and circling around her.

Daniel stumbled around, not sure what to do. “How do we get down there?” he wondered.

“Maybe the puzzle?” Pete suggested. He tried to move the pieces, but they seemed stuck fast, and the floor wouldn’t open again. “Hey, it looks like a Kabuto…” he noticed.

“Let’s think, where exactly did Clara fall?” Daniel said. He formed a mental image of the ruins and realized that the main cave probably extended underneath this one. “She fell into the large room we explored earlier!” he said. They ran there as fast as they could. After some navigation, they reached Clara, who was now standing tense as the creatures flew around her.

“Clara, don’t move! I’ll get you out of this…” Daniel said. “Go, Sudowoodo!” He sent his newly acquired Pokémon out. The creatures looked at it, and Daniel took this chance to use his Pokédex. “Of course…these are the Unown!” he said. They began charging up some kind of attack. Their eyes glowed, and some kind of energy was emitted from them. Sudowoodo was hit by some of these attacks, and they had different effects on it.

The Pokédex identified this as a Hidden Power attack, a move whose attributes differed depending on the individual Pokémon using it. “Sudowoodo, Rock Throw!” Daniel said. His Pokémon threw rocks at the Unown, and they scattered, but then regrouped and began surrounding Daniel. “I’m not sure if they want to attack or not…but they seem to be doing something,” Daniel noted.

It was almost as if they were looking into Daniel’s mind and making something out of it. He could see them forming different combinations of letters, and for brief moments Daniel thought he understood the words that were formed, but it always passed out of his memory before he could reflect on it. On an impulse, he sent out Xatu. It looked at the Unown as if it knew something, but then again, it always looked like that. It turned to Daniel for the first time. Somehow, it looked disapproving.

“Xatu, use Confusion to hold back the Unown, and then we can get out of here!” Daniel said. Xatu merely looked at him, and turned away. “Huh? I don’t think it wants to listen to me…” Daniel realized. “Sudowoodo, use Rock Throw and we can escape while they scatter!” he said. Sudowoodo performed the move, and the three of them ran away, Daniel withdrawing Sudowoodo and Xatu.

They were out of breath when they left the cave. “Whew…what was that all about?” Pete said.

“I don’t know. The Unown didn’t seem that dangerous, but the way they looked at us…it was…” Daniel said, not knowing how to describe it.

“It freaked me out,” Clara said simply.

“Yeah, but it only intrigues me to find out more,” Daniel said. “I don’t want to leave these ruins yet”.

~ A Matter of Loyalty ~

As he continued to explore the Ruins of Alph, Daniel was having trouble with the Xatu he was caring for. It would not listen to him no matter what he did, as if it did not approve of him as a trainer. He tried showing it his eight Kanto badges, but it did not consider these to mean anything. It paid attention to his single Johto badge, but that was not enough.

“All right, if you’re not going to follow me, how about you just stay here?” Daniel finally said in annoyance. “Sudowoodo, stay with Xatu and make sure nothing happens”. He had quickly learned that Sudowoodo was a sturdy and reliable Pokémon, and already he trusted it to take care of the situation.

Clara and Pete looked at him as if asking whether it was a responsible thing to leave Xatu behind, but Daniel nodded in assurance, trusting in his Pokémon. He and his companions went off to investigate more of the ruins, leaving the two Pokémon behind.

Left to its own devices, Xatu began staring off into space as it stood on a ledge overhanging a small pool of water. Meanwhile, Sudowoodo noticed that strangely, some children were playing in the pool of water below. Some of them looked up and watched the two peculiar Pokémon.

Like Xatu, Sudowoodo was capable of sitting still for long periods of time, but as it stood there, it seemingly had a conversation with Xatu. Apparently, Sudowoodo liked Daniel, and already respected him as a trainer. It was bothered by Xatu’s lack of respect. At this, Xatu became irritated, and suddenly began a fight.

The children in the pool watched as Xatu used a Confusion attack on Sudowoodo. Startled, it struck back with Rock Throw. Relying on instincts, they continued battling in this method until Xatu began to weaken from the overpowering attacks. It agreed to concede defeat, and left Sudowoodo alone. However, it had previously used Future Sight during the battle, and this prolonged attack suddenly struck. Sudowoodo was ready to fight again, when the children began to scream. Something in the water had been disturbed.

It was a sharp-horned Goldeen, and it was poking the children with its horn in a panic. Normally, wild Pokémon would probably not interfere with each other, but as a trained Pokémon, Sudowoodo felt inclined to help. It began throwing rocks at the Goldeen in an attempt to scare it away. Xatu was not willing to help at first, but seeing Sudowoodo’s efforts inspired it to lend a hand. With a blast from Confusion, the Goldeen was frightened into swimming away from the children.

After a while, Daniel and friends returned, and the children told him what had happened. “You know, you probably shouldn’t be swimming in the water here,” he said. “I mean, what kind of a place for swimming is the Ruins of Alph?”

Xatu looked at Daniel, and he could see a difference in its eyes. Although he couldn’t be sure, Daniel felt that Sudowoodo’s loyalty had gained him some respect in Xatu’s eyes. It suddenly squawked and spread its wings, looking up to the sky.

“What is it doing?” Clara wondered.

“I believe it is making a prediction,” said a voice. It was Xatu’s owner, who had just returned. “Who knows what it is predicting, but I believe it has something to do with you, my friend,” he said to Daniel. “I thank you for watching it upon my absence”.

“You’re welcome, I suppose… Are you taking it back now?” Daniel asked eagerly.

“Yes, I believe Xatu and I must be reunited. Again, I thank you. Perhaps someday, we will meet again!” said the Psychic. With that, he and Xatu disappeared.

“Very strange,” Daniel commented. “I wonder what that guy was doing while he was gone… Oh well. I wonder if we really will meet again…”

“So, are we done exploring these ruins yet?” Pete inquired. “I mean, it’s fun and all, but we’re running out of time before the surfing competition begins!”

“I’m somewhat disappointed that we haven’t made any more discoveries,” Daniel replied, “but I guess that’s all we’re going to see in these ruins for now”. Their recent investigations had led to nothing of any great interest. “To Route 32 it is, then,” Daniel concluded, and with that, the three trainers left the mysterious Ruins of Alph behind.

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Chapter 6 – Companions’ Moments

~ The Wooper Water Races ~

Route 32 was a prime fishing area, with docks overlooking a serene lake. However, the destination of Daniel and friends was a more wild area to the north. Here, a stream ran through strange rock formations, and this was where the famed surfing competition was supposed to take place. The party arrived just in time, as the event was almost ready to begin.

Here, trainers were gathered along the shore with their Pokémon, most of which were salamander-like creatures known as Wooper. One laid-back but energetic-looking guy seemed to be in charge of the event, and he explained a little about it.

“This surfing competition is known as the Wooper Water Races, because Wooper is the Pokémon most commonly used in the race. It’s a native Pokémon in these parts, and its ability to swim downstream and even through mud is what inspired these races”.

“But we can use other Pokémon, right?” Pete wanted to make sure.

“Absolutely!” the man in charge replied. “This is a casual event. If you want to enter, just be at the starting line when the race begins”.

“All right, cool,” Pete said. “Hey Daniel, you did pretty good in that surfing competition in Kanto. Why don’t you think about joining this one?”

“Oh, can I join?” Clara asked.

“I’m sure you can!” Pete replied.

“The only problem is, we don’t have any Water Pokémon at the moment,” Daniel said.

“Eh, you can borrow my Pokémon, if you want,” Pete offered.

“All right, that works,” Daniel agreed.

Pete used his loyal Squirtle, while Daniel was paired with Golduck, and Clara with Totodile. While waiting for the race to begin, the three trainers and their assigned Pokémon went down to the stream and scoped it out. “This isn’t going to be an average surfing competiton,” Pete noted. “Just look at the stream’s flow”.

The large rock formations caused the stream to flow in a strange way, passing through eroded tunnels in the rock and down small waterfalls. It looked almost as if the stream had carved its way through soft spots in the rock. Some areas were also very muddy – a perfect habitat for Wooper.

“I hope you guys aren’t afraid to get a little mud on you!” Pete said.

“That’s no problem. It will be fun!” Clara assured.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this race is about to begin!” the coordinator announced. “Please get into your places!” The competing trainers all made their way to the water’s edge.

“All right, guys, are you ready for this?” Pete asked. “Golduck, Totodile, I hope you don’t mind if my pals hitch rides on you?” Golduck gave a thumbs-up sign, and Totodile nodded approvingly. “All right then, do your best!” Pete said.

The threesome got into their places, and the race began. Pete and Squirtle shot down the stream quickly, but many of the Wooper riders were close behind. Meanwhile, both Daniel and Clara were a little slower to get started, but once they began flowing down the stream, they were moving quickly. As they approached the rock formations, Daniel saw just how unpredictable the race would be. The water took various paths down the stream, and the racers were taking different routes. Clara was going off to the side of a large rock formation, but Daniel found himself going underneath it, and he soon lost sight of both Clara and Pete.

When he emerged from underneath the rock, he saw that Clara had also arrived nearby, but was heading toward a rock tunnel. “This is a little bit nerve-wracking,” Daniel admitted, but Golduck seemed to suavely reassure him. It was able to flow down the stream in a smooth manner, casually going wherever the flow took it. This time, Daniel and Golduck passed through the same tunnel Clara had just gone through, and got a little muddy along the way.

After emerging from this tunnel, Daniel saw that the stream branched off in different directions, going around large rocks that obscured his view. Because of this, it was hard to tell who was in the lead. “I don’t even know how well we’re doing in the race, but I guess we should just take it casually, huh?” he said. Golduck calmly agreed, but then suddenly picked up speed.

“What now?” Daniel wondered. Before he knew it, he was being launched down a relatively large cascade. He spluttered as they splashed into the water and quickly resurfaced. “Well, that was exhilarating,” he attempted to comment as they continued to flow downstream.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. Daniel had no idea how anyone else had placed, but he could see that he was nowhere near first. Golduck relaxingly drifted to the shore, where Daniel met with Pete and Clara.

“Looks like you’re the slowest, Daniel!” Clara playfully taunted.

“I’m used to surfing on bigger Pokémon,” Daniel admitted. “Now I know how it feels to get down and dirty like you, Pete. How did you fare?”

“Well, I didn’t quite make it. I did manage to grab third place, though,” Pete explained. “But man, that was tough! I’m used to surfing through open water. This was a lot different”.

The other trainers were now cheering for the first-place winner, a fellow with Wooper’s evolved form, Quagsire. “These Woopers really know their way around this stream, so I think they have the advantage,” Pete commented.

“How did you like it, Clara?” Daniel asked.

“It was really fun!” she replied. “I had so much fun just riding through, I almost forgot about the race”.

“Oh yeah, it was pretty neat,” Pete agreed. “I think the surfing challenges in Johto are going to be a new experience for me”. He heard some other trainers talking about larger competitions on Johto’s western seashore. “I think that’s where I should be heading next!” he remarked.

“I’m sure our travels will take us there sooner or later,” Daniel affirmed.

“Then, what are we waiting for? Let’s get back on the road!” Pete said.

Daniel heartily agreed, glad that Pete had gotten his moment in the spotlight, but quite ready to move on to new locations.

~ Clara’s First Cave ~

After the thrills of the Wooper Water Races, Daniel and friends found relaxation in the peaceful fishing docks of Route 32, where laid-back fishermen cast their lines. Daniel was feeling rather laid-back, too, as he had not faced very many challenges lately, and his Pokémon had not engaged in any battles. On the other side of the lake at the end of the fishing docks, there was a small Pokémon Center. Daniel hardly felt it necessary to stop there, but he decided they might as well take a break from walking.

As they sat around in the Pokémon Center, Clara suddenly asked, “So, when will it be my turn to do something?”

“What do you mean?” Daniel replied.

“Well, you get to fight all the battles, and Pete got to be in that surfing competition, but I haven’t gotten to do anything yet,” Clara explained.

“You can always keep learning about Pokémon,” Daniel said.

“I’ve had enough learning. I want to see some action!” Clara clarified.

Daniel thought about this as he got up and looked at the Johto map on the wall. “It looks like our next destination is Union Cave,” he said. “This will be your first time traveling through a cave. Maybe you can battle some wild Pokémon there”.

“Oh, all right, I guess,” Clara replied.

Being done with the Pokémon Center, they headed out and down the road again. Up ahead, they saw some small mountains. “Union Cave forms a tunnel through those mountains,” Daniel noted. “I don’t know why it’s called Union Cave, though”.

“Maybe because it unifies this route with the next town,” Clara suggested.

“I just hope it’s not too long,” Pete said. “Caves aren’t my favorite part of traveling”.

“Why not?” Clara asked.

Pete had to think about this for a moment. “Well, I guess they’re just too dark and claustrophobic for me. I like having wide, open spaces around me”.

“Well, I’m excited to go anywhere! Let’s go!” Clara replied, and began running ahead.

“Whoa, wait up!” Daniel said. “It would be best if I led us through this cave”.

They soon approached the cave entrance, and Daniel halted the party before cautiously stepping inside and looking around. It was rather serene inside, with the sound of water softly trickling. A satisfactory amount of light made its way into the cave, and the path ahead was clear. “This shouldn’t be too bad,” Daniel said. “Come on in”.

His two companions followed him inside, and they began to briskly make their way down the path. “Maybe this isn’t so bad, after all. It looks like a small cave,” Pete noted.

“Then, what’s so challenging about it?” Clara wondered.

Daniel motioned for her to stop and look up. “This is what every trainer has to learn when they first enter a cave – how to deal with Zubat”. A flock of the bat-like Pokémon were hanging on the ceiling, seemingly asleep, but their ears were twitching. “Get ready,” Daniel said.

Suddenly, the Zubat shrieked and began flying around. One of them was moved to aggression, and began flying toward them. “Chikorita, let’s go!” Clara said enthusiastically. As the Zubat swooped down, she had Chikorita use Tackle. Chikorita slammed into the incoming Zubat, and it was knocked back. Being persistent, it came forward and used Leech Life, sapping away at Chikorita’s health. “Oh, no!” Clara said, realizing that this was harmful to the Grass-type.

“It’s not strong enough to do any serious damage,” Daniel reassured her. “Now’s your chance!”

“Right,” Clara replied. Chikorita shook off the attack, and used Tackle again. This time, the Zubat did not feel inclined to continue attacking, and flapped off into the shadows. “Yes! I won!” Clara announced.

“Very good,” Daniel chuckled.

The path continued to wind around rocky bends, and past pools of water. It was pretty easy going, and it was not long before Daniel figured that they were over halfway through. Before they could reach the exit, however, they felt a rumbling within the earth. Daniel stopped and noticed that some of the surrounding rock walls looked strangely eroded. He thought about this for a moment before realizing what may have caused it. “Look out guys, I think an Onix is coming!”

True to his word, a large Onix slithered out from an underground tunnel, and was making its way toward them. Clara stood at the ready, waiting for it to come with a determined look in her eye. “Wait, I don’t know about this,” Daniel said apprehensively.

“Chikorita, Razor Leaf!” Clara commanded as the Onix approached. The leafy blade flew through the air and struck the Onix, causing it to bellow in pain. It roared and began charging at them.

“Get out of the way, Clara! Let me handle this!” Daniel said frantically. He sent out Sudowoodo and quickly ordered it to use Low Kick. Just as the Onix was about to bowl them over, Sudowoodo’s decisive kick caused it to topple over. For a moment, the Onix lay still, and Daniel looked on with apprehension. Then, it looked up, snorted in indignation, and burrowed into another underground tunnel. Daniel sighed in relief.

“Why did you do that? I could have beaten it,” Clara said. “Chikorita is a Grass type, so I had the advantage!”

“It doesn’t always work that way,” Daniel replied. “Wild Pokémon can be dangerous, especially a huge Onix like that. Fortunately, this one wasn’t too aggressive”.

“Yeah, let’s just get out of here already!” Pete proposed.

The rest of the trip through Union Cave was not difficult, and they soon saw the light of day again as they emerged on Route 33. Clara seemed to be a little disappointed. “It’s a learning process,” Daniel reassured her. “There’s a reason why you have to be ten to get your trainer license, you know. You should consider yourself lucky that you get to travel with me before then”.

“Well… I guess you’re right, when you put it that way. Thanks for helping me out there,” Clara replied.

“No problem,” Daniel said, relieved that they could continue their journey in peace.

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Okay, so I read all the new stuff you mentioned.

First the battle in chapter two. Nice minor tweak. It flows fairly well, and is certainly better than a passing comment for only the second chapter. ;) It was rather quick, though. o_O Ah, silly Pete... Meany an Irish name, eh?

The change in the sage dialogue was good. Spirits of the Pokémon, though? What is he, a channeler, now? :P

The last part of chapter 6 looked new to me, since if I remember correctly you only mentioned Union Cave in, like, a paragraph or something last time. :P Well it was a nice addition. Nice to see points of growth for Clara.

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Thanks for taking the time. ;) Yes, some things will still go by rather quickly, I'm afraid. I can't waste too much time expanding this, after all. :P

Hmm. I think the "spirits" line was in the original, actually. o_O I don't think he's referring to the spirits of the deceased, but rather, living Pokémon are calling out to him in spirit. I'm not exactly sure where I got that from...

Yes, the Union Cave part was the biggest addition so far. In the original, it was indeed bizarrely short. :P

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Do me a favor and send me a PM when you start posting new stuff.

Very well, very well. Though, when it comes to chapters like the last one, there's a fine line between "new" and "highly revised".

Anyway, the next batches of chapters will have only minor editing tweaks here and there, perhaps not worth noting. I'll inform you all when we arrive at a significantly different chapter.

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Chapter 7 – Tales of Azalea Town

~ Slowpoke’s Yawn ~

After a short trip down Route 33, Daniel and friends arrived in Azalea Town. As they approached the humble village, they noticed that the yellowing grass did not look quite as pretty as usual. Daniel wondered why the grass in this particular town looked so lifeless.

Stopping first at the Pokémon Center, the party got more information from the nurse. “Azalea Town is suffering from a drought. That’s why the grass looks unhealthy. It’s quite a problem, really. While you’re here, though, why don’t you visit Kurt, our resident Pokéball maker? He may have a few words of wisdom for you”.

Daniel and friends took the nurse’s advice and headed across town to the house of this apparently respectable old man. When they arrived, they did not have to look for very long. The old fellow was standing outside his house, grimly looking out at the dry landscape. Daniel approached and introduced himself.

“So, trainers, eh?” Kurt said, staring them down. “If you’re trainers, your job is to help people. Why not help us out with a little problem here?”

“Uh…sure, what is it?” Daniel asked.

“As you can see, we’re suffering from a drought. Didn’t you notice?” Kurt replied.

“Yeah, this place doesn’t look so lively…but how can I help?” Daniel asked, confused.

“They say that a Slowpoke’s yawn summons rain,” Kurt answered. “When you entered town, you may have noticed a large well to the north. That’s Slowpoke’s Well. It’s not just a well, though; it leads to an underground cavern. As a trainer, you can investigate it! See why the Slowpoke aren’t yawning!”

“But, how do you know a Slowpoke’s yawn will actually bring rain? Isn’t that just a folktale?” Clara said.

“Young lady, you better learn to watch your tongue! Pokémon are capable of many mysterious things we don’t understand,” Kurt replied.

Daniel decided it might as well be worth investigating Slowpoke’s Well, so he and his friends headed over to it. It looked like it had once been used for water, but had long since been in disuse. They carefully lowered themselves inside and looked around.

The cave was fairly small- it consisted of one large room that didn’t appear to be part of a network of caves. It had shallow pools of water and, naturally, wild Slowpoke. Daniel did not sense anything unusual about the Slowpoke; they seemed just as lazy as ever, with nothing disturbing them. In fact, staying in this cave made him want to yawn. “Oh well. I guess we’ll just report back to Kurt, then,” he decided.

“Well? What did you discover?” Kurt demanded when they got back.

“Nothing really,” Daniel admitted. “I don’t know why in particular the Slowpoke wouldn’t yawn”.

“Maybe we should try to bore them somehow,” Clara suggested.

“I don’t see how a Slowpoke can possibly be bored!” said Pete. “They’re so slow that life couldn’t get any more boring for them”.

“It’s possible that something is keeping them active, or at least as much as a Slowpoke can be,” Daniel suggested, although he was beginning to doubt the validity of Kurt’s theory. “Maybe we should hang around town for a while and try to dig up whatever clues we can,” Daniel said. “I might as well challenge the gym while I’m here”.

“Oh, all right,” Kurt said. “Trainers just aren’t full of spunk these days…” he then muttered. “In the meantime, you can give me any Apricorns you find. I’ll make ‘em into Pokéballs for you”.

“Apricorns?” Daniel queried.

“Yes, Apricorns. They’re nuts,” Kurt explained. “Long ago, people used to use them as primitive Pokéballs. I can make them into actual Pokéballs. Different types of Apricorns can turn into Pokéballs with different properties”.

“Hey, I think I found a weird nut earlier!” Clara said. She revealed a White Apricorn.

“Mmm, yes. That would work. Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have that made into a Pokéball for you. Hand-crafting Pokéballs is a delicate business, you know. Don’t forget to look out for clues concerning the Slowpoke, too!”

“We won’t!” Daniel replied, and they bade farewell to Kurt for the moment as Daniel prepared for his next gym battle.

~ Battle of Bugs ~

The next day, Kurt had a Fast Ball ready for Clara, which he made out of the White Apricorn she had given him. “You can use this for catching speedy Pokémon,” he explained. In the meantime, Daniel had found a Black Apricorn, which he now gave to Kurt to work on while he challenged the Azalea Town Gym.

From the outside, the gym looked fairly small, but it looked comfortably expansive on the inside. Trees and tall grass were growing inside the gym, making it look wild. “Hello!” said a green-haired boy. “My name is Bugsy. I’m the gym leader here”.

“Really? You seem kind of young for a gym leader,” Daniel commented.

“Hey, Azalea is a small town. Not many impressive trainers hail from here. I earned my place with my knowledge of Bug Pokémon,” Bugsy explained. “So, were you looking for a battle?”

“That I was,” Daniel answered.

“Ok then, but you better keep your wits about you. Let’s go!” Bugsy began the battle by sending out Spinarak. Daniel answered with Sudowoodo.

Bugsy’s attack of choice was Spider Web, which trapped Sudowoodo, slowing it down. This wasn’t good, because Sudowoodo was already fairly slow to begin with. Nonetheless, Daniel retaliated with a Rock Throw, which ended up missing.

“Sudowoodo, try to break yourself free of that spider web!” Daniel said as Spinarak tormented it with Night Shade. Sudowoodo freed its arms enough to be able to perform a well-aimed Rock Throw. This attack hit Spinarak square on, causing major damage.

“Try to get that health back with Leech Life!” Bugsy said nervously. It wasn’t enough, as another Rock Throw defeated Spinarak. “Get ready for something more intense, then!” Bugsy challenged, as he sent out his next Pokémon.

This time, it was a fierce-looking Beedrill. It immediately swooped down with Twineedle, hitting Sudowoodo with two strong needle points. “Hang in there, Sudowoodo,” Daniel said. “This battle is a target practice for you. Just fend off attacks as you try to aim your Rock Throw”.

Beedrill was much faster than Spinarak had been, and it dodged Rock Throw with relative ease. When it did hit, however, there was little Beedrill could do to protect itself. Besides speed, its greatest defense was offense, and it kept attacking with strong Twineedle attacks. “Sudo…” Sudowoodo said, getting tired.

“Just one more Rock Throw ought to do it!” Daniel encouraged. As Beedrill came rushing in for the attack, Sudowoodo managed to hit it straight on with rocks, causing it to tumble down in defeat.

“Not bad. I see you learn quickly. You would make a good Bug-type trainer yourself,” Bugsy commented. “You’re not quite on expert level yet, though!” He sent out his final Pokémon, Scyther.

“I happen to know Scyther’s dual weakness. One Rock Throw should be rather dangerous for it!” Daniel said. Before Sudowoodo could make a move, however, Scyther had suddenly felled it with a strong attack.

“That was Fury Cutter,” Bugsy explained. “I warn you, it gets stronger with continuous use!”

Daniel sent out Geodude. It immediately took a Fury Cutter. Unfortunately, Geodude could not aim as well as Sudowoodo, and although it threw its Rock Throw hard, Scyther had no trouble avoiding the attack. Another Fury Cutter ended Geodude’s assault.

“Uh-oh…” Daniel said, realizing that things were starting to get dangerous. All he had left was Cyndaquil, and Scyther had worked up its Fury Cutter to an intense level now. “Not quite on expert level, eh?” Daniel said to himself, recalling Bugsy’s recent words. “I should very well be on expert level by now! Just like with Falkner, I should be able to use my wits to win this battle!”

Cyndaquil came out of its Pokéball and faced the dangerous foe. “Fire types are resistant to Bug attacks, so flare up your quills when Scyther attacks!” Daniel advised. When Scyther reached its sharp claw toward Cyndaquil, it was forced to retract it slightly to avoid the hot flames on Cyndaquil’s back. This reduced the amount of damage Cyndaquil would have taken. “Now, release those flames for a scorching Ember!” Daniel said. The hot flames burned Scyther, and it quickly backed off.

“Fury Cutter’s power will eventually be unstoppable, even for a Fire-type,” Bugsy said. True enough, Scyther was getting hyper. Daniel would not let this stop him, however.

“Cyndaquil, this may be risky, but…” Scyther was approaching fast. “Leap right into Scyther with Ember!” His Pokémon saw its chance, and slammed unexpectedly into Scyther, spewing flames. Unfortunately, Daniel underestimated Scyther’s ninja-like reflexes, and Cyndaquil did not get away without being sliced. The two Pokémon landed on the ground. Cyndaquil had been hurt, but was still standing. Scyther, meanwhile, was feeling dizzy from the heat, and appeared to be burned. This was more than it could take, and it fell in defeat.

“Aw, too bad. It looks like I just couldn’t beat a combination of Rock and Fire,” Bugsy said. “You know your type combinations well”.

“Thank you, although I should hope I know more than just that,” Daniel said.

“Well, you know enough to be worthy of the Hive Badge,” Bugsy said cheerfully. Daniel smiled, trying not to appear too cynical, despite the fact that he still felt some annoyance at being a high-level trainer in a low-level world.

“Thank you, I appreciate it,” he said, accepting his second Johto League Badge.

As he and his friends exited the gym, they began to feel a slight drizzle. It took Daniel a few moments to realize what this meant. “Hey…it’s starting to rain, isn’t it?” At this point, he noticed that some of the wild Slowpoke had come out of their cave and were meandering around town (slowly, of course). More importantly, however, they were yawning.

“Wow. I don’t know how, but we did it!” Pete exclaimed.

“I don’t think we did anything to make the Slowpoke yawn…” Daniel said.

Back at Kurt’s house, the old Pokéball-maker wordlessly handed Daniel his new Heavy Ball. “I see the Slowpoke are yawning again, and rain has finally returned to Azalea Town” he then said. “How did you do it?”

“Well, I don’t think we did anything at all,” Daniel replied. “It was as dry as ever when I entered the gym, and it was raining when I got out”.

“Did you get the badge?” Kurt asked.

“I did,” Daniel said, showing it to him.

“I see. You got it that easily, huh? Figures that someone with your Pokémon would. It must have been a boring battle”.

“Actually, it was the most exciting battle I’ve seen Daniel in!” Clara said.

“Apparently the Slowpoke didn’t think so. Just look at them yawn!” Kurt pointed out. Daniel could only stare at him blankly. The old man chuckled. “I’m just teasing you, boy. It’s hard to know what those critters are really thinking. The important thing is that they’re yawning again, and it looks like Azalea Town has a good season approaching! Just remember to keep an open mind about these things”.

“I certainly will,” Daniel replied.

Later on, as Daniel and friends prepared to continue their journey, they discussed recent events. “Do you think the Slowpokes’ yawn really causes rain?” Clara wondered.

Daniel spoke his mind. “I’m thinking it’s really the other way around. It’s more likely that the Slowpoke yawn when they sense rain coming. In any case, I don’t think we had anything to do with it”.

“Well, like Kurt said, we should keep an open mind about these things,” Pete reminded him.

“Whatever you say, man,” Daniel replied, “whatever you say…”

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Chapter 8 – Cyndaquil’s Trials

~ The Guardian of the Forest ~

After the strange Slowpoke incident, Daniel pondered whether there really were more secrets to Pokémon than met the eye. The next step in his journey would be to head west through the Ilex Forest, and he figured that it was as good a place as any to find out. Having finished his business in Azalea Town, he and his companions approached the entrance to this forest, but were halted before they could proceed.

“Hey, are you the guy?” said a spunky looking fellow who caught up with Daniel. “I heard you beat the gym leader here”. He appeared to be a trainer, and a rather confident one at that.

“Yes, I just earned my Hive Badge,” Daniel affirmed.

“Awesome! In that case, let’s battle!” the trainer challenged.

Daniel complied, and sent out Cyndaquil. The challenger responded with a fierce-looking Fearow. There was something odd about it, but Daniel could not quite put his finger on it. “I’m sure we can take it, Cyndaquil,” he said nonetheless.

Fearow began with a Quick Attack, which took Cyndaquil by surprise. “Startle it back with Ember!” Daniel said. Cyndaquil did, but the Fearow was not startled as intended.

“Nail it with Drill Peck!” the trainer commanded. This assault battered into Cyndaquil with surprising force, and the small Pokémon lay immobile on the ground for a second. Daniel then realized what was odd about the Fearow; it seemed to have some sort of metal, armor-like attachment on its beak.

“So, this is the Pokémon that beat Bugsy? Come on!” taunted the trainer.

Daniel realized that Fearow was a match for Cyndaquil, but he began to become irritated. “All right, try that again and I’ll show you how I beat Bugsy!” he challenged. As he had proven in the gym leader battle, Daniel knew that his advanced trainer skills could overcome the fact that his Pokémon were inexperienced. All he had to do was utilize his Pokémon’s full potential.

“Ok, go for it!” the trainer said. Fearow readied another Drill Peck.

“Cyndaquil, swerve to the side, then leap right into with Ember, just like you did against Scyther!” Daniel said quickly. His Pokémon frantically tried to do what he had said, but had trouble executing it with equal speed. This time, its leap was very predictable, and it leapt right into Fearow’s fortified beak. It fell to the ground, unable to fight.

The trainer laughed. “Wow. Impressive!” he said sarcastically.

Daniel was reeling inwardly, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. He had seen that Fearow’s beak was dangerous, which was why he had ordered Cyndaquil to swerve to the side before leaping. His Pokémon had been too naïve to comprehend the speed at which it would have to perform these maneuvers.

Daniel grumbled as he sent out Sudowoodo. Fearow tried using Drill Peck on it, but the Rock-type was strong enough to withstand it. “Sudowoodo, Rock Throw!” Daniel said. Sudowoodo was a Pokémon that had been toughened by the wild, and had a slight edge over Cyndaquil in experience when Daniel had first caught it. At this point, it knew how to aim its rocks well, and hit hard. The Fearow was soon defeated.

“Well, that Sudowoodo isn’t so bad,” the trainer admitted. “I see you do have some pretty strong Pokémon. That Cyndaquil could use some help, though”.

Daniel merely grunted. Then he remembered something. “By the way, what was that thing on Fearow’s beak?”

“That was a Sharp Beak,” the trainer replied. “It’s a hold item that boosts the power of Flying-type moves. I’m sure you could get similar hold items for your Pokémon. Anyway, I gotta get moving. See you around”. With that, he went on his way.

Daniel didn’t stop to think about this for very long. He was more concerned with Cyndaquil. A quick stop at the Pokémon Center healed its wounds, but not its feelings. After being healed, Daniel took Cyndaquil out of its Pokéball, and it looked at him sadly.

“It’s ok, Cyndaquil, one loss isn’t going to stop us. You do need some extra training, though,” Daniel said.

This did not seem to make Cyndaquil feel any better. Clara noticed this, and looked up at Daniel innocently. “What are you going to do?” she asked.

Daniel sighed. He felt like something was wrong. He was the expert trainer, and Clara was learning from him, but he felt like something was missing from his own training. He remembered the advice Laura had given him when they traveled together in Kanto. She had always encouraged him to keep his Pokémon’s abilities and feelings in mind, and to put himself in the place of his Pokémon.

“I have been thinking about what my Pokémon are capable of, but…” he thought to himself. He was an expert trainer, but his Pokémon were not as experienced as he was. He realized that although he may know his Pokémon’s true potential, they might not know it themselves. Cyndaquil was not yet experienced enough to think on the same strategic level as he was.

He noticed that Cyndaquil looked disappointed about its own failure. It had not lived up to Daniel’s expectations. But this could not be Cyndaquil’s fault, Daniel realized. He had not truly put himself in Cyndaquil’s place and thought about what Cyndaquil was capable of at this point in its training. He had become annoyed by people assuming he was a beginning trainer, and had tried to prove how advanced he was. Because of this, he was pushing his Pokémon too hard, just like Meany. “What have I become?” he whispered to himself.

“What?” Clara asked.

He realized she was still expecting him to do something. After all, he was in the role of a mentor for her. Daniel knew what he had to do now. “Cyndaquil…I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have put you through that. I know I’ve been expecting a lot from you, but you’re doing the best you can. From now on, I’m going to make sure you don’t do anything you’re not ready for. Ok?” Cyndaquil appeared to be slightly comforted, but Daniel was going to have to prove his words. He put Cyndaquil back in its Pokéball for now.

“It’s not always easy being a trainer, Clara, and to be honest, I could still learn some things myself,” Daniel admitted. “You know, your sister Laura is very wise. She helped me to become the trainer I am today. I’m sure she gave you advice before you started your journey. We should both listen to that advice”.

“Laura’s advice? Ok, whatever,” Clara said, slightly amused and bewildered. She was still a bit young and naïve, and did not quite understand what Daniel meant. He sighed, and realized that if he was to be a good mentor for Clara, he would have to take on the role that Laura had for him on his first journey. Above all, he would have to remember everything he had learned and not become too frustrated by the harsh challenges of this new region.

He thought for a moment, and had a new idea. “I’ll be right back,” he said. He went over to the nurse’s counter and asked a question. “Do you know of anywhere that I can find hold items for Pokémon?” He was in luck, because the nurse told him that nearby in town was a specialty shop that would have exactly what Cyndaquil needed. This shop was known as the Charcoal Kiln, and it specialized in producing Charcoal, the hold item that boosted Fire-type moves. “Thank you!” Daniel said, and prepared to visit this place.

The Charcoal Kiln was not far, and Daniel and friends quickly found it. Two hard-working gentlemen were at work inside, making charcoal. The younger one handled transactions while the trade master worked in back. “Would you like to buy a charcoal?” he asked.

“I certainly would!” Daniel replied. The exchange was made, and Daniel held the Fire-enhancing item in his hand.

Afterward, he went outside and showed it to Cyndaquil. “This item will help you to hone your strength,” he explained. “I’m going to do everything I can to make training easier for you. We’ll go at your pace”. Cyndaquil looked a little more enthusiastic now, and it looked up at Daniel with hope. “All right, we’re going into slightly dangerous territory now. The Ilex Forest may be filled with dangerous Pokémon, but remember, we’ve got Geodude and Sudowoodo, too. We’ll all work as a team to get through it!” Cyndaquil squeaked in approval, and Daniel put it back in its Pokéball.

Having already made their preparations, Daniel’s party was now ready to head into the forest. They made their way back to the forest’s entrance at the west side of town. “All right, let’s find out what challenges await us in this forest!” Daniel said in his typically adventurous way.

Ilex Forest was particularly dense, and the trees blotted out most of the sunlight. However, the path was fairly straightforward, and it was easy going. The occasional Caterpie or Weedle would approach, but Daniel was easily able to scare them away. Eventually, however, the path began to be somewhat less obvious. They reached an area where one path led into a deep and murky part of the forest. On the northward path, however, Daniel saw something that led him to proceed in that direction.

There appeared to be a small man-made structure up ahead, and as they got closer, Daniel could see that it looked like some kind of shrine. A young woman was standing there looking at it. Daniel peered closer and saw a faded inscription. It said that the shrine honored the guardian of the forest.

“It’s intriguing, isn’t it?” said the young woman. Daniel looked at her. “My name is Helen,” she introduced herself. “I work for an organization in Ecruteak City. We are on a mission to uncover the secrets of Johto’s legends. This shrine you see here is very ancient. It is said that the ‘guardian’ it refers to is a Pokémon. This Pokémon is very mysterious, and we know little about it. However, many people who travel though Ilex Forest have claimed that they can feel a presence watching over them. My job is to investigate this legend”.

“That’s fascinating,” Daniel said. “Have you found anything yet?”

“No. This alleged Pokémon is more elusive than any that I know of,” Helen replied. “If you visit Ecruteak City, though, I’m sure you’ll hear some very interesting legends, and see sights to go with them. Meanwhile, I will continue my research here”. After saying this, she appeared to have a distant look in her eyes, and said nothing more.

Daniel found this very strange, but he was also very intrigued. He decided it was time to move on, but as he traveled, he somehow felt that this guardian was watching over him, and he continued on with more enthusiasm. Keeping in mind the secrets that filled the world of Pokémon, he decided to focus on his own Pokémon and what he needed to learn together with them.

~ Fire in the Dark ~

“I hope we’re almost out of this forest,” Pete said gloomily. “You know I don’t like dark, enclosed places. This forest is almost like a cave”.

“I think this forest is creepy in a cool way,” Clara said, “but I wouldn’t mind seeing daylight again, either”.

Daniel did not feel inclined to say anything at this time. He also hoped they were almost out of Ilex Forest, because it had been an uneventful and unexciting walk. Other trainers didn’t seem to prefer this place, or so he assumed, because he had not encountered any. He wished something would happen so that he could test his new strategies with Cyndaquil; ones that he hoped would be easier for the little fellow.

“You know, Daniel, I think I’d like to try to catch a Pokémon,” Clara suddenly said.

“Oh...well, I suppose you could,” Daniel replied. “If Professor Elm let you have Chikorita, then I guess it’s ok to have more Pokémon…even though you’re not a licensed trainer yet,” he said the last part in an undertone. “Just remember, having more than one Pokémon is quite a responsibility. I’ll be on the lookout for Pokémon that might be easy for you to catch and raise”.

“Hey, I bet I know where all of the Pokémon in this forest are hiding,” Clara said, turning her gaze upward.

“Huh?” Daniel wondered what she was talking about.

“Chikorita, go! Try to shake that little tree right there!” Clara said.

“Er…what are you doing?” Pete asked.

“I think there are Pokémon in these trees. I’m trying to shake them loose!” Clara merrily answered.

“That’s very astute of you, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here,” Daniel warned. Indeed, Clara’s sharp mind had observed something Daniel had not, but he feared what might happen if she was too reckless, and his fears were soon confirmed.

“Yikes!” Pete yelped as something landed next to him. Daniel pushed him out of the way just as it exploded. More of them began falling and exploding. Daniel whipped out his Pokédex and tried to quickly ascertain what these strange creatures were. Apparently, they were the Bug-type Pineco, and they were known to explode when disturbed. Clara had had the misfortune of shaking a tree that contained a whole colony of them.

“This is getting dangerous!” Daniel announced. “They’re falling from everywhere, and there’s no way out! We’re going to have to defeat them before they explode”.

He sent out Cyndaquil. “All right buddy, now is the time!” he said. “Hold onto that charcoal and let it fuel your flames”. He put Cyndaquil at a safe distance where it could focus before attacking. “All right, now aim your Ember at that Pineco! Now that one!”

“Chikorita, Tackle!” Clara said.

“Be careful, Clara,” Daniel warned. “Physical attacks might not be a good idea in this case. You should stay back and use Razor Leaf, despite it being at a disadvantage”.

Some of the Pineco were becoming aggressive. They were closing in on Cyndaquil, who they perceived to be a threat. They looked like they were ready to blow up around it. “Cyndaquil!” Daniel said, then took a deep breath. “Stay calm, and look around. Wait for your chance”. Cyndaquil’s flames flared up, and it held on tight to its charcoal. Then, it began using Ember on the Pineco as they got too close. It was a frantic fight, as they were coming in fast.

“You can do it, Cyndaquil, just keep your wits about you, and be alert to your instincts!” Daniel felt that this was the best way to go. Cyndaquil looked a little intimidated, but it tried to keep its cool as the Pineco swarmed around it. It closed its eyes for a second, then lashed out and began spewing out Embers in rapid succession. It took in its environment quickly, and acted with fast reflexes. Soon, the encroaching Pineco began to diminish.

Finally, Cyndaquil stood up amidst its fallen opponents. Fortunately, the Pineco had been neither fast nor very bright, as their only instinct was to explode on contact. Cyndaquil, on the other hand, had gained good experience. Its body began to glow.

“Wow, what’s happening to Cyndaquil?” Clara said in bewilderment.

This was an occurrence that Daniel had seen many times before, but he was still amazed every time it happened. “Cyndaquil is evolving!” he explained proudly.

After a few moments, a strong-looking Quilava stood before them. “Good work, buddy! You did it! I’ve taught you well!” he said. For the first time, Daniel felt like he had made significant progress with his Pokémon in Johto. Cyndaquil had helped him to learn the techniques that were right for it, and it had gained the skill to be able to use them well. Now, as a Quilava, its work had paid off.

“Can I catch one of these Pineco, Daniel?” Clara asked. “There are plenty of them around”.

Daniel winced at the thought of her trying to raise one of those explosive Pokémon, and replied, “I’m not so sure Pineco is the best Pokémon for you. Why don’t we just get out of here, and we’ll see what kind of wild Pokémon don’t lurk in the forest”. Clara’s face showed disappointment for a second before she turned back into her normal enthusiastic self. Daniel was glad she could retain such an attitude.

“Yeah, let’s put this forest behind us already,” Pete agreed. They quickly left the danger zone of Pineco behind, and before long, saw the light that would lead them out of Ilex Forest.

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Chapter 9 – Discoveries and Developments

~ Psychic Anomaly ~

Having made it through Ilex Forest safely, the party entered the much sunnier area of Route 34. Daniel was proud of his new Quilava, and Clara was still a bit antsy, now being even more determined to catch a new Pokémon. As they continued down the grassy and sandy road, they each looked for ways in which they could make use of their skills.

“Um, excuse me. A little help here?” said a trainer they met after traveling some ways. He appeared to be slightly nerdy, and also had an eccentric look in his eye.

“What is it?” Daniel asked.

“It’s my two friends. Something weird happened to them,” the odd fellow answered.

Further up the road, a strange scene unfolded. Two trainers were standing there, facing each other. They seemed to be having a Pokémon battle, but they were not issuing commands or even moving at all. They simply stood there, staring vacantly, as if in a trance.

Meanwhile, their two Pokémon exhibited even stranger behavior. Both were Psychic-types; an Abra and a Drowzee. They also appeared to be in a trance, but they were moving slightly, and sending psychic waves at each other in what appeared to be some kind of attack. The waves were weak and uncontrolled, however, and were simply wandering around haphazardly, as if the two Pokémon were not fully aware of what they were doing.

“That is weird,” Daniel agreed. “What happened to them?”

The trainer attempted to explain it as best he could. “Well, you see, we’re Psychics. Or at least we want to be… It’s kind of a fad around here. To be completely honest, we’re not naturals. This route has an abundance of Psychic Pokémon, and we decided to start training them and linking our minds to theirs. For my two friends, it didn’t exactly work out very well”.

“How did they get like that?” Clara asked.

The trainer sighed. “They were doing weird experiments with their minds while battling, and then… I think what happened is that their Pokémon both used a Psychic attack at the same time. Drowzee used Hypnosis, and Abra used Confusion, but they hit each other at just the right wavelength to interfere with each other. That caused everyone’s minds to get messed up”.

“You know, this is starting to sound kind of creepy,” Pete noted. “Have you considered that these experiments might not be a good idea?”

“I’m considering that now,” the trainer said regretfully.

“So, how can we help?” Daniel asked.

“I’m thinking that if we had another Psychic Pokémon, we might be able to send another brainwave at them that will disrupt the frequency, and snap them back to normal,” the trainer said.

“Don’t you have any?” Clara asked.

The trainer laughed nervously. “Well, the thing is, I don’t actually have any Psychic Pokémon…yet… I’m just the intelligence guy. I do all the research. I guess I messed up on this one, huh?”

“Yeah… So how do you know your theory will work?” Daniel questioned.

“I don’t, but it’s worth a try, isn’t it?” the trainer replied.

“None of us have any Psychic Pokémon,” Clara said, “but maybe I could catch one”.

Daniel looked at her. “I’m not so sure about this,” he said.

“Come on, you wouldn’t let me catch a Pineco earlier. You said I could catch a Pokémon, didn’t you?”

“All right. We’ll take a look around and see what kind of wild Pokémon are lurking about,” Daniel decided.

There were plenty of wild Pokémon in the tall grass for those who would seek them, and as the trainer had mentioned, there were indeed Psychic types, namely Abra and Drowzee. Daniel also noticed an occasional Ditto. He thought this was an unusual place for being home to that assortment of Pokémon, and wondered what kind of environmental features attracted Psychic types, or Ditto for that matter. He figured this was just one of those mysteries.

Clara noticed something that made her perk up; there were a few small trees along the road, like the ones they had seen in Ilex Forest. “There must be good Pokémon hiding in those trees,” she said.

“Don’t you remember what happened last time we tried that?” Daniel said.

“Yeah, but look at that one. That’s not a Pineco,” Clara replied.

Within the branches of a small tree could be seen a Pokémon that was indeed not Pineco. It looked almost like fruit on the tree at first, except that the fruit had faces. “Exeggcute!” Daniel recognized. “I’m allergic to Exeggcute pollen…” he added nervously.

“But, Exeggcute is a Psychic-type, isn’t it?” Clara said. “It’s also a Grass-type, like Chikorita”.

“I can see you’ve been doing your homework,” the eccentric trainer said. “You’re absolutely right. Exeggcute may be able to help us”.

“Well Daniel, can I catch it?” Clara demanded.

He thought for a moment. “All right, as long as I’m not too close to it. This will be a test of your skill, Clara. Go ahead and try to catch it!”

“Oh, yeah!” Clara said. She sent out Chikorita, who headbutted the tree, shaking Exeggcute loose. The six egg heads hopped up and down and glared in annoyance. “Chikorita, Tackle!” Clara commanded.

Her Leaf Pokémon tackled the eggs, scattering them about. They regrouped and used Confusion. Being wild, its attack did not do much damage, but Chikorita became wary. “Now, try Razor Leaf,” Clara said. The attack did a small amount of damage, but intimidated the Exeggcute. It tried to use Hypnosis, but failed, as Chikorita leapt around.

“Now that might be able to help us,” the trainer noted. “Try to catch it!”

Clara wore it down a little more before throwing a Pokéball. She had done well; the ball shook a few times and then clicked. This had not been a very formidable Exeggcute. “Yes! I did it! I caught my first wild Pokémon! Way to go, Chikorita!” Clara exclaimed.

“Good job,” Daniel said. “I must admit, you are a fast learner. I don’t think you’ll have trouble training this Exeggcute. Just don’t provoke it into letting out pollen…”

“Great! Let’s see if Exeggcute can snap my friends out of their trance,” the not-so-psychic trainer said.

They went back to the battle site where the two trainers and their Pokémon were still in the weird trance. Clara sent out Exeggcute. Under the trainer’s advice, she had it use Hypnosis at a steady frequency. At first, nothing appeared to be happening, but then the two battling Pokémon began to slow their movement. “All right, now stop,” the trainer said.

The four entranced ones slowly started to come to their senses, and they looked around in confusion. The Abra trainer groaned. “What happened?” he asked.

“I feel like I’ve lost some time,” said the Drowzee trainer. Their Pokémon now appeared to have headaches.

The eccentric trainer laughed nervously. “I can explain…” Before he did, however, he turned discreetly toward Daniel and friends. “Thanks for the help, guys. Maybe you should just get out of here before anything else happens”.

“That sounds like a good idea,” Daniel said. “Let’s go”.

With the bizarre incident behind them, Daniel’s party continued on their way down Route 34. The event had been disturbing, but Clara had gotten a new Pokémon out of it. Despite having a slightly annoyed attitude before, Daniel was happy for her. He felt that his time assisting her in training was starting to pay off.

~ The Day Care Center ~

As Daniel and friends journeyed, Laura would occasionally call them on their Pokegear. She was always interested to hear about their adventures, and the progress Clara had made. One day, while they traveled down Route 34, she gave them a call concerning a more pressing issue.

“Hello? Hey, Laura, how’s it going?” Daniel answered the call.

“Are you still on Route 34? I have a favor to ask of you,” Laura replied.

“Yeah, we’re still there. What is it?” Daniel asked.

Laura’s Clefairy was still suffering from some kind of ailment, and although it seemed more relaxed, it was not feeling much better. Laura was concerned about this. Fortunately, she had heard about some people who might be able to help.

“There’s a Day Care Center on Route 34,” she explained. “I’ve heard that the elderly couple who run it are very good at caring for Pokémon. They’ve been known to naturally cure Pokémon of illnesses, using their remarkably intuitive knowledge of Pokémon”.

“I see,” Daniel replied. “So, what do you want us to do?”

“When you reach the Day Care Center, I want you to withdraw Clefairy using the PC there, and give it to the Day Care couple to take care of for a little while”.

“All right, I can do that,” Daniel said, “if you really think this Day Care couple can do the trick”.

“I’m willing to give it a try,” Laura affirmed.

“Ok then. I’ll call you on the PC when we get there,” Daniel concluded.

Route 34 was easy traveling, and it was not long before they arrived at the Day Care Center. It consisted of a cozy little house with a fenced off area where Pokémon could play. Daniel and friends entered the house, where the elderly couple greeted them.

“Good afternoon. Would you like us to raise a Pokémon for you?” the old lady asked.

“Actually, I’m delivering a Pokémon for a friend. I’m going to withdraw it from the PC,” Daniel explained.

“Very well. That will be fine,” the old lady replied.

The house had a PC that Daniel used to contact Laura. “You’re there? Great!” Laura said. “All right, I’m sending Clefairy over now”. Daniel received the Pokéball that contained Clefairy, and gave it to the old couple.

“All right, let’s see what we’ve got here,” the old lady said, stepping outside into the yard. She opened the Pokéball and let Clefairy out. “Ah, a female Clefairy. It’s a pretty little thing,” she confirmed.

Daniel realized something. “Wait… Did you say female? How can you tell?”

“We’ve seen a lot of Pokémon. We can tell the difference,” the old lady said. “Your Pokédex should be able to identify Pokémon gender, as well”.

Daniel confirmed this by scanning Clefairy with his Pokédex. “That’s funny… I’ve never paid much attention to the gender of my Pokémon,” he admitted, slightly embarrassed.

“Strangely enough, no one did until recently,” the old lady replied. “In fact, it was Professor Elm who first began doing research into it. He discovered that under the right conditions, certain Pokémon can be bred. Previously, Pokémon eggs were very rarely seen”.

“I see,” Daniel said, remembering Mr. Pokémon’s enthusiasm at finding an egg.

“More significantly, it has been revealed that certain Pokémon have pre-evolutions; that is, when bred, their egg will hatch into a previous evolved form. Take a look at that Pokémon, for instance”.

She pointed out what looked like a Pikachu, except smaller and with proportionately larger ears. “That’s a Pichu. Under the right conditions, it will evolve into Pikachu. Pichu are rarely seen in the wild, so their existence was only recently discovered”.

“Wow. That is a fascinating discovery,” Daniel commented. Then, he remembered why he was here. “Oh, I almost forgot. That Clefairy has a strange illness. My friend Laura was hoping you might be able to find a treatment”.

“Oh, poor thing,” said the old lady, looking sympathetically at Clefairy. “We will most certainly see what we can do. If you give me your Pokegear phone number, I can call you and give you its status”.

“That sounds great,” Daniel said, giving her the number. “Thanks a lot!”

With that taken care of, Daniel and friends went on their way. However, Daniel was now curious about the revelation he had just received. He examined each of his Pokémon with his Pokédex. As it turned out, Cyndaquil and Geodude were male, while Sudowoodo was female. Daniel honestly could not tell the difference, though. “I guess I’ll keep this knowledge in mind,” he concluded.

As for Pete and Clara, it happened that all three of Pete’s Pokémon were male, as was Clara’s Exeggcute. Her Chikorita, however, was female. “Why are the girls outnumbered here?” Clara wondered.

Daniel shrugged awkwardly and said, “Just chance, I guess”. Not wishing to pursue the matter any further, he added, “Well then, let’s move on, shall we? Goldenrod City awaits!”

That night, the old man at the Day Care Center made his daily count of the Pokémon. “Let’s see… Pichu… Rattata… Ah, there’s that new Clefairy we just took in”.

Laura’s Clefairy was sitting on a rock, looking somewhat forlorn. It was a beautiful night, however, with the moon softly casting its light over the Day Care yard. Most of the Pokémon were already asleep. Then, Clefairy’s gaze caught that of another Pokémon looking at her.

“Hmm? Oh yes, I almost forgot,” the old man said. “There’s that male Clefairy someone left here recently. All right, I guess that wraps up my Pokémon count for tonight”. He whistled casually and went inside.

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