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Creative Writing Share your fan fiction, stories, poems, essays, editorials, song lyrics, or any other related written work. All written must be your creation. Start a new thread, and keep replying to that thread as you add on more chapters. Anyone can join in at anytime.


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  #16  
Old 09-06-2006, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Thanks for the replies! I never expected anybody to notice the existence of this thread now. o.o

The reason you didn't recognize the last Pokémon mentioned in the prologue is that it's made-up. You will get more details of what it is later on; I'm toying with what I'm going to do with it exactly.

Anyway, I've been a little stuck on this version recently, but I just got a little inspired, so maybe I'll get on with it soon. Thanks again for reading.
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  #17  
Old 09-06-2006, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Oh wait, is it the spikey cat at the bottom of your sprite page at Cave of Dragonflies? BTW, your site rocks too.
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2006, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Yes, it's that one.
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2006, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

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Yes, it's that one.
ok. Cool. *waits eagerly for more of the fic*
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Okay, chapter five. I actually intended it to cover a great deal more, but it was already this long before the main point of the chapter would even begin, so I figured I should just end the chapter there. Enjoy.


Chapter 5: The Pokédex

The door to the Pokémon Center was flung open with a shrill ringing of bells.

Mark found himself entering a large room with red sofas scattered around it in what seemed like a random manner. Each sofa lay in a curved shape, like the architect had been afraid of straight lines. He looked curiously around; he had never imagined Pokémon Centers to look anything like this. Most of the ones he had seen in movies had a very different interior design.

Realizing suddenly that just about every person in the whole Pokémon Center was looking at him and listening to his panting, Mark tried to look normal, took a deep breath and walked a few steps on the pink, furry carpet that covered the floor. Then he heard a weak knock on the door, smacked his forehead and opened it again to let Charmander inside. A couple of people snickered and Mark felt decidedly like fading out of existence, but he tried to pretend he didn’t notice and walked towards the desk. A door was opening just behind it and a red-haired nurse (who at least looked exactly like every Nurse Joy he had ever seen pictures of) stepped behind the counter and smiled at him.

“I – I found this Eevee,” Mark said to her as he reached the desk. He laid the unconscious Pokémon gently down on the desk and the nurse picked it up. She lifted its tail briefly.

“Where did you find him?” she asked, running a finger through the blood-matted fur on the Eevee’s forehead and frowning slightly.

“On – on the road to Sailance,” Mark replied nervously. “He was like this… I mean, I didn’t knock him out or anything, if you thought…”

The nurse smiled a little as she held the Pokémon slightly away from her, like she was trying to get a better overall image of it. “I didn’t think so. You didn’t seem like the type.”

Mark stared at her with a dumbfounded expression, somehow feeling a little bit more guilty now for having seriously considered throwing a Pokéball at the poor thing. She didn’t notice it as she was picking up something small and red about the size and shape of a cigarette lighter from a drawer on the desk while holding the Eevee on her other arm. The nurse pointed the tool at Eevee and pressed a button, causing it to produce a small beep.

“Oh, hm, he should be fine,” she said professionally, reading off the tool and slipping it back into the drawer. “He’s young, though. Poor thing should probably still be in a nice, warm den with his mother, not wandering somewhere on the road to Sailance and getting beaten up by wild Pokémon.”

Mark’s heart sank for some reason.

“You should let me keep him at least overnight,” the nurse finished, laying Eevee gently down on the table again.

“Well,” Mark said painfully, “it’s not like I have any authority over what you do with him.”

She smiled in an understanding manner. “That’s true. But you brought him here after all.”

“Well, good night.” Mark shrugged and turned to sit down in a nearby sofa. Only then did he suddenly notice Charmander standing on the floor in front of him.

His heart sank again.

“I’m sorry, Charmander, I was just…” What had he been thinking, anyway? Where had his common sense gone off to when he found Eevee? How could he have suddenly forgotten about his first Pokémon’s existence? He mentally hit himself a few times with a baseball bat.

Charmander sighed. “You’re making me realize how stupid it was of me to volunteer as a starter in the first place.”

Mark looked down at the floor. “I… I… you’re not going to leave me, are you?” he asked nervously. “I promise it won’t happen again. I mean it.”

The lizard smiled. “It’s an annoying job, but hey, I did take it after all. It was stressed in our lecture that kids are always a little inconsiderate towards their Pokémon when they start out, and we shouldn’t give up on them unless we really don’t see any hope for them.”

The lizard patted Mark’s knee. “So don’t worry, I’ll make a man out of you.” They both snickered.

“Thanks, Charmander.”

“So anyway… what was with that Eevee?”

Mark explained the whole story, all the way from when he first saw what made him think of a furry handbag and until he threw the Pokéball away. He was realizing better and better by the minute how stupid he had suddenly become when he saw the Eevee.

“But yeah,” he finished, “it seemed such a weird coincidence that there happened to be a Pokéball exactly there. People don’t exactly drop empty Pokéballs often, do they? And trainers almost never come to Route 201 at all. I don’t get it.”

Charmander nodded thoughtfully. “Well, it may not have been as much of a coincidence as you think,” he said. “Because you know when that girl threw my Pokéball away and ran off? That was just about there.”

Mark stared at Charmander in astonishment. “So you’re saying… that was your Pokéball?”

Charmander shrugged. “Well, yeah, most likely. As you said, there aren’t a lot of trainers up there generally, and they certainly aren’t dropping their Pokéballs all over.”

“But then…”

“Yeah, you won’t be able to put me in any other Pokéball, unless you go and get this one.”

There was a short silence. Mark didn’t feel like going out into that rain again at all.

“Let’s talk to Joy,” he just said, turning back to the nurse’s desk. She had clearly carried Eevee off and returned, as the little Pokémon was nowhere to be seen.

“Er… I accidentally dropped my Charmander’s Pokéball out in the rain,” Mark began lying. “I was in a hurry to get Eevee over here, so…”

“It didn’t open, did it?” the nurse interrupted.

Mark blinked. “Well, yeah, it did.”

“Then I’m afraid there is nothing you can do about it now. The water will have damaged its inner mechanics already.”

“Oh.” Mark couldn’t think of anything else to say; he wasn’t sure how that fact had slipped his mind. “So I just have to go buy a new Pokéball now?”

“When Pokéballs are destroyed,” Nurse Joy explained in a manner that made Mark suspect she had made that speech many times before, “the League keeps the Pokémon registered as caught in their database for three days afterwards. This is done mostly to act as a certain countermeasure against theft by preventing thieves from releasing Pokémon, destroying their Pokéballs immediately and then catching them in another ball to make them appear legally theirs before the real trainer can report the theft. Therefore he won’t be able to be caught in another ball until seventy-two hours after the League HQ stops receiving signals from his old ball. Until then, he will have to walk or be carried.” She smiled kindly.

“Oh… thanks.” Mark turned around. He knew he was supposed to know all that, but this had of course been taught in Battling with Mrs. Grodski. Stupid teacher.

“Heard that?” he asked Charmander.

“Yeah,” the Pokémon replied. “Well, all the more fun for us, right?”

Mark smiled. “Definitely.”

There was a few seconds’ silence.

“So… what now?” Charmander finally asked.

Mark shrugged. “Let’s find out where we can stay for the night, I guess.”
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  #21  
Old 09-16-2006, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

-------

In Cleanwater City, Nurse Joy told him, the Pokémon Center did not offer accommodation as it did in many other cities due to the amount of demand for the Pokémon Center alone. However, a basic hotel existed a couple of blocks away, and all one needed in order to receive a major trainer discount was to pay using a Pokédex.

That, of course, reminded Mark that he had to get himself a Pokédex for that money in his pocket.

He walked with Charmander over to the Pokémon Market next door (the rain was not as bad as it had been, so they did not get too wet) and looked down the many aisles. One with shelves of spray bottles containing healing potions; one with piles of Pokéballs of various shapes, sizes and colors; one with rows upon rows of shiny CD cases containing elusive TM moves… Mark felt dizzy looking at it all. Finally he saw a sign marking the rightmost aisle as “Trainer Equipment”, and hurried over with the lizard at his heels.

This department was not very popular at the moment compared to the rest of the Pokémart (which was sensible, Mark figured; the majority of Ouenian trainers received a starter at the Pokémon Festival in Green Town, which was not until near the end of the month). Aside from Mark and one tall, lanky guy looking at the selection of Pokédexes, the aisle was completely deserted.

Mark began to browse through the different available Pokédex colors, but stopped dead when he noticed what tall young man beside him was holding in his hand.

It was a Pokédex unlike all the simple, differently-colored versions of the same model that lined the shelves. It was small and colored in a smooth black, and from the looks of it, it had two flaps that needed to be opened to unfold it rather than one.

But what was making him stare open-mouthed at it was the white, curved, artistic outline on the surface, showing a shape that caught Mark’s immediate attention.

It was his favorite Pokémon of all, Lugia.

And he wanted that Pokédex.

He suddenly noticed that the man was watching him. He was probably a little over twenty, very pale-faced, with dark hair and the shadow of a beard.

“Like it?” the man asked with a smile, holding up the Pokédex so Mark could see it a little better. “It’s limited edition. A couple of years old, but some of the finest technology that existed when it was made. The Lugia image was made by that artist – the name escapes me at the moment – who illustrated Balance of Power. Too bad it’s a little outdated.”

Mark nodded. Balance of Power was a book he owned about the legendary Pokémon of Hoenn; he had recognized the artistic style right away.

“Would you sell it to me?” he blurted out. “I’ve got… I’ve got…” He rummaged through his pockets to see if he had any money of his own, but found only the money his mother had given to him. He counted it quickly. “3000 Pokédollars.”

The man laughed. “My goodness, you seem enthusiastic! Well, to be honest, I was just going to trade it in for a new one. As I said, it is outdated.”

“Who cares?” Mark answered, still staring at the device. “Can you please sell it to me?”

He laughed again. “Well, kiddo, you know what? I like seeing kids with a bit of a flare in them. You can have it – no, really, take it. I’ve got plenty of money anyway, and because it’s outdated it’s more of a collector’s item – you might need your money to buy a new one. I already deleted my user info from it. All I want in return is you pick me a new Pokédex out of this shelf. All the available colors are giving me a hard time.”

Mark stared at him in astonishment as the man handed the Pokédex to him. A voice in his head wanted to be humble and refuse the gift, but another voice silenced it; he was not too keen on risking the guy changing his mind. He took the device and admired it from all angles before putting it carefully into his pocket.

“Wow, thanks… I…” he began, but gave up and restarted the sentence. “You’re the best, you know that?”

The guy gave another hearty laugh. “We’ll see about that. Now pick a Pokédex for me.”

Mark would perhaps ordinarily have been inclined to point at a random one in excitement and then go, but for some reason he couldn’t help taking his end of the deal very seriously. He walked thoughtfully past all the Pokédexes a couple of times, picked some of them up and unfolded them to get a better look, and finally picked one that was sapphire blue with red decorations and a white inside.

“Kyogre edition,” the man said, nodding thoughtfully. “Good choice. Thank you.”

He smiled; Mark smiled back from ear to ear.

“Good luck on your journey,” the man then said before turning around. “Don’t forget to buy yourself a Pokéball belt – I forgot when I first started out.”

“Thanks,” Mark replied, and in a few seconds the man had disappeared towards the counter.

Mark blinked a few times and then picked up his new Pokédex again as if to make sure it was really there. He unfolded it and turned it on, just to see exactly how outdated it was.

It first prompted him to hold the scanner up to his eye in order to identify his iris. He did as the device instructed, vaguely remembering that this was always the first step of getting a Pokédex, and removed it from his eye when a beep indicated that he had been successfully identified.

The screen now contained information about him, including his full name, parents, an old, horrible school photo, his grades in Pokémon-related subjects and a brief physical description. Pressing the ‘OK’ button on the touch-sensitive screen brought up a short-lived ‘Saving…’ message before it switched to a neat main menu with various options and his ID number in the corner: 0439522166.

He browsed the features loosely for a little while, and couldn’t find anything too drastically outdated about it: the Pokédex data itself was updated automatically and wirelessly from the Pokémon League databases whenever it changed, the graphic quality was perhaps a little worse than in new Pokédexes but not by much, and most of the features he missed from the Pokédex handling demos they had been given at school were rather trivial stuff anyway, such as demo videos of Pokémon executing attacks. There were even special features in this one which weren’t in the newer ones, like how instead of a still image, each Pokémon’s Pokédex entry showed a cool rotating 3D model of the Pokémon. It even had relatively newly-added features, such as the automatic electronic payment. Why the man had wanted to trade it in for a new one was beyond him – it could certainly satisfy the needs of a modern trainer unless he had overlooked something.

Charmander poked his leg. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. I’m getting hungry. Why don’t you get yourself a Pokéball belt and then we can go to the hotel and get ourselves something to eat?”

Mark started. “Oh, right.” He turned the Pokédex off and folded it together, admiring the Lugia artwork for the last time before putting it into his pocket. He turned towards the Pokéball belts of all kinds that hung on pegs on the opposite wall.

“Let’s see,” Mark muttered as he looked through the belts. “Damn, most of these have some bizarre additional functions.” He read aloud to Charmander off the product tag on one of them: “‘Biker Belt – complete with built-in bicycle pump.’ What the hell?”

Charmander snickered. “There’s got to be a normal one there somewhere.”

Mark finally found one ordinary kind of brown belt: a Pokédex and six minimized Pokéballs (which came free with the belt) could be attached to it, and that was it. Satisfied, he walked with it over to the reception counter to pay, poking into a couple of aisles on the way to stock up on potions and other essentials with some advice from Charmander. He felt so weird to be buying that stuff; he had been to this Pokémart before, but that was just in a class trip they had taken in Battling (twice, in fact, since he had had to repeat that course) and he still remembered the awful feeling of watching all those kids just his age looking thoughtfully at the price tags of various potions or asking their starter Pokémon which brand of Pokéfood they liked best. Now he was the one buying trainer items, and it was the little kid over there looking at him with envy.

He finally got to the counter, held his Pokédex and the items he was buying up to a scanner and waited a couple of seconds for a beep to indicate a successful transmission between bank accounts. No paper money, no trouble. Over the last twenty years or so, Pokédexes had gradually taken over the functions of all the various gadgets that trainers had previously had to use in addition to the Pokédex itself, but it was only very recently that this process had been completed with the abolition of trainer cards, which had previously had the role of identification and debit cards for trainers. Now the Pokédex was just a mega-gadget, bringing together all the tools a trainer needed.

After exiting the shop and stepping out into the cool evening air, Mark minimized all the items he had bought and stuffed them into his bag, and then – intentionally last – he took his new Pokéball belt and buckled it around his waist before moving his Lugia Pokédex out of his pocket and into the Pokédex holder on his belt.

It was then, at that moment, when it suddenly sunk in that it was really happening: he was a trainer. A real Pokémon trainer who would collect badges and compete in the League. He shouted in joy for the heck of it. Nothing could stop him now. Nothing. They would fight. They would win. They would conquer.

“All right, Charmander,” he said with a grin. “Let’s go.”
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  #22  
Old 09-16-2006, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Wow, he sure sounds excited, doesn't he? Great new installment, and I'm eagerly awaiting more. ^^
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  #23  
Old 09-17-2006, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Yay! Everything turned out ok with the eevee! The pokedex is cool. As I said before, an excellent fic.
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Old 09-23-2006, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Wow, that is the best Fan Fic I have ever read. Seriously... That kept me hooked the whole time... Definatly keep up the good work!
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

OMG THIS IS SO ADDICTING IT GETS BETTER AND BETTER! I HOPE MARK CATCHES MORE POKEMON!(Haven't read too far yet)
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draconic_Espeon View Post
Wow. You've really done a great job. The characters are diverse and realistic, the decription is wonderful, and your writing style is great. You seem to be taking the storyline just fast enough to keep your reader hooked, but not so fast that we can't understand what's going on, or that the story seems rushed. You're a great writer, and I definitely can't wait to see more of this.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

yeah I love that
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:26 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaxPalkia View Post
OMG THIS IS SO ADDICTING IT GETS BETTER AND BETTER! I HOPE MARK CATCHES MORE POKEMON!(Haven't read too far yet)
Umm you brought back this thread by about 3 moths please don't revive threads
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  #28  
Old 04-03-2007, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

I've read this story on your site... but as it has no RSS feed, I figured I'd read it here, and what do you know? They're identical!
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  #29  
Old 04-04-2007, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Quote:
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I've read this story on your site... but as it has no RSS feed, I figured I'd read it here, and what do you know? They're identical!
Uh, obviously. o.O This is still version IALCOTN.

Although they aren't identical, mind you. The prologue that's on the site was completely rewritten recently and hasn't been edited here.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: The Quest for the Legends at PE2K (take two)

Well, I randomly went on a writing spree (at five AM, of course - what are writing sprees without the burning eyeballs and persistent brain signals urging you to go to bed?) and finished chapter six. I'm not really happy with the final scene, but meh. I might edit it tomorrow or something, before I put it on my site.

Chapter 6: The Lake of Purity

After a good night’s sleep, Mark woke up early the next morning, ready for his first true adventure as a Pokémon trainer.

He still couldn’t quite believe his dream had finally come true. It had been so sudden. Why the heck had his parents let him go, anyway? He hadn’t had any time to think about it properly before – he had been too busy being happy – but now that the novelty had worn out a little, he was profoundly puzzled. If there was one thing he had learned from living with his parents for nearly twelve years, it was that generally they were not at all easily pushed around once they were firmly convinced of something, and if they had not been firmly convinced he should not go on a Pokémon journey, he had clearly missed something big.

He blinked and sat up. Charmander was lying curled up on the floor beside the bed, with his tail resting on the small black stool that a cleaning woman had given him in order that the tail flame would be carefully held a couple of inches above the blue carpet.

“Wake up, Charmander!” Mark said, grinning. After a second without a response, he prodded the lizard lightly.

“Mmmh?” Charmander mumbled sleepily, opening an eye. “What?”

Mark laughed. “Come on, stop being lazy! We’re going out to train!”

Charmander shook his head with a subtle smile. “Kids,” he sighed jokingly as Mark quickly pulled on his jeans and a T-shirt.

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, the two headed out into the bright sunshine.

“So…” Charmander began, “where are we going now?”

“Lake of Purity!” Mark replied excitedly. “They say Suicune appears there every evening and cleans the water! It’s the purest water in the world! And that Suicune banished the…”

“Yes, I know,” Charmander interrupted. “I live in this region too, you know.”

Mark fell silent. He loved to talk about legendary Pokémon, although he had long since realized that his parents’ vacant expressions and not-so-subtle attempts to change the subject whenever he began meant they weren’t the right victims for his speeches. He was a little disappointed that Charmander wasn’t interested either. But then again, he figured, this legend was kind of common knowledge. Among the inhabitants of Ouen, at least.

They exited the city on the Lake Road which headed in a fairly straight line southwest through a field of tall grass.

“Where are the Pokémon?” Mark asked in frustration after some two minutes’ walk. “There are supposed to be Pokémon all over around the Lake of Purity!”

Charmander shrugged. “Well, we are pretty close to the area of the Effect…”

Mark stared over the beautiful landscape of endless flowery hills stretching all the way towards the mountains in the west, and only one thing sprang with annoyance into his mind: there were supposed to be wild Pokémon in tall grass.

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s get off this road. The Pokémon probably all stay away from it.”

“But if they’re in this area,” Charmander tried to point out as Mark pulled the grass blades aside and began to wade his way through the grass, “then they’ve already made the choice to be where humans can challenge them, so they hardly – oh, forget it,” he finished grumpily and ran after his trainer.

Mark looked through the bits of grass that were tallest and noticed a localized movement, as if there were something moving under the grass. He peered at that spot; the movement came closer to him.

“Look, I found something!” Mark called. “It’s a… a… Rattata,” he finished with visible disappointment in his voice as a purple-colored rat Pokémon with a curled tail jumped out and confronted him in a slightly shorter section of grass and bared its powerful fangs. The tone of his voice did not escape the Pokémon, who growled in annoyance as if to dare him to take that back.

“Oh, for crying out loud…” Mark moaned as he noticed that Charmander was still making his way towards him through the thick grass.

He sighed to himself as Charmander came up to his side while the Rattata waited and glared at both of them. Being passionately interested in legendary Pokémon only made common Pokémon like Rattata seem all the more annoyingly normal and dull. He decided confidently that this was just his first battle and there was no reason to assume he wouldn’t be attracting rare Pokémon by the dozen by the time he got to the Lake.

“Okay, I don’t want to catch it,” Mark said. “Charmander, Ember!”

The lizard looked at him and folded his arms. “Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you don’t even know that Charmander can’t use Ember until…”

But the Rattata had gotten tired of waiting and used the opportunity to let out a piercing shriek and ram Charmander with a full-body tackle. The lizard, taken by surprise, was knocked over and had to quickly pull his tail up to avoid setting the grass on fire.

“That’s your fault,” Charmander insisted with annoyance as he quickly got back up, charged at the Rattata and raked his sharp claws across its white cheek, leaving tiny scratch marks in the rat’s fur.

My fault?” Mark asked incredulously. “How is it my fault you can’t even like just hit it with your tail flame or something?”

Charmander looked blankly at him as if in sudden realization. “Tail… flame?”

He looked at his fiery tail and then at the Rattata that was already charging at him again.

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea,” he said and grinned before spinning powerfully on the spot so that his tail smacked right into the side of the rat Pokémon’s face.

The Rattata was knocked a couple of feet backwards in the grass as it cried out in pain. One of its thick whiskers now scorched, it glared murderously at Charmander with intense red eyes before changing its strategy. Instead of going for another Tackle, the rat instead crouched down, lifted its tail and began to wag it back and forth. Charmander’s eyes followed the tip left, right, left…

“Don’t let it distract you!” Mark blurted out, but it was too late: the Rattata was already charging, and with yet another Tackle attack, it knocked Charmander off his feet again.

The lizard got up and shook his head.

“Okay, use…” – Charmander looked quickly up at him as the Rattata ran towards him again – “Uh…”

He found himself staring stupidly at his Pokémon with every single attack name he had ever remembered having disappeared from his memory without a trace.

Charmander shook his head and managed just barely to leap out of Rattata’s way before finally sending his tail flame flying into its head again, knocking it down into the ground and apparently knocking it unconscious.

“Phew,” Mark just said. “Nice one, Charmander.”

Nice one indeed. Mark couldn’t help thinking he had gotten more in the way during his first ever Pokémon battle than he had helped.

It was all Mrs. Grodski’s fault.

He sighed resentfully, glancing at Charmander, but the lizard was already walking firmly back towards the road. Mark shamefully followed.

When they finally came to the Lake of Purity itself, they found it packed with trainers of all ages, some battling it out near the banks, some searching for wild Pokémon in the grass off to the sides, some standing by the lake with fishing rods attempting to fish for Pokémon. And a girl with striking blue hair tied in two thick, sticking-out ponytails in the back of her head, around his age or perhaps a little older, was standing by a huge tourist information sign.

Mark looked around and figured he might as well start by seeing what that sign was about, so he walked up to it with Charmander on his heels.

When he came closer, he saw that the sign was split into two halves. The left side, the one the girl was standing by, was about Suicune and its connection with the lake, which Mark already knew everything about and therefore felt no need to read. The other side was all the more interesting, because it had a large red headline that read ‘WARNING: THE DANGERS OF LEGENDARY POKÉMON’.

Mark looked at it in puzzlement and, with interest, began to read.

As Mark had previously been vaguely aware, the lake was off-bounds at and after sunset, and this was supposedly because at least eleven trainers were known to have mysteriously vanished without a trace after staying at the lake to see Suicune appear in the evening.

In fact, those were the only people known to have attempted it for decades, because official restrictions had been put in place after the first three had vanished, and the rest had been those people who had dared to break those restrictions.

It was almost certain, the sign went on, that Suicune had killed those people, and that clearly it did not wish to be watched as it performed its daily purification of the Lake. Therefore, travellers were warned to leave the Lake of Purity well before sunset.

To add to the effect, the sign finished with black-and-white portraits of those eleven trainers. Mark shuddered; the first two were two girls that looked like they had just begun their short Pokémon journey.

Interestingly, none of the Suicune-kills-people stuff had appeared in any of the books he had read, no matter how many pages they had dedicated to Suicune. They had stated that it was not possible to watch Suicune’s appearances, but it had always been unclear why. Perhaps this was what he got for reading books primarily intended for children. He couldn’t help it; those were the ones with rich, beautiful full-color illustrations, and he was too fond of pictures to want to read a book that was pure text or something with rough sketches.

It was a shame. He had been planning to perhaps try to bypass the restrictions and see Suicune anyway, but he was not all too keen on having his picture – probably that awful school photo, too – added to that sign.

“Uh…” the girl standing beside him said hesitantly. “Are you from around here or what? Or well, do you know anything about this… legend-thing?” She pointed at her end of the sign. “I was reading this, but I don’t get it. I’m from Johto so I’m not really into all these Ouenian legends and…”

“You don’t know about it?” Mark asked in astonishment, grinning widely at the opportunity to show off his knowledge. “Wow, I have to tell you about it! See, Suicune comes to this lake every evening around sunset and dips a paw into the water – it’s an ability of sorts it has, being able to purify water with a touch – and then runs off again. And they say it originally did this to banish the Gyarados that was terrorizing the Pokémon of the lake, because the Gyarados could no longer hide in the murky water to hunt, and then one day after Suicune started doing the purification thing it just disappeared from the lake, and nobody knows how because there are no rivers in or out of the lake that it could have gone through, and well, it just disappeared one night, and they say it purifies the lake every to keep the Gyarados away so it will never return, and…”

“Right,” the girl just said, raising her eyebrow slightly before eying Charmander. “Hey, uh, were you just starting out too? Want a battle?”

Mark shut up, a little disappointed that even this girl didn’t seem to appreciate his knowledge, but forcibly wiped the offended expression from his face before it got too visible. “Um, sure. I only have one Pokémon, though.” He gestured towards Charmander.

The girl shrugged. “Well, I’ve got two, but no matter. We’ll make it a one-on-one, okay?”

Mark nodded in agreement. They stepped away from the sign.

Charmander poked Mark’s leg. “Um… are you sure this is a good idea? I was just battling that Rattata, and…”

“Oh, come on,” Mark replied lightly. “This can’t be too difficult.”

Charmander did not look entirely convinced, but took his place in front of Mark anyway. The girl smirked confidently as she reached for the weird necklace she was wearing, and suddenly Mark realized that what he had taken to be pearls of some sort were in fact minimized Pokéballs.

“Skarmory, I choose you!” she shouted as she plucked one of the balls off the necklace, maximized it and threw it forcefully forward.

Mark stared at her calm, focused expression as the ball she had thrown burst open in mid-air and released a white shape that quickly formed into a large vulture-like bird. It gave off a metallic cry as it flapped its wings slowly in the air, bizarrely staying aloft despite the relatively small surface area of its wings.

“Are you going to stand there staring at Skarmory all day?” the girl remarked impatiently.

“Eh…” Mark wasn’t sure how to word this. “Didn’t you say you just started out?”

“I did,” she insisted. “I was in Alumine before here. You know that city has the largest Skarmory nesting grounds in the world just outside of it, right? The reason I came to Ouen in the first place was to catch a young one, actually. It’s my favourite Pokémon.”

Mark blinked. Sexist as it was, the first thing that crossed his mind was that girls were supposed to like cute Pokémon like Pikachu or Skitty, not large, ugly, powerful Steel Pokémon like Skarmory. He quickly shook that out of his head.

“All right, Charmander, you have the type advantage! Now, uh…”

He remembered that Charmander couldn’t use Ember yet.

“…uh? Well, do something?” he said stupidly and Charmander sighed. The girl attempted with little success to suppress a giggle.

“Okay, Skarmory, just take it easy with a Peck. No need to be too hard on it.”

The steel vulture gave another metallic cry to confirm the command and swooped downwards with surprising agility considering its body was made of steel. Charmander quickly pulled his tail back and swung it just when Skarmory’s sharp beak was inches away from him, hitting the steel bird in the side of its head and knocking it slightly sideways so that its beak missed, instead letting it knock Charmander down with the edge of its wing.

Skarmory crawled back to its feet with a caw and clumsily took off into the air again. The girl frowned.

“Unconventional, are we?” she said coldly. “Skarmory, Swift!”

“Ska-a-a!” the bird screeched as it flapped its wings harshly just above Charmander as he was getting up. Hundreds of sharp, glowing, metallic feathers rained down at him; he tried to duck out of the way, but the feathers smoothly turned after him like tiny heat-seeking missiles. The lizard threw himself face-down on the ground, shielding his head with his paws as the razor-sharp feathers sliced into his scaly skin one after another.

“Why don’t we just assume I won?” the girl said impatiently as the last steel feathers dropped into the grass around Charmander. “I can tell Skarmory to use Swift as often as you like. There is no need for him to come any closer than this to the ground, and from the looks of it your Charmander can’t hurt him from down there yet.”

Much to Mark’s surprise, Charmander rose up and gritted his teeth before he could answer. He swung his tail upwards so that hot embers flew from the flame into the air. The steel vulture yelped in pain as some embers scorched a few spots on his wing, but he simply flew a little higher up where Charmander’s Ember couldn’t reach him.

The lizard sighed. “I guess she’s right,” he said grudgingly.

“All right, I forfeit,” Mark said dully, his pride a little hurt. The girl smiled triumphantly and recalled her Pokémon back into its ball.

“Thanks for the battle. I’ve got to run now. See ya.”

And without as much as a glance back at him, she hurried down the Lake Road.

“Wait!” Mark shouted. “What level is that Skarmory of yours, anyway?”

“Seven,” the girl called without turning around before disappearing over a hill.

Mark felt more than ever that he was really, really bad at battling.

“She’s been using TMs,” he muttered, guessing more than knowing that Skarmory would not be likely to have learned Swift naturally by level seven. “Cheap…”

Charmander shrugged and winced as he looked at his back. “Don’t think about her; she’s just some random girl you’re never going to see again. Got a Potion to put on these cuts?”

“Oh… right.” Mark quickly looked at Charmander’s scratched hide, swung his backpack off his shoulder and dug around in it for the right little box. The downside to the easily stackable minimized items was that one couldn’t just feel them and know what it was from the shape.

Finally he found what he was looking for, pressed a button to maximize it into a bottle of healing potion and quickly sprayed some over his Pokémon’s back. He watched in astonishment as the cuts practically closed before his very eyes. The regenerative abilities of Pokémon truly were every bit as amazing as they said.
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