Chapter 3: Dawn of the challenge
Beat and I had hardly set foot outside Twinleaf when something pounced on us.
A bidoof. Suddenly, my pokedex let off a string of beeps, jarring my concentration. I had registered it with the league as an official trainer last night, and had completely forgotten about the capture warning. This was the first monster I’d seen on this route. If I didn’t catch it, that was it for this area. I was hoping for a much stronger first ally, but the rules were the rules….At least for now.
“Beat, wear it down! If we’re going to take the league, we need all the muscle we can get!”
The battle was brief. That bidoof stood no chance.
I cracked my arm back and let fly a pokeball.
My first new ally…I just hoped they wouldn’t come to hate me when all was said and done…I opened the pokeball.
“Hey, listen to me. This journey will be dangeroOOOHMYGOSHGETOFFGETOFFGETOFF!!” It took a monumental effort to get the bidoof to get off my chest and stop licking me. I tried to explain my journey and apologize for catching it, but it could think of nothing else but smothering me with affection.
Joy the Bidoof joins the team!
I began to wonder if this plucky thing was worth taking on this journey…
The rest of the trip to sandgem was pretty smooth. I decided to scope out the route to Jubilife, my next goal, and to my surprise I found a friend there.
Dawn and I exchanged pleasantries, and she handed me another full set of pokeballs. …Had I known she would give me this many, I would have stocked up on more potions than pokeballs earlier…
My pokedex beeped once. A new route. I could catch another pokemon. I looked around, wondering where to begin searching, when something small and grey tried to collide with my head.
Another Starly. I sent Beat out.
<Hey…You’re the birdface I took out back at the lake! Hope you’re ready for round two!> Beat quipped. The Starly growled and circled Beat carefully…Then sprung. The collision between the two wasn’t favorable to it. The starly reeled from the impact, and nearly fell to the ground. This was my chance.
I cracked another pokeball.
Ace the Starly joins the Team!
I scouted ahead a bit, and to my dismay found that there were indeed other trainers out on this route. If I was going to fight them, I needed my team to be in top shape.
We spent the next two days training along the first segment of the route, working up our strength. Beat was as into his battles as ever, and I found that Joy wasn’t completely useless when she focused. Ace was dedicated to his training too, always watching and waiting for openings to strike. Beat soon warmed up to him.
We spent the second evening camping out on Sandgem’s beach. Ace preferred the solitude of his pokeball, while Beat and Joy nuzzled up to me. I couldn’t quite understand Joy yet, and Ace…Well, he seemed like he liked his contemplative silence. I knew I’d have to face my first trainer battle soon…I hoped I wouldn’t lose anyone, but if I did…At least the only one I had Linked with was Beat…
The next morning, we struck out for Jubilife. We passed a kid along the route, who immediately pulled out a pokeball and made for us, ready for a battle and the reputation and training it might give him. No words would dissuade him, he was all fired up.
He send out a Starly, and I lobbed Joy in. I winced as my pokedex showed that the starly had the advantage in Level.
“Joy! Just wear him down!”. Joy circled the Starly and growled. The Starly dove for her. Despite taking blow after blow, Joy kept threatening it, making its attacks more and more cautious and fearful. I noticed one of her legs twitch, a sign she was weakening.
“Ace! It’s on you!”. Ace shot up into the air, trying to gain the advantage of altitude. Both Starlies dove at each other, again and again until suddenly Ace took a critical blow to the left wing and fell to the ground, screeching. A cold sweat broke out. I reached for his ball to save him, but his opponent was too fast and dove for his prone, broken form…Which suddenly rocketed back up and intercepted the incoming tackle. Ace had played dead to get the advantage. I let out a breath I hadn’t noticed I was holding as the enemy Starly fell back a bit.
Taking no chances, I recalled him and had Beat finish the job. And finish it he did.
It was a harsh first battle. I had nearly lost Ace, although he seemed unfazed by the experience. We pushed on and fought another trainer…And then finally, after several hours, we finally reached Jubilife.
We were exhausted, but all the stronger for it. This had been our first hurdle, and we had overcome it. Only time would tell if our luck would hold…We knew the gyms would be much more difficult to conquer.