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Fanfiction Becoming a Champion

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by BZRich64, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. BZRich64

    BZRich64 The Mustachiod Machamp

    Level 38
    Jun 12, 2017
    It's been quite a while since I decided to stop writing Four Journeys and I've decided that it's finally time to start up a new Pokémon fanfic. Problem was I had at least half a dozen different ideas for new stories. After a lot of consideration I finally settled on my most recent story idea, which is basically a mix of the original Pokémon anime with the most recent Pokémon games: Sword and Shield. This first chapter is probably the single longest chapter out of all of my stories so far since I'm focusing this story's chapters more on content rather than length. Anyway, on with the story!
    The stadium was packed with thousands of cheering fans as the chairman of Macro Cosmos finished his speech. They weren’t cheering for him, of course, but for what was about to happen. As the sharply-dressed chairman walked off the field, there was a small explosion of smoke and confetti near the center of the field, causing the crowd’s cheers to become deafening as the smoke cleared to reveal the region’s Champion, Leon, striking a pose for his fans. One of the many yellow Rotom cameras recording the event pulled in for a close-up, prompting Leon to flash a smile for the fans watching the livestream being broadcast before sticking his hand up dramatically and holding out his thumb and two fingers. The sight of Leon’s signature ‘Charizard Pose’ caused the crowd to erupt into even clouder cheering and yelling as many of the people watching imitated the iconic gesture. Many of the onlookers didn’t even seem to register the other trainer walking out onto the field until he was practically standing face-to-face with the undefeated champ.

    “Exhibition match or not, Leon, your pristine record is about to end, ‘cause I’m beating you here today!” Raihan, the dragon-type Gym Leader declared.

    “You know I don’t lose battles, Raihan!” The champion retorted dramatically, putting on a show for the audience.

    A bell rang, signaling the start of the match, and the two trainers turned away from each other and walked to their places before turning to face back to face each other. The crowd roared with excitement again. Many began stomping their feet rhythmically and the cheers turned into a loose melody that was familiar to anyone who was a fan of Pokémon battling in the Galar region. Leon and Raihan both sent out their first Pokémon as the exhibition match officially began.

    * * *​

    Caught in the heat of the moment, Ash involuntarily jumped off the side of his bed and onto his feet. He stumbled a bit before falling onto the hardwood floor. The Rotom Phone he had been watching Leon’s match on slipped out of his hand and hovered in the air above his head before he got back up.

    “Ow.” The excitable youth groaned as he grabbed his phone and took a seat back on the edge of the bed again. Hopefully, his mother hadn’t heard that.

    There was a loud knock before Delia Ketchum opened the door and peered into Ash’s room.

    “What are you doing in here?” She asked in a raised voice.

    The startled Ash jumped, causing his phone to go flying out of his hand again, this time hovering in the middle of the room between parent and child.

    “Oh, um… nothing.” Ash said innocently. “I was just, uh, watching a Pokémon match.”

    “Do you have any idea what time it is? You should be in bed!” Delia snapped.

    “But mum…” Ash whined.

    “No buts, young man.” Delia held out her hand and the Rotom Phone, knowing the routine by now, flew over to her. “You can watch whatever you were watching tomorrow.”

    “Fine.” Ash groaned and rolled his eyes before lying back on his bed. “G’night, mum.”

    “Goodnight, my Deerling.” Delia said sweetly before stepping back out of Ash’s room and closing the door behind her.

    Ash didn’t think that he would be able to sleep but turned out to be wrong as he didn’t even have to start counting Wooloo before he was out for the night. Ash didn’t know it yet, but this would be the last night he would spend in his own bed for a long time.

    * * *​

    Ash woke up the next morning with a yawn and stretched his arms before getting out of bed. Sunshine poured into his room through the window, making Ash realize that he had overslept. Fortunately, he didn’t have anything that he needed to do that day, but his mother still wasn’t going to like that. Although it wasn’t like it was his fault, she knew that he used his Rotom Phone as his morning alarm.

    Ash quickly got changed out of his pajamas into a plain black t-shirt and an old pair of jeans before heading to the kitchen to get some breakfast. Once he was there, he poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table. It wasn’t until he was half finished eating before Delia walked in and Ash realized that something was off.

    “Did the power go out?” Ash asked as he looked around, noticing that the lights were off and none of the digital clocks built into the various appliances scattered around the small kitchen were on.

    “It’s been off all morning.” Delia confirmed. “And I heard some squeaking coming from the basement, so I think we may have a Pikachu. As soon as you’re done eating, I want you to go down and check it out.”

    Ash grumbled something that he was glad his mother didn’t hear before returning to his cereal. Having to take care of a wild Pokémon was certainly not how he had wanted to spend his day.

    * * *​

    Ash headed down to the basement with a pair of large, pink rubber gloves and a net designed for catching small Pokémon. It was dark down there, but fortunately his mother had returned his Rotom Phone so that he could use it as a flashlight. At first, it didn’t seem like there was anything down there and Ash was ready to turn back and head upstairs. A sound like an electrical spark caused Ash to swear as he and the Rotom Phone both turned to the corner where it had come from. Sure enough, his mother’s suspicions had proven correct and there was a Pikachu chewing on some electrical wiring it had pulled out from the wall.

    The Pikachu looked over at Ash and Rotom and seemed to flicker for a moment before continuing to feed off the electricity flowing through the house's power cords as if they weren’t there. Sighing, Ash tightened his grip on the net before plunging forward and bringing the net down on the wild Pikachu.

    “Aha, gotcha!” Ash declared triumphantly before the Pikachu suddenly popped out of existence and the boy realized too late that he had just caught a Double Team copy.

    As swore again as he was hit from behind by a Thunder Wave. The electrical charge wasn’t enough to really hurt him, but it sent a very uncomfortable tingling sensation down his spire and his hands seized up for a moment, causing him to drop the net he was holding. Ash quickly picked the net back up and rolled to the side. His movements were a bit sluggish after that shock to his system, but he had been able to dodge out of the way of the second Thunder Wave the wild Electric-type tried to hit him with. Ash reached down and pulled out a bottle of Repel that he shook vigorously while hopping out of the way of another electric attack before spraying the Pokémon repellant towards the electric rodent. The Pikachu sneezed and began scratching at its nose furiously as it was distracted long enough for Ash to catch it in his net.

    “There, let’s see you break out of this.” Ash twisted the net’s handle, tightening the loop so that the Pikachu wouldn’t be able to get out. The Pikachu tried discharging an electrical blast, which startled Ash but wasn’t able to travel far enough past the net to be able to hurt him.

    Delia was standing in the living room as Ash came back up from the basement, proudly holding the trapped Pikachu.

    “I got ‘im.” Ash said. “But now what?”

    “Let him go outside.” Delia told him. “But make don’t let him out near the house, or he’ll just come straight back here. Try letting him out outside of town.”

    “Right.” Ash nodded before heading to the front door.

    As Ash stepped outside, he was immediately greeted by a trio of Budew hanging out in his mother’s flower garden just outside the house. Ash smiled at the wild Pokémon, but they were immediately scared off as Pikachu tried shocking the net again. Ash sighed as he looked around for a good spot to free the Electric-type.

    Postwick was an old, small farming town that consisted of only a few scattered houses and a number of large wheat fields. To the north was Route 1, a short pathway that led straight to a larger town known as Wedgehurst. In the five years since his mother had moved them to Galar, Ash had never understood why Postwick and Wedgehurst were considered separate from each other but eventually he just realized that it didn’t really matter that much. To the west of Postwick, practically just outside his house, was a gateway that blocked off the Slumbering Weald. Ash actually had no idea what a weald was, but he figured that it must have just been a fancy word for forest since that’s what the Slumbering Weald seemed to be. He had always been told not to go in there, though, so wasn’t really all that certain what was on the other side of the gate other than trees.

    There was a Wooloo that had apparently decided not to heed the warnings not to enter the Slumbering Weald, however, as it was repeatedly ramming into the gate in an apparent attempt at forcing it open. Ash found this behavior odd, but his attention was quickly pulled away from that.

    “Hey, Ash! What’re you up to?” A boy Ash’s age in a teal jacket that was just a bit too large for him called out as he ran up to Ash.

    “Oh, mornin’ Hop.” Ash nodded to his neighbor before holding up the net containing the wild Pikachu. “This li’l pest broke into our house and me Mum decided that I needed to take care of it.”

    “Interesting, we had a Pikachu get into our wiring the other day.” Hop noted. “Wonder if it’s the same one?”

    “Don’t know.” Ash shrugged. “Probably means I’ll need to send it out further away if we don’t want to see it again, though.”

    “Yeah.” Hop agreed. “I think Dad let it out over on Route 1, which means you’ll probably want to take it to Route 2. At the very least it can bother the folks up in Wedgehurst, right?”

    Ash laughed. “Yeah, I suppose-”

    There was a sudden crash, causing both boys to turn to the Slumbering Weald. The Wooloo that had been attacking the gate had apparently succeeded in breaking through and was now rolling into the dark woods.

    “Oi, where do ya think you’re goin’?” Hop called after the sheep Pokémon. “It’s dangerous in there! C’mon Ash, let’s go after it before the poor thing gets itself into trouble.”

    “Right.” Ash nodded without any hesitation.

    The two boys ran after the stray Wooloo, venturing into the Slumbering Weald for the first time in either of their lives. It proved to be a much less momentous occasion that they had imagined, at least at first. They simply had to run along a straight trail until they had to suddenly turn around and run the other way as the Wooloo they had been chasing after had apparently turned around and was now barreling straight towards them. Ash was able to jump out of the way, dropping his in the process and inadvertently freeing the captive Pikachu within it, while Hop was knocked flat onto his back by the charging ball of wool.

    “Ow, that barely hurt.” Hop groaned as he got back to his feet and dusted himself off. “What do you think made ‘im turn around like that?”

    “I don’t know.” Ash picked the now-empty net back up and looked around to see where the wild Pikachu had gone. He found it lying on the ground just a few feet away, dazed by the sudden fall. “But I suppose we should be headin’ back ourselves before, um…”

    “Before what?” Hop looked up from the speck up mud he had been trying to wipe out of his wool-trimmed jacket. “Oh, huh.”

    The two boys found themselves surrounded by a ring of fog, that seemed to be steadily inching closer to them.

    “Well, this certainly doesn’t look good.” Hop glanced around. “We should definitely get out of here but, uh, which way did we come from?”

    “I’m not sure but hopefully it wasn’t that way.”

    Hop gaze followed the direction that Ash was pointing, to see a pair of large wolf-like Pokémon in the fog. One seemed to have fur that was primarily blue with sections of orange, while the other was mainly dark red with some darker blue mixed sections while they both had white muzzles and fur. They looked old and worn-out, with white markings in their disheveled fur that looked like scars.

    “Any chance they’re friendly.” Ash wondered aloud hopefully.

    “That would be nice, but I don’t think so.” Hop grabbed the lone Pokéball he had in his pocket and sent out his only Pokémon, a Wooloo similar to the one that had just run him over.

    The fluffy sheep Pokémon stood his ground beside Hop, ready to defend him. The atmosphere seemed tense as the young trainer, his Pokémon and Ash all waited to see what the strange new Pokémon would do. After a moment that seemed like a lifetime, the two wolves had apparently decided to leave them along and started to turn to leave. Pikachu, however, had chosen a very bad moment to regain his senses and launched a Thunder Shock at what he thought were a pair of hostile Pokémon. The bolt of electricity seemed to arc right through them as if they weren’t even there and blasted a hole in one of the trees. The two wolves immediately turned back to them. The red wolf assumed a defensive stance while the blue one lunged forward to attack. Pikachu was startled by the speed at which his opponents moved, barely managing to avoid being bitten by the blue wolf. Meanwhile, the fog had rolled in, making it harder to see what was going on now.

    “Not good!” Ash yelled. “Very not good!”

    “Okay, we’ve got to get out of here, now!” Hop shouted to Ash and turned, only for the red wolf to jump in front of him to block his path. “Waugh! Nope, never mind. Can’t go that way.”

    Ash tried to keep his eye on the blue wolf, but it was getting harder and harder to see anything through the fog. The wild Pikachu sent out another Thunder Shock, showing Ash a brief silhouette of the mouse Pokémon as desperately tried to hit something. Ash then caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye and spotted the blue wolf slowly creeping up on the Pikachu, ready to pounce. Before he even had time to think, Ash dove forward to catch the Pikachu just as the blue wolf came in for an attack. And then everything went black.

    * * *​

    “Hey, kid? Are you alright?”

    Ash was sure that he had died, because he could have sworn that he heard the voice of Galar’s champion and his personal hero, Leon. Although if he was dead, he probably wouldn’t be feeling nearly as sore as he did, so he figured that he was just hearing things. Then he opened his eyes and was greeted by a face he knew well despite having never seen it in person before.

    “L-Leon?” Ash grunted as he sat up and looked around. He was still in the Slumbering Weald, though the fog was gone, and Hop was looking down at him beside a man that was unmistakably the Galar League Champion.

    “Oh, good, you’re awake.” The man who looked like Leon said. “And you know my name.”

    “Everyone knows your name.” Hop pointed out. “You’re the most famous person in Galar.”

    “Oh, right. I guess I kind of am.” Leon scratched the back of his head and looked kind of embarrassed.

    Ash stared up at his idol, completely mesmerized.

    “You’ve never actually met my brother before, have you?” Hop laughed as he helped Ash back up to his feet.

    “Your brother?” It took Ash a moment to process that. “Wait, I thought you said your brother was named Lee!”

    “It is.” Hop smiled and nodded. “Short for Leon.”

    “You must be Ash.” Leon held out his hand, which Ash started to shake before consciously noticing it. “I’m sorry that it’s taken so long for us to finally meet, considering that we’ve been neighbors for, what, three years now?”

    “Five.” Hop corrected him.

    “Really?” Leon looked surprised to hear this. “Man, I am really bad at keeping track of time. Although now that you mention it, that does sound right. Also, you can stop shaking my hand now.”

    “Sorry.” Ash let go of Leon’s hand, looking embarrassed.

    “It’s fine. But now that we’ve finally met, would you mind telling me what you two were doing in here?”

    “Oh, right.” Hop stuck his hands in his pockets and looked embarrassed. “Well, you see, a Wooloo broke through the fence so we went after it to make sure it was safe but then it turned around in a hurry and left, then everything got foggy and we couldn’t find out way back. Then a couple of large wolf-like Pokémon showed up and attacked. I don’t remember anything after that, though.”

    “Yeah, same here.” Ash nodded.

    “Hm…” Leon scratched his chin contemplatively. “That’s rather disconcerting, but at least you’re both safe. Now let’s get out of here before the Pokémon that attacked you come back.”

    “Don’t have to tell me twice.” Hop laughed.

    * * *​

    As soon as Ash stepped out of the Slumbering Weald with Hop and Leon, he found himself pulled into a sudden brace so tight that he could barely breathe.

    “Are you alright? I was so worried! I never should have sent you to do that alone! Please tell me you’re not hurt!”

    “Mum! Mum, I’m fine.” Ash tried to force his mother off of him.

    “Right, right, of course you are.” Delia let go of her son and took a step back. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”

    “It’s nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Ketchum.” Leon said, taking off his hat and bowing slightly.

    “And it’s good to see you, Leon. Though we have met before.” Delia reminded him.

    “We have?” Leon seemed confused.

    “Yes, you and your family helped us move in when we first got here.” Delia pointed out.

    “Oh, yeah, that’s right.” Leon slapped his forehead lightly. “I think I had a Champion Cup match right after that, so I guess I had other things on my mind at the time.”

    Ash thought back and realized that he could vaguely remember what his mother was referring to. He couldn’t believe that he had never realized that ‘Lee’ was Leon, though.

    “Speaking of the League…” Leon turned back to Ash and Hop “Or at least Pokémon, anyway. I’m curious to see what you too can do in a battle.”

    “Oh, yeah!” Hop pumped his fist into the air. “Wooloo and I’ve been itchin’ to finally take you on in a battle!”

    “That sounds like fun, though I’m not actually a Pokémon trainer, yet.” Ash said.

    “Wait, isn’t that Pikachu yours?” Leon gestured near Ash’s feat, a confused look on his face.

    “What Pika-ahh!” Ash recoiled as he suddenly realized that the Pikachu he had gotten out of the house earlier had apparently followed him back from the Slumbering Weald.

    “Pika-chuu!” The Electric-type hopped away, startled by Ash’s sudden movement.

    “Ah, looks like he likes you.” Hop laughed. “Or he just wants back into your house for another power meal.”

    “Ah, I didn’t realize it was wild.” Leon put his hat back on. “Although it looks like you could probably catch him if you wanted.”

    “Really?” Ash looked back down at Pikachu, who looked up at him and seemed to nod. Ash then turned to his mother. “Can I, Mum?”

    “Oh, alright.” Delia smiled, realizing that if they hadn’t moved away from Pallet Town all those years ago, this would probably have been the day when Ash got his first Pokémon anyway.

    “Yes!” Ash couldn’t contain his excitement even if he tried, not that he did. “Although I guess I’ll need a Pokéballs, then.”

    “Don’t worry, I can help you with that.” Leon said, then suddenly realized something. “You know what, I feel like a special occasion like this deserves something special. Meet me out by the old battlefield, I’m going to go get something.”

    Leon then ran off North towards Route 1, before his Charizard emerged from his Pokémon and pointed him in the way he actually meant to go, which was East to his family’s house.

    “He’s certainly an energetic young man.” Delia turned to Ash. “Anyway, I’m going to go call an electrician to come over and get the power up and running again. Have fun.”

    “Bye, mum!” Ash waved to her mother as she went back into the house, before turning to Hop. “What do you think Leon’s getting’?”

    “Dunno.” Hop shrugged. “Let’s head over there and see.”

    * * *​

    Ash and Hop didn’t have to wait long for Leon to come back.


    “Wha-ow!” The red ball Leon through at Ash hit him in the head and bounced off the ground.

    “Whoops, sorry.” Leon flinched and smiled apologetically.

    “Ooh, what’s that?” Hop asked as Ash picked up the cherry-red Pokéball.

    “It called a Cherish Ball.” Leon explained. “It’s a really rare kind of Pokéball that’s hard to find. I was saving it for something special, and this certainly feels like a good opportunity.”

    “Thank you.” Ash nodded before turning to Pikachu, who was resting on a moss-covered stone fence next to him. “Are you sure about this?”

    Pikachu looked uneasily at the red ball in Ash’s hand. He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of being crammed in that thing and was almost ready to change his mind. But then he remembered how Ash had put his own life at risk in order to save him from that strange phantom wolf, looked up at Ash, and nodded.

    “Alright.” Ash nodded back. “Then let’s do this!”

    Ash chucked the Cherish Ball at Pikachu, which opened up and swallowed the Electric-type in a flash of red energy. It then dropped to the ground and shook once, then again. After the third shake, the front button flashed for a moment and the Cherish Ball clicked, indicating that Pikachu had been successfully caught. Ash then picked it up and pressed the button, causing a beam of red energy to shoot out as Pikachu rematerialized back on the fence. The mouse Pokémon stumbled a bit and nearly fell off the fence, disoriented by the unusual experience.

    “Woah, is he alright?” Ash asked, concerned.

    “Oh, right. I’ve heard that Pikachu are a bit more sensitive going in and out Pokéballs than most Pokémon are.” Leon remembered. “You’ll probably want to avoid having him sending back in the ball for now. Other Pokémon normally don’t have a problem, though. Anyway, I think the occasion calls for a battle! What do ya say?”

    “Of course!” Hop performed his namesake action, ready to battle. “I’ve been wanting to battle you for ages!”

    “I meant between you too.” Leon specified. “I’m afraid that if you fought me it might be just a bit lopsided.”

    “Ah, right. I guess that makes a bit more sense.” Hop forced a smile before turning to Ash. “So how about it? Fancy a scrap with ol’ Hop?”

    “You’re on!” Ash assumed a steady stance, eager for battle. His freshly caught Pikachu mimicked the pose.

    “Alright, but I won’t be going easy on you.” Hop walked over the opposite side of the blue patch of ground reserved for Pokémon battles. It was far, far smaller than a regulation field, but it was enough big for a small battle like the one that was about to take place. “Come on out, Wooloo!”

    The sheep Pokémon re-emerged from his Pokéball as Ash and Pikachu assumed their places on the field. Leon stood to the side and rose his hand up high over his head before swinging it back down again, signaling the start of the battle.

    “Wooloo, use Growl!” Hop ordered his Pokémon.

    The fluffy white sheep let out a loud bleat, causing Pikachu’s ears to twitch violently and grit his teeth. The electric rodent responded by lunging forward and turning around mid-air, smacking Wooloo across the face with his tail without waiting for a command from Ash.

    “Defense Curl!” Hop shouted.

    Wooloo tucked his legs and head into his thick wool, which served as a natural shield. Pikachu built up an electric charge in his cheek pouches before nuzzling them against Wooloo’s wool. Barely any of the electric energy was able to get through to Wooloo, however.


    Wooloo’s legs seemed to spring back out as he kicked off the ground and tackled Pikachu to the ground. The agitated yellow Pokémon pulled himself back up to his feet and turned to Ash. It was clear that he would not be making any progress in this fight on his own. Unfortunately for the duo, Ash had realized once the fight began that he didn’t actually know any of Pikachu’s attacks yet.

    “Um, try hitting it with, uh… Thunder!” Ash said the only Electric-type move that he knew off the top of his head. Pikachu wasn’t nearly strong enough to use a move that powerful yet, though, but he did get the general idea of what Ash was asking for. His fur began to crackle with electricity as he built up the strongest charge he could muster and shot it out at his opponent. The resultant bolt of lightning burnt through the air before striking Wooloo. Wooloo was hit hard by the attack and his wool fluffed out so that it could hardly move as the residual energy flickered across his body.

    “That looked like it hurt.” Hop winced. “Can you manage another Tackle, Wooloo?”

    The Normal-type tried charging forward again only for his legs to seize up, causing him to fall over. Pikachu started to laugh at the sight of his opponent tripping like that in the middle of the fight. He Quickly stopped laughing, however, as Wooloo bounced off the ground and straight into Pikachu’s face. Pikachu grumbled as he picked himself up again. He was still relatively exhausted from everything that had happened that day and taking a Wooloo to the face twice in a row was doing nothing for his strength. If he didn’t finish this quick, he wasn’t finishing it at all.

    Pikachu did have one advantage now, though. Wooloo had managed to land upside down and the electricity still running through his wool was causing him to statically cling to the grass so that he couldn’t get himself right-side-up again.

    “This is your chance, Pikachu!” Ash declared triumphantly. “Now hit him again!”

    Pikachu glanced at his trainer and nodded before turning back to Wooloo. His fur crackled with yellow electrical energy as he charged up another Thunder Shock. This was a mistake.

    “Quick, use Defense Curl again!” Hop shouted.

    Wooloo tucked his legs back in just as the Thunder Shock struck him in the side with enough force to roll him over again.

    “Now Tackle!”

    Wooloo kicked out just as he leveled out and launched at Pikachu, striking the mouse before he had a chance to dodge out of the way. Pikachu was sent hurtling back and rolled along the ground several times before losing momentum. Pikachu tried to pick himself back up again, but the strain was too much and his strength gave out. Slumping to the ground, Pikachu let out one final squeak of exhaustion.

    Leon counted silently in his head before raising his arm. “Pikachu is unable to battle! Hop and Wooloo win the match!”

    “Yes.” Hop pumped his fist into the air.

    Ash tried to pull down the brim of his hat to cover his eyes, only to realize that he wasn’t actually wearing a hat at the moment. He instead tried to pass the motion off as him brushing his bangs instead.

    “Good game.” Ash said after a moment, holding out his hand to Hop.

    “Yeah, that was really close.” Hop responded enthusiastically as he shook his defeated opponent’s hand. “Any longer and Wooloo would have lost for sure.”

    “That was a great battle!” Leon agreed. “Even though you’re both just starting out, you both seemed to have a real knack for this. You and Wooloo were totally in-synch for the whole match and I could really tell you knew Wooloo’s abilities well and how to react and the circumstances of the battle changed.”

    “I wouldn’t go that far.” Hop said modestly, recalling his Wooloo back into his Pokéball.

    “And did really well yourself, considering that you and Pikachu just met.” Leon turned to Ash. “You were still able to get a sense of what Pikachu was able to do, even if you didn’t know exactly what his abilities were. If you and Pikachu actually had a chance to train together first, I have no doubt that battle would have gone very differently.”

    “Thanks!” Ash’s sour mood from losing his first Pokémon battle was replaced by pride at being complimented by his idol.

    “You’re both just starting out, yet that battle was positively charged!” Leon laughed at his own joke before continuing. “By the end there I was almost ready to send Charizard out and join in myself. You both show a lot of promise as trainers and I’m looking forward to seeing how you can both grow. In fact, yeah… I think you should both take part in the Galar League this year!”

    “Wait, what?” It took Ash a moment to process that.

    “You mean it?” Hop asked excitedly. “But wait, don’t you need a sponsorship from one of the Gym Leaders in order to able to get into the League?”

    “You could get a sponsorship from a Gym Leader if you wanted to.” Leon replied. “But don’t you think being sponsored by the unbeatable champion would be a lot more impressive.”

    “You’re really going to sponsor us in the Pokémon League, Lee?”

    “Of course.” Leon nodded. “I just said that I thought you were both great trainers with a lot of potential, didn’t I.”

    “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Ash asked. “Couldn’t it damage your reputation if one of us failed the league? And it seems like people would object to you sponsoring your own brother and someone who just lost his first Pokémon match.”

    “If they want to complain, then let them.” Leon shrugged, unconcerned. “I know you’ll both show everyone what I’ve seen in you today. No one will be complaining when you both make your way to the Champion Cup and prove why you’ve earned your way there.”

    “That’s quite a lot of confidence you have in us.” Hop mused.

    “Yeah, maybe.” Leon grinned. “Which is why you should accept my sponsorship before I change my mind.”

    “I don’t remember saying anything about not accepting it.” Hop laughed.

    “I’d be honored to accept.” Ash said.

    “Then it’s settled.” Leon nodded. “Although we’re going to need to get you both set up before you can actually enter the League. Meet me in Wedgehurst after you’ve finished getting ready. There’s someone there I want you to meet.”

    With that, the champion of Galar turned with a swish of his logo-covered cape and ran off. Hop turned to Ash.

    “Wow, I can’t believe we’re actually going to get to take part in the League!” Hop said excitedly. “I’m going to go get ready. I don’t want to waist a second.”

    Ash smiled as Hop turned and ran off in the opposite direction. So much had happened that day that it was hard to process. He went over and picked up his Pikachu, who had just regained enough energy to stand up again, and held the electric rodent tightly as he headed back home.

    * * *​

    Once Ash got back to his room, he set Pikachu down on his bed and walked over to his closet. He pulled out an old blue jacket with white sleeves, a pair of fingerless gloves and a red and white baseball cap with the Galar League logo on it. A knock at the door caught his attention and Ash turned to see his mother with a sad smile on her face.

    “You look all grown up.” She said sorrowfully.

    “Oh, uh…” Ash wasn’t exactly sure what to say to his mother. He had been so caught up in the moment that he hadn’t even thought about the fact that he was leaving her behind.

    “You know, if we were back in Kanto then this would be about the time that you’d be expected to head out on your own and become a Pokémon Trainer. And now here we are, half-way around the world, and yet it’s like nothing’s different.”

    “Yeah…” Ash glanced down at his feet, holding back tears.

    “You’re going to want this.” Delia hefted up a large, leather-trimmed bag that Ash immediately recognized as having belonged to his father long ago. “I had a feeling this day would come, so I made sure to pack just about everything you should need out there, though I figured that you would want to pick what clothes you wanted to take with you yourself. But remember that if you need anything then you should call right away.”

    Ash walked over to his mother and took the heavy bag from her. Before he had a chance to walk away again, Delia wrapped her arms around Ash and they both began to cry.

    “I love you so much.”

    “I love you too, Mum.”

    The two remained there for a moment before Delia finally let go and stepped away.

    “Now make me proud.” She smiled, though her eyes were still red and puffy.

    “I will.”
    Since the story is set in Galar, I'm trying to make everyone sound British. I doubt I'm doing a very good job with that, however, and any advise on how to improve in that regard would be appreciated. In fact, any feedback you have to give would be nice and I'd love to hear what you think of the story so far.
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. BZRich64

    BZRich64 The Mustachiod Machamp

    Level 38
    Jun 12, 2017
    Wedgehurst was a small town, though still noticeably larger than Postwick was. A number of small houses and businesses lined the stone-paved streets, with a couple of larger buildings standing out. One of these buildings was the train station that connected Wedgehurst to the rest of Galar. The other was the Pokémon Research Lab. It was outside of this lab that Leon was waiting alongside his Charizard when Ash crossed the small bridge leading into town. Charizard spotted Ash first and let out a controlled stream of flame to signal to the fledgling trainer where they were. Ash spotted the signal and rushed over to them.

    “Hey, Leon!” Ash felt weird addressing his hero so casually.

    “Hey, Ash! Hey, Pikachu!” Leon waved to them. “Are you ready?”

    Ash glanced at the Pokémon resting on his shoulder and they both nodded to each other. “Of course!”

    “Then I guess we’ll just need to wait for Hop.” Leon smiled, impressed by Ash’s enthusiasm.

    “I’m here, I’m here!” Hop ran up to them and stopped beside Ash. “Sorry I took so long. Mum and Gran, well… you know how they get.”

    “Yep, I know.” Leon laughed. “I remember when I first left, it seemed like forever before they let me get out the door.”

    “So, who was it that you wanted us to meet?” Hop asked.

    “Oh, right.” Leon snapped back to attention. “Do either of you know who professor Magnolia is?”

    Ash shook his head, prompting Hop to answer. “She’s supposed to be some old local Pokémon expert, right?”

    Leon laughed again. “Something like that, though I wouldn’t call her old to her face if I were you. She helped me get set up for my League challenge back in the day, so I figured that she could help you as well. This is her lab, here.”

    Leon gestured to the large building behind him before heading to the door. He grabbed the handle and tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He tried again, to similar results.

    “Huh, door’s locked.” Leon noted. “Guess I should have checked that she’d actually be here first. My bad.”

    “Hiya, Leon! Long time, no see!” Everyone turned to see a young redheaded woman walk up to them. She wore a pair of orange-tinted sunglasses and a brown coat over a teal sweater that matched her boots. Silver heart-shaped clips dotted her long hair, which was tied to the tide in a ponytail. As she reached them, she pulled up her sunglasses to rest against her forehead, revealing a thick black bracelet on her wrist with a watch over it. A small brown and yellow dog Pokémon trotted along beside her. “Sorry, I was just out for lunch. If you want in the lab then I can let you in.”

    “Wait, so you’re Professor Magnolia?” Ash wondered aloud. She was much younger than he would have guessed from what Hop and Leon had just said.

    “Haha, no.” The girl laughed. “My name’s Sonia. The professor’s me Gran, though.”

    “Sonia was my rival back when we were taking on the League challenge together as kids.” Leon explained.

    “Feels like it was just yesterday.” Sonia mused. “So, I take it these two are taking on the challenge?”

    “That’s right.” Hop nodded. “Leon’s sponsoring us.”

    “Well, that’s quite the honor, being sponsored by the champion himself. You must be Hop, considering you look just like Leon did when he was your age. I’m afraid I don’t know who you are, though.”

    “My name’s Ash Ketchum.” Ash introduced himself.

    “Nice ta meet ya, Ash. You must be quite the trainer to have caught Leon’s eye.” Sonia said, making Ash blush slightly. “So, then I take it you’re here to see gran? She’s actually at home right now but I’m sure she’d love to help you with whatever you need. I can show you the way if you want. Arceus knows Leon’d never be able to get you there on his own.”

    “Hey!” Leon started to object, then stopped. “Actually, that’s fair.”

    “Come on, it’s this way.”

    Sonia turned and lead the others down the road leading to Route 2, which led straight to the professor’s house. This prompted a sigh of relief from the other side of the door into the lab.

    “Aargh, it sounds like they be leavin’.” The scruffy scratch cat growled as he scratched its metallic beard.

    “That was a close one.” The pink-haired young man turned to the third member of their group. “You find anything yet?”

    “Nothing.” The woman called back. “She must not keep them in the lab.”

    “Then she must be keepin’ them a bit closer tah home, then.” The feline Pokémon said. “Looks like we’ll be needin’ tah pay the ol’ professor a visit.”

    * * *

    “This is it, home sweet home.” Sonia said as they approached the large, purple-roofed house at the end of Route 2. “Gran should be inside.”

    Sonia walked past an open white gate and went up to the front door. Leon, Hop and Ash followed her.

    “Oi, Gran!” Sonia called out as she opened the door and stepped inside. “I’m home, and I brought some folks that want to see you!”

    “You don’t have to shout! I’m not deaf, you know.” The professor walked in from the other room. She looked more like what Ash expected, being an older woman with graying hair and a pair of half-rimmed glasses, wearing a white lab coat over a simple yellow dress and carrying a walking stick with a wooden Corviknight-shaped handle. She noticed the three guests standing around with her granddaughter and paused. “Well, if it isn’t Leon. Haven’t seen you around here in ages.”

    “Yeah, sorry it’s been a while. Being the champion leaves me pretty busy.” Leon grinned sheepishly.

    “I can imagine.” The professor nodded. “But since you’re here, I’ve had something that I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

    “What is it?” Leon asked, genuinely interested in what eth old professor had to say to him.

    “That cape of yours looks awful. With the fur trim, and all of those corporate logos on the back. What are you, a walking advertisement? And it doesn’t fit the rest of your outfit at all.”

    “Er, yeah…” That certainly wasn’t what Leon was expecting to hear, though it did get a chuckle from Sonia and Hop. “But we’re not really here to talk about my fashion sense. I want to introduce you to my brother, Hop, and our neighbor, Ash. They’re both going to be taking on the Galar League.”

    “Oh, I know exactly what you’re here for, then.” Professor Magnolia held out her hand to Ash and Hop as if expecting them to hand her something. “Well, come on now, hand over your phones. I’ll set them up for you while Sonia puts on a kettle.”

    “I didn’t agree to that.” Sonia objected as Ash reluctantly pulled out his red-orange Rotom phone and Hop handed the professor his own blue one.

    “We have guests, deer. You don’t want to be rude.” The professor took both Rotom-possessed devices and slowly walked into the other room.

    “Ugh, fine, I guess.” Sonia sighed. “But be warned, I do not make a good cup of tea.”

    “She really doesn’t.” Leon agreed jokingly, earning a glare from his old friend.

    “I’m going to the kitchen, Yamper’ll show you to the living room.”

    Leon, Ash and Hop followed Sonia’s energetic canine Pokémon over to a large room with a long blue couch. The trio sat down as Yamper ran over to a small pet-bed in the corner and laid down.

    “What’s the professor doing with our phones?” Ash asked.

    “Oh, right, forgot to tell you.” Leon suddenly looked embarrassed. “She’s installing some apps that’ll be useful for you. The most obvious one is the Pokédex, which will allow you to look up information about the different Pokémon you come across during your travels. There’s also one that lets you check your rankings in the league, one that lets you keep track of your Pokémon’s move sets, stuff like that. There’s even a new one that lets you directly access the Pokémon storage system from your phone so that you can quickly transfer your Pokémon in and out of your party. Wish we had that one when I was your age.”

    “Oh, that sounds cool.” Hop said. “That’ll make things a lot easier.”

    “Yeah, they’re brilliant.” Leon agreed. “And when she’s done with that, I want to ask the professor if she’d be willing to get you both one of these.”

    Leon raised arm and pointed to the armband he wore, which was mostly white save for a red stripe on one end, a blue stripe on the other, and a rectangular black screen built into it.

    “Dynamax Bands?” Hop asked excitedly.

    “That’s the thing that lets you make your Pokémon all giant and awesome!” Ash realized.

    “Pika pika!” Pikachu had no idea what the humans were talking about but still felt like joining in the conversation.

    “There’s more to Dynamaxing than that.” Leon grinned. “But yeah, basically.”

    “There’s a lot more to Dynamaxing than that.” Professor Magnolia walked into the room, Ash and Hop’s Rotom Phones hovering above her shoulders. “First off, the Pokémon don’t actually larger. Dynamaxing actually works by distorting the local space in a way that makes it so that it looks like they’ve grown larger and everything around them reacts as if they were really that size. This is caused by the presence of Dynamax particles, which can normally only be found in localized areas known as Battle Spots. Dynamax bands work by gathering the Dynamax energy and-”

    The professor’s lecture was interrupted by a large crashing noise, causing everyone to jump to their feet.

    “Wasn’t me!” Sonia immediately cried out from the kitchen.

    “No one thought it was!” Professor Magnolia snapped. “It sounded like it came from the garage.”

    “Let’s go check it out!” Leon ran out into the other room.

    “That’s the conservatory!” The professor yelled after him. “The garage is the other way!”

    “Right.” Leon ran back into the room. “Maybe you should lead the way.”

    * * *

    As soon as the professor opened the door to her garage, it became immediately clear what had caused the noise they had heard. After all, garages normally four walls, not three-and-a-half.

    “What in Arceus’ name…” Professor Magnolia trailed off as a sudden loud, monotonous screeched through the air like someone broke wind through a rusty trumpet.

    “Oi, prepare fer trouble!” A young woman with bright pink hair, face paint and a midriff-baring leather outfit walked in through the hole in the wall as the grating noise died down.

    “An’ make it double!” A man wearing a near-identical outfit followed her in, caring a y-shaped horn that must have been the source of the odd noise they had just heard.

    “To protect-waugh!” The woman was cut off as Professor Magnolia threw an old wrench at them.

    “Get out o’ me house, ya no-good hooligans!” The angry professor yelled at the intruders.

    “Oi, what’s wrong wit’ you?” The man asked angrily. “You could have done some serious damage to us right there!”

    “That was the point!” The professor explained not-so-politely. “It’s what you get f’r blowin’ up me wall and breakin’ into me house!”

    “Well, she does have a point.” The woman conceded.

    “Why are you even here?” Sonia asked the strangely dressed intruders.

    “Hm, oh, right.” The man cleared his throat. “We’re here for your Wishin’ Stars! We know you’ve got a stash hidden ‘round here somewhere.”

    “I don’t know what you would want with Wishing Stars but I’m not letting you have any.”

    “Perhaps ye be reconsidering.” The deep, raspy voice drew everyone’s attention to a Galarian Meowth standing between the two strangers, who flashed his claws menacingly.

    “Did-did that Meowth just talk?” Sonia gasped.

    “Ai, and there be a lot more I can do.” Meowth glared at her, scratching his beard with a metallic clink. “Which is why you should consider giving us what we want.”

    Leon cleared his throat. “Maybe we should take this outside?”

    The man swore. “Is that Leon? What’s he doin’ here?”

    “Not good.” The woman muttered. “We need ta get out of here.”

    “Cowards.” Meowth bared his claws, ready for a fight. “We can take him.”

    “You’re a steel-type, right?” Leon asked the inexplicably talking Pokémon. “You know my Charizard’s a fire-type?”

    “I suppose tha’ could be a problem.” Meowth growled.

    “Retreat?” The man asked.

    “Retreat.” Meowth nodded before all three turned around and sprinted back out of the garage.

    “Hey, get back here!” Professor Magnolia shouted after them. “You’re payin’ for this wall!”

    Leon ran after the mysterious trio, calling out his Charizard as soon as he was outside. The dragon-like Pokémon flew out ahead of them and blocked their path before the trio could escape. Ash, Hop and Sonia followed after the Galarian champion as they surrounded the leather-clad hooligans and their talking Meowth.

    “Weezing, Smokescreen!” The man pulled out a black Pokéball covered in green spots and sent out round purple Pokémon. The Poison-type emitted a thick cloud of dark green smoke that obscured the trio from sight.

    “Charizard, blow the smoke away!” Leon shouted and the orange Pokémon flapped his wings to create a powerful gust of wind.

    The smoke cleared to reveal that the trio had vanished. Only a deep hole in the ground remained.

    “They must have used Dig.” Leon pulled the brim of his cap over his eyes in frustration.

    “Should we go after them?” Hop asked.

    “Too dangerous.” Sonia sighed. “We don’t know which way they went and if we went in after them, we’d likely end up buried.”

    “That’s all right.” Professor Magnolia walked up behind Ash and Hop. “I doubt they’ll be showing up around here again anytime soon. Must have been quite the shock to run into the champion so unexpectedly.

    “But who were they?” Ash asked.

    “I don’t know for sure, but they looked familiar.” Leon looked contemplative for a moment before turning to his brother and Ash. “There’s something that I need to check on. I wish you luck on your challenges and I should be able to meet up with you again for the opening ceremony in Motostoke. See you then!”

    Leon waved goodbye to everyone as he hopped into his Charizard’s back and they took off.

    “Bye, I guess.” Hop muttered.

    “That boy’s always in such a hurry.” The professor shook her head disdainfully before turning to the two aspiring trainers and pulling out a pair of white armbands that resembled the one Leon had shown them earlier. “And I suppose you’ll be heading off now as well. You should take these first.”

    “You’re giving us Dynamax Bands?” Hop asked enthusiastically.

    “Of course!” The professor snapped back. “You don’t very well expect me to let you go out and take on the Gym challenge without being able to Dynamax, do you?”

    The two boys grabbed the bands from her and put them on.

    “I assume you two already know how to use these. All you have to do is tap the screen when the band’s gathered enough energy, then recall your Pokémon into their Pokéball and send them back out once it’s finished growing” Professor Magnolia explained.

    “Thank you.” Ash nodded slightly as he adjusted the band around his wrist.

    “Yeah, thanks a bunch.” Hop smiled.

    “Alright, that’s enough chitchat.” The professor replied. “You should be on your way if you want to get to Motostoke before the opening ceremony. You don’t want to miss registration and have to wait until next year, do you?”

    “No, definitely not.” Hop laughed. “Bye, Professor! Thanks again!”

    Ash nodded in silent agreement, noting that waiting a year before taking the challenge would actually give him a good opportunity to train and get used to Pokémon battling. Though he decided that it would be better not to wait since his opportunity to enter into the challenge was now.

    “Tata, you three.” The professor waved as the two boys turned to go, to Sonia’s confusion.

    “I think your eyesight’s starting to go, Gran.” The young woman remarked.

    “I was talking to you, too.” Professor Magnolia turned to her granddaughter.

    “What? But I’m not taking on the league again.”

    “And that’s the problem.” The professor’s face turned serious. “You’re not doing anything. I think it's about time you headed out and figured out what it is that you want to do with your life. Yamper agrees with me, don’t you boy?”

    The small yellow and brown dog barked happily in response to hearing its name, having not been paying attention to the conversation.

    “Fine.” Sonia shrugged. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get out for a bit.”

    * * *

    “Where’s Motostoke?” Ash asked Hop as the two boys walked back along Route 2.

    “It’s up north from here, around the middle of Galar.” The slightly older boy explained. “There are basically two ways to get there from here. We can either head back to Wedgehurst and take a train straight there, which will be the quick way.”

    “What’s the other way?”

    “We head there on foot through the Wild Area.”

    Ash may not have known much about the Galar region despite having lived there half his life by that point, but he did know what the Wild Area was. It was kind of hard not to, as the untamed wilderness stretched across at least half the island of Galar and was said to be filled with all kinds of wild Pokémon.

    “Well then, it seems obvious which way we should go.” Ash said.

    “Yep.” Hop nodded.

    “The Wild Area.”

    “The train.”

    The two boys stopped and stared at each other for a moment.

    “You want to hike all the way across the Wild Area to get there?” Hop asked, utterly confused by Ash’s seemingly irrational response.

    “Of course.” Ash, on the other hand, was more confused by Hop’s answer. “That way we can get some training done before we get there.”

    “Pika!” Pikachu nodded in agreement from his spot sitting atop Ash’s large leather bag. Having already lost two fights that morning and denied the chance of a third, he was looking forward to taking out his frustration on some unsuspecting Pokmon.

    “Oh, right. I guess you don’t really have much experience with Pokémon battling yet.” Hop realized. “Though I guess I don’t have that much of an advantage over you in that department. I’d still rather take the train than walk all the way to Motostoke, though.”

    “Then it sounds like you two are splitting up, then.”

    Ash and Hop both jumped, having not noticed Sonia walk up behind them.

    “What are you doing here?” Hop asked her.

    “Gran thinks that I need to get out.” She explained. “Not sure where I’m going yet, though. I’m thinking about heading out to Turffield to check out the old monuments and stuff they have out there. Might find out something interesting about Galar’s history, I guess.”

    “That sounds fun.”

    “What were you saying about splitting up?” Ash asked.

    “Well, if the two of you want to go different ways, then you should.” Sonia pointed out. “It’s not like you have to stick together. In fact, you probably shouldn’t, seeing as you’re technically rivals now and all.”

    Hop considered that for a moment. “I hadn’t thought about it that way. Yeah, I guess I’ll take the train and you can go through the Wild Area, then we can meet up again for the opening ceremony in Motostoke after we’ve both registered for the league.”

    “But I don’t know how to get there on my own.” Ash objected.

    “Your Rotom phone should have a GPS you can use.” Sonia pointed out. “Plus, it’s not exactly hard to find your way there, anyway. Just head directly north from here. In fact, you can kind of see the city wall from here.”

    Ash turned and followed Sonia’s gaze. Sure enough, he could just barely make out a dark shape along the horizon.

    “If worse comes to worst, then you can just call a Flying Taxi.” Sonia explained. “I’ll text you how to… actually, I don’t think I have your number. Either of yours.”

    The trio pulled out their phones and made sure that they had each other in their contacts, with Sonia also giving he two boys her grandmother’s number in case they needed it for anything and Hop giving Leon’s number to Ash.

    “Okay, yeah. I think that’s everything for now.” Sonia said as her phone flew back into her jacket pocket. “Text me if you need anything else.”

    “Alright.” Ash smiled and nodded. “See you later.”

    “Yeah, see you in Motostoke, rival.” Hop laughed.

    Ash chuckled as he turned back north while Hop and Sonia both continued on the way back to Wedgehurst.

    “Are you ready, Pikachu?” He asked his starter.

    “Pikachu!” The yellow rodent let out a few sparks from his red cheeks, causing the hair on the back of Ash’s head to rise up slightly.

    “Then we’re on our way!”

    The duo made their way off the beaten path over to the Wild Area. Or rather, Ash made his way while Pikachu rested comfortably from atop his bag. Ash wasn’t used to the wait on his back, both from his father’s old bag and the Pokémon sitting on it, but was steadily learning how to properly adjust to it. By the time he made his way out to the open expanse that was the Wild Area, he felt that it was no longer throwing off his balance. Just in time for him to trip over something.

    “Ouch!” Ash spat grass and dirt out of his mouth as he picked himself back up. “What was that?”

    “Pika pi!” Pikachu stumbled around in a daze nearby, having fallen head-first into the ground.

    Ash sat up and turned around, to see a small green and yellow lump on the ground, which seemed to be wriggling around. After a moment, Ash realized that it was a Pokémon. Realizing that this was a good opportunity, he decided that he wanted to catch it.

    “Pikachu, Thunder Shock!” Ash ordered, making sure to call out a move that his Pokémon actually had this time.

    Pikachu complied but didn’t know what he was supposed to be aiming at. As a result, the arc of electricity ended up striking Ash instead.

    “Not me.” Ash coughed, all of his hair now standing on end while his fingers and toes went temporarily numb. “That thing.”

    “Chu.” Pikachu scratched the back of his head in embarrassment before running up beside Ash and letting loose another blast of electricity, this time hitting what he was supposed to.

    The small green Pokémon writhed around before Ash pulled out an empty Pokéball tossed it at the worm-like Pokémon. There was a flash of red and the bug vanished into the ball before it hit the ground. The Pokéball shook feebly a few times as the button on its front lit up. It stopped after a moment and an audible clicking nose indicated that the capture was successful.

    “Yes!” Ash shouted as he picked up the red and white ball, his fingers stinging a bit as they wrapped around it. “We did it!”

    “Chaa!” Pikachu wasn’t entirely sure what was so exciting. He’d fired countless Caterpie in the past. Though he was glad to finally be able to knock something out again.

    “Now, let’s see what this is.”

    Ash pressed the button on the Pokéball to send out a very dazed-looking Caterpie next to Pikachu while pulling out his phone with his other hand. He opened up the Pokédex app that the professor had installed on it earlier and scrolled around the list of Pokémon.

    “Let’s see… looks like a Caterpie.” Ash looked at the information that the Pokédex had available. Average height and weight, where they were known to be found in Galar, not much interesting to him. “It says it’s a Bug-type that can release a horrible smell from its antenna and can climb walls. That’s about it.”

    “Pii!” Pikachu eyed the Caterpie’s red antenna warily, having had the misfortune of having caused other Caterpie to release their stench in the past.

    Ash exited out of the Pokédex and decided to check another app listed as Pokémon. He found icons for his Pikachu and Caterpie. He pressed the Caterpie icon and was rewarded with a list of more relevant information to what he wanted.

    “Ah, here we go.” Ash said as he looked over what it said. “Looks like it… or, um, he has the ability Shield Dust, which makes it so that he can block additional effects of attacks taken. Whatever that means. The stats it has listed here seem to be pretty low but I’m not sure what to compare them to. It says he had a Timid nature, though I don’t know what that means. Oh, and he knows how to use Tackle, String Shot and Bug Bite.”

    Pikachu stared up at the orange device in his trainer’s hand, wondering how that thing could possibly know all of that information. Then he realized that he didn’t know what most of that meant either. He knew that Caterpie were week, that they smelled, that they could shoot out a sticky web thing that was annoying to groom out of his fur, and that he had never been able to paralyze one with Thunder Shock before.

    “I wonder what it says about you.” Ash said as he switched over to looking up Pikachu. “Looks like you have Static, which can paralyze Pokémon that touch you.”

    “Pii.” Pikachu nodded. He wasn’t sure what an ability was or how the thing new he could do that but knew that he could store an electrical charge in his fur that would stun enemies that tried to hit him.

    “I still don’t have any frame of reference for what these stats mean, but you’ve got bigger numbers than Caterpie. You’ve got a Hardy nature, but I still don’t know what that means either. Oh, and you’ve got a lot more moves than Caterpie. It says you know Play Nice, Sweet Kiss, Nuzzle, Nasty Plot, Charm, Thunder Shock, Tail Whip, Growl, Quick Attack and Thunder Wave. We should probably get to work on figuring out what all of those are.”

    “Chu?” Pikachu was a bit lost. Tail Whip and Growl were easy, hit things with his tail and growl at things, obviously. Thunder Shock and Thunder Wave probably hitting things with the electricity he stored in his pouches, his primary method of attack, though he wasn’t sure what the difference between the two was. He wasn’t exactly sure what the others were, though, and he wasn’t sure that he even wanted to know what ‘Sweet Kiss’ was. Apparently, these were all human names for the things he could do.

    “I think for now we’ll just stick to practicing a few moves, then move onto others once we’re comfortable with them.” Ash told Pikachu. “Thunder Shock’s simple enough, you just hit the opponent with electricity like you’ve been doing. It says that Growl can make force opponents lower their attack while Tail Whip can cause them to drop their defense a bit. Those both sound helpful and easy enough. And it looks like Thunder Wave doesn’t really hurt the opponent but paralyze them if it hits. I think we’ll go with those four for now. How does that sound?”

    “Chaa!” Pikachu nodded. Zap things, growl at things, hit things with his tail. That was all simple enough. He even had some idea of how Thunder Wave worked, though if it was what he thought it was than he didn’t have much experience using it yet.

    “Catah.” Caterpie glanced nervously back and forth between Pikachu and Ash, having no idea what was going on.

    “Oh, right.” Ash smiled apologetically at his newly caught Pokémon. “I suppose I should introduce myself. My name’s Ash Ketchum, and this is Pikachu.”


    Ash held his hand out to Caterpie, not considering the fact that Caterpie wouldn’t be able to shake it even if he was familiar with the human custom. Caterpie stared at the strange appendage with apprehension. He couldn’t sense any further hostility from the boy or the Pikachu that had just attacked him, which made Caterpie both confused and a bit nervous. The boy seemed to be emanating warmth, the comforting kind rather than the fiery kind, which slowly but the green caterpillar at ease. Caterpie inched forward and began to rub his head again Ash’s hand.

    Ash gently picked up the Bug-type and cradled him in his arms while Pikachu ran up his leg and hopped back up to his spot atop Ash’s bag. Once they were ready, Ash began to make his way towards Motostoke again.

    * * *

    A lone young woman stood along the edge of Lake Axewell, a fishing rod grasped firmly in her hands. After several minutes of patient waiting, she felt a firm tug on the line. The woman quickly began reeling in her catch, only for whatever was at the other end to suddenly increase the force of pull by at least tenfold. The woman likely would have been thrown into the water if it were not for the teal turtle and giant isopod that both emerged from their Pokéballs and held their trainer back. With their combined strength, they were able to steadily pull in whatever she had caught. The trio were soon soaking wet as a result of the huge splash of water that erupted as a giant blue and white fish Pokémon surfaced. It was now clear to the woman why her catch had suddenly become so much stronger than it had started. She’d hooked a Wishiwashi. While small and almost pathetically week on their own, the Small Fry Pokémon was known to school together with others of its kind to form the massive leviathan before her. If she could catch the beast, it would certainly make a valuable addition to her team.

    The woman and her Pokémon continued to pull with all of their might but had reached a stalemate with the schooled Wishiwashi. For a long moment, it didn’t seem like they were going to be making any further progress in reeling in the fish Pokémon until there was a faint wet popping noise and suddenly all of the resistance from the other end of the line was suddenly gone. The woman and her Pokémon fell back as the mighty blue sea monster before them dissolved into thousands of tiny white and blue fish and the lone Wishiwashi that had been hooked now flew towards them at incredible speed.

    The tiny fish flew over the woman’s head and she turned to follow its path with her gaze just in time to see it strike a passing trainer directly in the face. The young boy was sent scrambling back, nearly dropping the Caterpie he had in his arms, and was knocked over the edge of a Pokémon Den. The woman sighed as the boy fell in and returned her Pokémon.

    “Of all the luck…” She muttered between gritted teeth as she ran past the Wishiwashi steadily flopping along the ground back into the lake and she jumped in after the boy. “Why today?”

    * * *

    Ash picked himself up off the cold cavern floor and held his aching head. Caterpie clung tightly onto his chest with its suction padded feet, while Pikachu wandered around nearby in a daze. One moment he had been watching another trainer trying to catch a massive fish Pokémon he had never seen before, the next he was tumbling down a steep rocky slope to… wherever he was now.

    “Okay, I think that’s it’s probably best that you stay in your Pokéball for now.” Ash said as he looked down at Caterpie, who nodded in agreement.

    As Ash recalled his Bug-type, he could hear something sliding down the slope he had fallen down just a moment before. He turned to see the woman from earlier making her way down to him.

    “Hey, kid! Are you alright?” The woman asked as she approached him.

    “I think I’m fine, just a bit dazed.” Ash replied.

    “Chuu.” Pikachu agreed as he ran back to his trainer.

    “Okay, good.” The woman nodded contently. “Sorry about what just happened.”

    “It’s fine. That was clearly an accident.”

    “Yeah, but still.” The woman shrugged, causing her long, dark blue hair to fall over her shoulders. “We should probably get out of here now. Den’s like this can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.”

    Ash was about to ask where they were but was distracted by a noise coming from his wrist. He looked down to find that his Dynamax Band had activated.

    “Cooor!” A loud call like thunder echoed through the underground cavern.

    “Oh, that’s not good.” The woman checked her own Dynamax Band, then turned to Ash. “You ever been in a raid before?”

    “No.” Ash replied hesitantly.

    “Well, then I guess there’s a first time for everything.” The woman sighed, pulling out one of the Dive Balls’ clipped around the waist of her shorts. “I’m Nessa, by the way.”

    “I’m Ash.” The young trainer said. “Ash Ketchum of Postwick.”

    “Well, Ash, I hope you’re ready for a battle because here comes our opponent.”

    Right on cue, a gigantic blue and black bird walked into sight. The corvid-like Pokémon strutted up to them, surrounded by a dark red aura as three clouds circled its head. Ash had seen Dynamaxed Pokémon countless times before on TV and streams, but that was nothing compared to the sheer presence they had in person.

    I feel like I managed to get quite a lot done in this chapter. Most prominently is the introduction of the Team Yell trio. I was originally going to have them actually be Jessie, James and (Gigantomax) Meowth but I think up a good explanation for why they would have ended up in Galar as members of Team Yell. So instead, I ended up creating these semi-new characters instead. Morgan and Henry are named after a famous pirate, Henry Morgan, like how Jessie and James are named after the notorious outlaw, Jesse James. And I gave their Meowth what's supposed to be a gruff pirate accent with a bit of viking thrown in for good measure.
    Interesting fact: the original idea for this story came to me largely because I realized that Nessa is really similar of Misty in a lot of ways (personality, fashion sense, and of course type specialty). As such, she'll be taking over Misty's role from the anime, more or less. There are definitely going to be differences, as already made apparent by the very different way she meets Ash here. No broken bikes, just people getting slapped with fishes.
    Tune in next time for Ash's first raid battle! (Even though there are only two trainers rather than four.)
  3. BZRich64

    BZRich64 The Mustachiod Machamp

    Level 38
    Jun 12, 2017
    “At least it’s just a Corvisquire and not a Corviknight.” Nessa said in mild relief as she stared up at the giant bird walking up to them. “I think we should be fine on our own.”

    “How exactly are we supposed to fight something this big?” Ash could feel his legs shake beneath him as his body couldn’t make up its mind on a fight or flight response. “I don’t think Pikachu’s strong enough to take on something that strong.”

    “Pika.” Pikachu didn’t like the insinuation that he wasn’t strong, but he couldn’t help to agree with Ash’s assessment.

    “Actually, your Pikachu should be the key to beating this thing.” Nessa replied. “Do you know how to use that thing?”

    Ash looked down at the Dynamax Band on his wrist that Nessa was pointing to. “I think so?”

    “Cor!” The giant Corvisquire cried out, clearly getting ready to attack.

    “Then hurry up and Dynamax!” Nessa shouted.

    “Right.” Ash grabbed the Cherish Ball clipped to his belt and held it up. “Sorry Pikachu, but you’re going to have to get back in here.”

    “Pi.” Pikachu nodded. He wasn’t keen on the idea but now was not the time to be questioning orders.

    A small beam of red light shot out of the Cherish Ball and absorbed Pikachu back into it. Ash then held the ball in his right hand and clicked the small black screen on the Dynamax Band. The Dynamax energy stored within it was released and wrapped itself around the rare Pokéball, coating it in a white and red shell as the ball suddenly began to grow in his hand. Ash had to use both arms to carry the now enormous Pokéball over his head to send Pikachu back out. The results were startling.

    Pikachu now towered over them at over 20 meters tall. Ash had been expecting that part. What he was not expecting was the sheer bulk added on to the yellow rodent, who looked like he had just come back from an all-you-can-eat buffet. Even more surprising was his tail, which looked like it had at least doubled in length compared to the rest of his body and was glowing white.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pikachu Gigantamax before.” Nessa noted after calling out her turtle-like Drednaw. “I didn’t even know they could.”

    Ash blinked. He knew what Gigantamax meant, of course. It was when certain Pokémon altered their form when they Dynamaxed, usually becoming stronger in the process. He had never expected Pikachu to be able to do that, however.

    “Cor!” The wild Corvisquire began flapping its wings, creating a massive funnel of wind that it aimed at Pikachu. The giant Electric-type took several steps back but was able to withstand the powerful gust of wind thanks to his newfound girth.

    “Right.” Ash snapped back to his senses. “Pikachu! Hit it with Thunder Shock!”

    Pikachu nodded to his trainer and turned to the opponent. He squatted down on all fours and tried to send out a bolt of electrical energy like normal. Things didn’t go quite as expected, however. Instead of launching the attack from his cheeks as normal, the electricity channeled through his tail and fired straight up. Rather than hitting the ceiling, however, a dark storm cloud formed around the attack and flew over to Corvisquire. The gigantic raven looked up at the cloud just in time to be struck by a bolt of lightning even larger than the one Pikachu had initially fired off. There was an explosion of electrical energy that forced both humans to back away and shield their eyes from the light. When the storm settled, Corvisquire was face-first in the ground. The blue and black corvid tried to pick itself back up, letting out a caw that sounded almost like a cough. Several giant rocks then formed above its head courtesy of Nessa’s Drednaw using Rock Tomb and slammed down into the big bird.

    “Cor!” Corvisquire let out one final crow before slumping into unconsciousness.

    “I’ll let you do the honors of catching it.” Nessa turned to Ash with a slight bow.

    “Um, okay.” Ash replied, still trying to process everything that just happened, and pulled out an empty Pokéball. He looked at the small Pokéball in his hand, then up at the giant Pokémon lying in front of him. “Um…”

    “You need to use your Dynamax Band again.” Nessa explained, understanding what must have been going through Ash’s head at the moment.

    “Right.” Ash pressed the small screen again and the empty Pokéball was engulfed in energy, growing as Pikachu’s Cherish Ball had done. With effort, he chucked the now-giant Pokéball at the downed bird.

    The Pokéball opened up and sucked the Corvisquire inside before closing again and landing on the ground with a loud thump, creating a small crater which it rested in. Just as Ash took a step forward, the ball rolled once in the crater. Then again. After the third shake, the Pokéball clicked and began to shrink down to its normal size. The Dynamax energy dispersed as Ash walked up to it and picked up the Pokéball.

    “Well, that was… different than I was expecting.” Ash said as he walked back to where Nessa and the still giant Pikachu were waiting, then looked up at his starter. “So how do I…”

    “Wait for it.” Nessa answered his unfinished question.

    After a moment, the red Dynamax energy surrounding Pikachu crackled and began to disperse as the Electric-type began to quickly shrink back down to normal.

    “Pikapi!” The once-again-small Pikachu yelled excitedly and ran up to Ash. “Pipika!”

    “We should get out of here now.” Nessa said. “Before something else shows up.”

    “Don’t need to tell me twice.” Ash agreed as Pikachu climbed back onto his backpack.

    * * *​

    Ash dusted himself off once he was safely above ground again. While certainly an interesting experience, Ash’s wasn’t sure that he would be wanting to venture into another Pokémon Den again for a while. Pikachu, on the other hand, seemed almost disappointed to be leaving. He had never felt so powerful before and couldn’t wait to experience it again.

    “So, where are you headed?” Nessa asked.

    “Oh, um… Motostoke.” It took Ash a moment to remember the name of the city.

    “What a coincidence, I’m actually on my way there myself. You going to watch the opening ceremony?”

    “Sort of.” Ash scratched the back of his head, somewhat embarrassed. “I’m actually going to be competing.”

    Nessa’s eyes widened, caught off-guard by that revelation. “Really? I thought, well… I kind of got the impression you were just starting out as a trainer. You know you need a sponsorship in order to enter, right?”

    “Yeah, I know.” Ash nodded. “I actually just got Pikachu here this morning, but I do have a sponsorship.”

    “Really?” Nessa was confused by the boy’s reply. “Who’s sponsoring you?”

    “Leon.” Ash answered excitedly, almost sounding like he was telling it to himself more than her.

    “Wait, Leon?” That was not what Nessa had expected to hear. She could see Milo trying to sponsor a new trainer, but Leon? What was he thinking?

    “I know, I can hardly believe it myself.” Ash smiled weakly. “I’m not sure that I’m ready for this yet but I don’t want to let him down.”

    Nessa glanced over at the city wall visible in the distance. “You know, if you don’t feel ready, then you should consider just not entering the league yet. I’m sure Leon would understand.”

    “I’ve been considering that.” Ash turned to the Pikachu resting on his shoulder. “But the more I think about it, the more I feel like I want to enter. I think it’ll be a good experience for me and Pikachu. We’ll do the best we can, learning and getting experience along the way, and building up our team. We may not make it to the end, but I don’t think part really matters at this point. They don’t stop you from re-entering the league, do they?”

    “That’s… actually pretty mature for your age.” Nessa replied. “And you can enter the league as many times as you want. Of course, if you were to enter every year and not get very far, it would be hard to get anyone to still sponsor you.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind.” Ash nodded. “You seem to know a lot about the league. Are you entering, too?”

    “Something like that.” Nessa smiled. “We should get going if we don’t want to be late.”

    * * *​

    Motostoke was one of the largest cities in the Galar region. Built during the height of the industrial revolution and situated between the two largest coal mines on the island, the entire city was powered by steam. To Ash and Pikachu, who had never set foot in a major city before, the sight was quite overwhelming. Nessa, on the other hand, was quite used to it.

    “Come on, the stadium is this way.” Nessa gestured for Ash to follow her when she realized that he had stopped to look around in awe.

    “Oh, right.” Ash snapped back to attention and hurried behind Nessa, who made her way to the north end of the city.

    It took a while for the two to reach their destination, mostly due to the heavy crowds gathered to watch the opening ceremony that Nessa and Ash were both trying to make their way to. They did eventually reach Motostoke Stadium, however, which proved to be everything that Ash had ever imagine.

    “Alright, just go inside and talk to the person at the front desk, they’ll get you set up.” Nessa explained.

    “Wait, aren’t you coming, too?” Ash asked.

    “No.” The young woman shook her head. “I’ve got other stuff to do. I’m sure you’ll see me again later. Goodbye and good luck.”

    With that, Nessa turned and hurried off, leaving Ash alone by the stadium entrance. A bit thrown off, Ash hesitantly walked up to the front doors, which opened automatically for him. Once inside, he strode across the room. Before Ash could reach the front desk, however, a familiar voice called to him.

    “Hey, Ash!” Hop waved, signaling Ash to come over. “I was wondering when you’d get here.”

    “Yeah, I got a little help up on my way.” Ash admitted. “How was your trip?”

    “Uneventful.” Hop sighed. “But I guess that was the point. I’ve pretty much just been waiting for you and Leon to get here.”

    “Wait, Leon isn’t here yet?”

    “No.” Hop shook his head. “With his sense of direction, Charizard could have dropped him off just outside the building and he’d still get lost. So, who knows when he’ll get here?”

    As if right on cue, the room suddenly fell silent as the sliding doors opened and a familiar figure walked in. Ash and Hop barely had time to register who it was before nearly everyone else there ran up to the Galar League Champion. It took a while for Leon to make his way through the crowd, greeting his fans and signing autographs along the way, and meet up with his younger brother and neighbor.

    “Sorry I’m late.” Leon smiled. “I had stuff that I needed to take care of. In fact, I only have a few minutes to spare right now, so can we make this quick?”

    “No problem.” Hop nodded and held up his registration form. “I’ve already filled most of this out, I just need your signature as my sponsor.”

    “I still need to get one of those.” Ash glanced at the form. “I’ll be back in a moment.”

    Ash turned and headed over to the front desk, as he had initially been planning. Fortunately, there wasn’t a line at the moment and he was able to go straight up to it.

    “You here to register for the Galar League?” The man behind the desk asked.

    “Yep.” Ash nodded.

    “Great, then I’ll just need you to fill out one of these forms and bring it back to me.” The man handed Ash a registration form and a pen with the Galar League logo on it. “You can keep the pen.”

    “Thanks.” Ash smiled before turning and heading back to Hop and Leon.

    It didn’t take long for Ash to fill out the form and hand it over to Leon to sign. With that done, Ash and Hop returned to the desk and handed the man their forms back.

    “Thank you.” The staff member glanced over both forms. “Everything seems to be in order and… wow, the Champ’s sponsoring both of you? You two must be something special. Anyway, the men’s locker room is back there, you’ll need to head back there to pick up your uniforms and await further instructions. Welcome to the Galar Pokémon League!”

    * * *​

    The roar of the crowd that filled the Motostoke Stadium was unlike anything Ash had ever heard before. He and the hundreds of other trainers waiting to walk out onto the field stood by watching a screen that showed the president of Macro Cosmos as he announced that the Galar Gym Challenge had officially begun before calling out the league’s eight Gym Leaders. Although only seven figures could be seen walking onto the green as the smoke that signaled their entrance cleared. The cameras zoomed in for a close up of each leader as they walked.

    Ash was an avid follower of Galar’s Pokémon battle scene and was sure that he knew of all of the league’s top trainers, including the gym leaders who all stood at the top of the competitive scene. That was why he was thrown for a loop as the cameras focused in on Gym Leader in particular. How could he have not noticed it earlier? She had even told him her name after they fought that raid battle together just an hour or two earlier. How, for the love of Arceus, had he not realized that the young woman who had helped him earlier was Nessa, Hulbury’s Gym Leader and Galar’s foremost expert on Water-type Pokémon, not to mention one of the regions top models. He even had a poster of her in his room, though he had never hung it up to avoid some potentially uncomfortable questions from his mom. Though in his defense, he had similar posters of all the gym leaders.

    “You alright, there?” A black-haired girl standing next to Ash asked him.

    “Hm? Oh, it’s nothing.” Ash replied Wooloo-ishly. “Just nerves.”

    “Don’t be nervous.” A blond boy standing in front of them turned his head. “It’s not like you’re going to make it past the first gym, anyway.”

    Before Ash had a chance to retort, chairman Rose called for the league challengers to enter the field and the league staff members standing ahead of them signaled for them to go. Almost in unison, the crowd of trainers both young and old made their way out onto the green. Ash hadn’t been lying when he said that his nerves were getting to him, and the loud volume of both the cheering crowd and the fanfare blaring over the stadium’s speakers along with the bright lights shining down on them certainly did not help matters. What followed was a blur that Ash could barely remember, yet it would be quite some time before he was able to forget.
    It's been far to long since my last chapter of this story and hopefully it won't be nearly as long until the next one. I actually wrote the first section of this chapter (the raid battle) right after finishing the last one, but then I left it alone for a couple months before finally getting back to it. And then it was another month or so until I wrote the part where Ash finally gets to Motostoke. And then I didn't get to the actual ceremony itself until today. Other than that, I don't think that I really have that much to say about this chapter.
    Also, disregard my earlier comments about the identities of the Team Yell trio. I haven't actually named the human members of the trio in-story yet and upon further consideration I think that I'm probably going to have them actually be Jessie and James after all.
    #3 Jun 13, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
    Flyg0n likes this.
  4. BZRich64

    BZRich64 The Mustachiod Machamp

    Level 38
    Jun 12, 2017
    After the ceremony concluded, most of the trainers quickly changed back to their normal clothes and headed out, either on their way to the first gym or to rest before heading out in the morning. Ash was one of the few stragglers still hanging out in the locker room, sitting on a bench with his face buried in his hands. Pikachu climbed up his trainer’s back and gave a slight jolt to check if he was alright but Ash barely responded to it.

    “Cheer up, mate! It’s not the end of the world.” Hop walked up to Ash while slipping his jacket back on.

    Ash glared up at Hop through bloodshot eyes. “How is it not?”

    “Look, there were a lot of people out there.” Hop tried to reassure his friend. “I doubt anyone even noticed. You probably weren’t even the only one to do it.”

    “It happened when the cameras were passing over me.” Ash pulled out his phone and showed Hop the footage. “They caught it in a closeup right when it happened, displayed on the big screen and everything. It’s already trending all over social media.”

    “So what if you threw-up in the middle of the opening ceremony? It’s not like you’re the first person to do that and you certainly won’t be the last. Everyone will have already forgotten about it in a day or two. Maybe a week, tops.”

    “But that’s not even the worst part,” Ash continued, checking his phone. “I’m already at the bottom of everyone’s prediction rankings for the league. No one even seems to think that I’m going to make it past Turffield. Turffield!”

    “Everyone loves a good under-Yamper story.” Hop picked up his bag and prepared to head out. “You just have to show everyone that they’re wrong, right?”

    “I suppose you’re right.” Ash sighed again and grabbed his father’s old leather-trimmed bag, sliding it over his back. Pikachu hopped up onto the bag as the two trainers finally left the locker room.

    The crowd of cheering fans gathered around the stadium lobby was already beginning to thin out, as most of the fan-favorite trainers had already left the building, but the room was still packed. The crowd was not what Ash wanted to deal with at that moment, and he tried not to make eye contact with anyone as he made his way out. He failed in this regard, however, as his gaze briefly rested on a brown-haired young woman with a Blipbug resting on her shoulder.

    “Give it your best, I’ll be rooting for you!” The woman smiled enthusiastically, which proved to be just what Ash needed to get a shred of his confidence back.

    Ash was able to hold his head up high again as he and Hop made their way down the street to the Budew Drop Inn. The hotel was much fancier than anywhere Ash had ever stayed before, with the foyer’s centerpiece especially standing out: a giant golden statue depicting a knight of some sort, holding a sword up to the sky with a shield in his other hand. The two trainers made a Combeeline up to the statue, finding that they only came up to the knight’s knees.

    “This thing’s huge!” Ash stared up at the statue in awe.

    “I know, right?” Hop agreed and checked the plaque next to it. “It says here that it’s supposed to be a legendary warrior that saved Galar long ago.”

    “That’s right!” Ash and Hop turned to see Sonia walking up behind them, a smile on her face. “Congratulations on officially entering the Gym Challenge. Leon and I wanted to… Oh, come on! He was right next to me the whole way over here!”

    “Never underestimate Lee’s ability to get lost,” Hop chuckled. “You’d be amazed how often I’ve seen him forget how to get to his own bedroom.”

    “Anyway, I’ve actually decided to start researching the old legends of Galar, which is part of why I stopped by here,” Sonia turned her focus back to the golden statue. “There are a lot of legends surrounding an event in Galar’s past called the Darkest Day, though I’ve been having a spot of trouble trying finding out much about it so far, so I’ve decided to start visiting location around the region connected to the old legends to try and find out more about what may have happened.”

    “That sounds neat,” Ash replied. “What’s that have to do with this, though?”

    “Oh, right, I guess I should explain,” Sonia shook her head and pulled an old book out of her bag, quickly opening it up to a Boltund-eared page and clearing her throat. “Long ago in the age of magic, a terrible storm of dark clouds and red lightning engulfed Galar, leaving no land untouched. In this age, which would become known as the Darkest Day, wild and ferocious Pokémon grew into giants and ravished the land with their might. Chaos reigned across the island and all hope seemed lost, until a mighty hero stepped forth from the shadows, armed with the Fairy King’s Sword and the Fighting Master’s Shield, using them to pierce the heavens and quell the storm, bringing light and peace back to Galar. When the people saw what they had done, they rejoiced and declared that this hero would be their king. The hero was hesitant at first, but accepted their offer, ruling as the first King of Galar until one day, knowing that he would soon depart from this world, he traveled south to the Slumbering Weald for his final rest.”

    “Wow, I don’t think that I’ve heard that story,” Hop noted.

    “It’s a pretty old legend and there are a lot of different versions of it,” Sonia slipped the book back into her bag. “Some versions have two brothers instead of the single hero and I think this one is the only version to mention the Slumbering Weald at all, likely because it’s a version that was written in Wedgehurst around 1400 years ago. The only consistent par that I know of, other than the occurrence of the Darkest Day, seems to be the bit about a Fairy’s Sword and Fighter’s Shield. I’m not quite sure what their significance is but I’m hoping to find some clues once I start exploring some of the areas connected to the old legends.”

    “Yeah, it’ll be interesting to learn more about-”

    “What d’ya mean you don’t have room!” A sudden shout from the other end of the lobby cut Hop off, and the three went over to see what was going on.

    “I’m sorry sure, but all of our rooms have already been booked for the night for trainers taking the Gym challenge.” A clerk behind the front desk calmly tried to explain to a rowdy looking bunch in oddly familiar torn-up black and pink clothes.

    “Hey, those guys’re dressed like the hooligans that broke into Gran’s,” Sonia whispered to Ash and Hop.

    “There’re a lot more of them, though,” Hop noted, counting at least a dozen people in the crowd. “And that talking Meowth doesn’t appear to be with them.”

    “Well, then where are we s'posed to stay?” One of the hooligans yelled at the clerk.

    “There are other hotels in the city, I’m sure that one of them must have room,” the clerk told them.

    “But we don’t want to stay somewhere else!” Another one argued. “We want to be right here so that we can cheer on our girl!”

    “Yeah, how do you expect us to show our support for ‘er ifn we ain’t even ‘ere?” Another shouted as the whole group started to look even more hostile than they were already.

    “Oi, you lot!” Everyone’s attention turned to a black-haired girl in a leather jacket several sizes too large for her lithe build, who had just walked out of one of the elevators. Ash recognized the girl who had been standing next to him during the ceremony. The girl whose shoes he had proceeded to throw up on. “What’re you doin’?”

    “Marnie!” Several members of the group identified the girl.

    “Get out’a here, ye’re makin’ a scene.” Marnie made a shushing motion as she spoke.

    “But Marnie, we’re here to cheer you on,” one guy tried to explain.

    “Nah, I already told you lot I don’t need you hangin’ around,” Marnie dismissed his comment. “Jus’ go home, already.”

    “But, Marnie…” another one whined.

    “I said get!” Marnie pointed towards the door, and the rowdy group begrudgingly left. She then turned to the clerk. “Sorry about them makin’ a ruckus. I keep telling ‘em not ta bother people but they jus’ never listen.”

    “It’s no trouble at all,” the man smiled. “Truth be told, we usually get people like them making a scene this time of year. A lot of fans get really excited when the Gym Challenge starts up and want to cheer on their favorite trainers.”

    “Wow, you must really be something if you already have so many fans!” Hop made his way into the conversation. “My name’s Hop.”

    “Nah, not really. They’re just folk’s from mah home town,” Marnie explained. “And mah name’s Marnie, but you probably already heard ‘em yellin’ it out before.”

    “You should probably try an’ make sure you keep yer fans more under control,” Sonia told her. “A couple of people dressed like them just broke into me Gran’s house earlier.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry tah ‘ear that,” Marnie apologized. “Doesn’t really sound like somethin’ they’d do, but ah’ll try talking to ‘em about that when ah see’m again later. They di’nae take anything, did they?”

    “Nah, we managed to fight ‘em off before they caused too much trouble,” Sonia told her.

    “Hey, wait, you’re that boy from earlier, ain'tcha?” Marnie turned her attention to Ash, who had been slowly backing away, hoping not to be noticed.

    “Oh, hi,” Ash said awkwardly, walking up to the others now that he could no longer avoid this uncomfortable confrontation. “I’m Ash and, uh, sorry about that…”

    “Pika?” Pikachu looked back and forth between Ash and Marnie, confused about what he was talking about.

    “Nah, it was nothin’,” Marnie replied, to Ash’s surprise. “Not like ah’ve never ‘ad that ‘appen before.”

    “Peko morpek!” A small rodent-like Pokémon with yellow fur covered in large brown and black splotches popped up from behind Marnie’s shoulder and started tugging on her ear.

    “Yeah, yeah, ah know,” Marnie seemed exasperated by her Pokémon’s behavior and turned her attention back to the others. “Sorry, but ah promised mah Morpeko that we’d have dinner soon, and she can get right angry when she hungry, so I’d rather not keep ‘er waitin’. See yah later.”

    “I should probably be going, too. Who knows where Leon’s managed to end up this time.” Sonia said once Marnie was gone. “I’m headed to Turffield next, which is also where the first Gym is, so we’ll probably run into each other again there.”

    “Alright, see you then,” Hop waved as she turned to go.

    “It was nice talking to you,” Ash added.

    “Well, then,” Hop turned to Ash. “I guess all that’s left is to check-in. We should have rooms reserved for us tonight since we’re taking on the challenge.”

    “Yeah, I remember being told something about that earlier,” Ash nodded. “It’s still weird to think that we’re actually doing this, though. It feels like just yesterday I wasn’t even a Pokémon trainer and now here we are.”

    “Yeah, funny how quickly life can change,” Hop laughed. “Well, I’m going to find my room. See you in the morning.”

    “Alright, see you,” Ash waved as his friend left, before turning back to the lobby. He wasn’t quite ready to head up yet, so he decided to take the opportunity to look around Motostoke. The industrial city was unlike anything that Ash had ever seen before and he wanted to explore while he had the chance.

    After wandering through the bustling streets, Ash headed back the way he had come with Nessa that morning so that he could check out the shops that they had quickly passed by earlier. To Ash, it felt like they must have had carried everything imaginable there. Gardening stores, book stores, restaurants, clothing stores, salons and even a couple of vintage record stores were just a few of the businesses Ash passed by while walking through the lower streets of the city. Though the place that really caught Ash’s attention was the large open park that one of the sideroads ended up leading out to.

    Ash took off his back and placed it beside a bench overlooking the waterway surrounding the city before taking a seat and admiring the view. He noticed that a few other people in the park had their Pokémon out, so he decided to do the same, letting Caterpie and Corvisquire out of their Pokéballs while Pikachu took a seat next to Ash. The small worm caterpillar Pokémon crawled up Ash’s leg to rest on his lap, while the latest addition to Ash’s team circled overhead before settling on a perch that had been set up next to the bench. It occurred to him that he still hadn’t gotten around to checking out the raven Pokémon’s stats, so he pulled out his phone and opened up to the trainer app so he could look them up.

    “Here we go,” the young trainer muttered to himself. “Let’s see, I still don’t know what to compare these stats to but they look fairly balanced. Looks like he has the ability Big Pecks and an adamant nature. Someday I should look up what those things mean. And his moves are… that’s strange.”

    “What’s strange?”

    “A bunch of these moves are greyed out for some reason but I don’t know why,” Ash explained.

    “Oh, they got that updated fast. Now that you’ve signed up for the Gym Challenge, you’re restricted to following official league regulations. That means that your Pokémon are restricted to only being able to use four moves at a time, which are the ones displayed normally. If you want to change which ones they’re allowed to use, you can do that by talking to a league official stationed at any Pokémon Center.”

    “Oh, thanks. I didn’t… wait,” Ash turned to see who he had just been talking to, to see Nessa looking over his shoulder. “How long have you been standing there?”

    Nessa shrugged. “Not long. I was just going to let my Pokémon take a swim before we head back to Hulbury when I noticed you sitting over here and thought I’d say hey.”

    “Oh, well, hi,” Ash said awkwardly. “Thank you for your help this morning, and for just now. I’m sorry that I didn’t realize who you were earlier.”

    “Nah, that’s fine. It’s nice to just be treated like a normal trainer every once in a while. It’s not easy being both a Major League Gym Leaders and one of Galar’s top models.” She said the last part with a bit of extra flourish and struck a dramatic pose, drawing attention from some of the other people in the park, before laughing and returning to her normal posture. “So it looks like you’ve garnered quite a bit of attention to yourself already among the new trainers.”

    “Please don’t remind me,” Ash stared down at his Caterpie, who was napping quietly on his lap. “I just wish I could go back and make it so that never happened.”

    “Well, don’t,” Nessa shook her head. “It may not be the most conventional method, but a lot of trainers struggle with making themselves stand out among the crowd. What happened may seem embarrassing now but in the long run, you can make it work for you as the first step towards making yourself a household name. Making yourself known is an essential part of being a competitive Pokémon trainer that many tend to overlook these days. You don’t think that I was able to get to where I am today by burying my head every time something embarrassing happened, do you?”

    “I guess not,” Ash relented. “But is this really a good way to start out?”

    “It doesn’t matter if it was good or not,” Nessa tried to explain. “What matters is that it’s what happened and unless you somehow manage to get your hands on a Celebi or something, you can’t change that fact. So you just need to accept that and move on.”

    “I guess,” Ash sighed as a Pelipper swooped down and perched beside Corvisquire. Ash’s bird didn’t care for the added company and started squawking at the new arrival. When the Pelipper didn’t move, Corvisquire started pecking at the larger bird’s wings. “Hey, calm down!”

    Corvisquire was reluctant to follow the order but stopped harassing its new neighbor nonetheless. Though, not without leering at his trainer for a moment.

    “Is that the same Corvisquire that we fought this morning?” Nessa asked nonchalantly.

    “Yep,” Ash nodded. “This is the first chance I’ve had to let him out since then.”

    “Nice, I’m sure that he’ll make a solid member of your team.” Nessa paused for a moment before remembering something. “Hey, have you had your League Card made yet?”

    “No,” Ash was thrown off a bit by the sudden question. “I thought only professional Pokémon trainers got those.”

    “You are a professional Pokémon trainer now,” Nessa pointed out. “And you should get your first card made as soon as you can. They’re a big part of letting you get yourself out there, not to mention how valuable they can be in the collectors market when you make it big. You should see how much my early cards can go for these days. In fact, let’s go get your card made right now.”

    Nessa motioned for Ash to follow her as she began to walk off. Ash quickly recalled his Caterpie and Corviknight to their Pokéballs and threw his bag back over his shoulders before following her, Pikachu running along at his side. They didn’t go far before they reached the nearest Pokémon Center and Nessa headed inside. When Ash caught up and entered the building himself, he found her waiting in front of a computer terminal set up next to the front desk.

    “This is a Rotomi,” Nessa explained as Ash walked up beside her. “They have one in every Pokémon Center so that trainers can use them whenever they need. They offer several different services but for now, we just want the Card Maker.”

    Nessa opened up the program in question and motioned for Ash to take over. He stepped in front of the computer to find it was asking for his trainer information, which he entered in. Once he had filled everything out, the image of a trainer card popped up on the screen, showing a picture of Ash that the league staff had taken during his registration on one side, with his trainer stats on the other. Nessa then reached over his shoulder and pressed the print button. A moment later, a deck of cards popped out of the machine.

    “Not bad,” Nessa picked up the top card and examined it closely. “You’re definitely going to get a more professional photo taken at some point but the stock photo look is something of a tradition for a trainer’s first card.”

    Ash picked up the rest of the cards and flipped through the identical set. “What am I supposed to do with all of these?”

    “Give them to the trainers you face in battle, sign them and hand them out to your fans, whatever you want.” Nessa pocketed the card she had been looking over. “You could even throw most of them away if you wanted, though I wouldn’t recommend that. These things could be worth some serious money one day if you make it big.”

    “That’s a pretty big if.” Ash placed the deck of Trainer cards into his jacket’s inside pocket.

    “Stop doing that,” Nessa snapped.

    “Stop what?” Ash asked defensively.

    “Stop talking yourself down. You’re going to great as long as you don’t set yourself up for failure by acting as if you’ve already lost.” Nessa glanced down at her watch, then quickly looked back up at Ash. “Oh, shoot. I’ve got to go. Good luck on your Gym Challenge and I’ll see you when you get to Hulbury.”

    With that abrupt end to the conversation, Nessa bolted out the door in a hurry to get to whatever she had planned. Ash lingered in front of the Rotomi for a moment, mulling things over in his head. He pulled one of his trainer cards back out and looked it over again.

    “What do you think, Pikachu?”

    “Pikapi!” Pikachu climbed over to Ash’s shoulder and examined the card. He had no idea what he was looking at but could tell that it was important, so he tried to sound encouraging.

    “Yeah, I guess it is kind of neat,” Ash agreed to what he imagined his partner said. “I really am a trainer now, aren’t I? It still just feels so weird.”

    Ash put the card away again and headed outside. It still wasn’t particularly late yet but Ash was starting to feel fatigued from everything that had happened that day, so he decided to head back to the hotel for now. He was going to want all of the rest he could get for now. Because in the morning, he would be setting out on his way to Turffield for his first Gym Battle. It was there that his journey would truly begin.
    This chapter took way too long to get through but I've finally finished it. I think I'm going to take a bit of a break from this story to focus on other things for a while. Thought with luck, 'a bit of a break' won't be as much time as it took for me to get this chapter done. I've been suffering from the biggest bout of writer's block that I've ever had this year, but I seem to finally be getting it over with. Unfortunately, I now find myself bouncing back and forth between a ton of different projects that probably aren't going to go anywhere, so I need to try and get back to focusing on just a few things that I'll actually be able to get done.
  5. Flyg0n

    Flyg0n PKMN Breeder

    Level 33
    May 2, 2016
    I already commented/reviewed elsewhere but I just want to say that I'm really happy you continued writing this and pushed past that writer's block.

    Also!!! I really really loved all the Pokémon euphemism thingies so much. A 'combeeline'. Pure gold!
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