Finally got back around to it. Enjoy.
(Also, apparently learning about who Dialga and Palkia are is part of the storyline, so I’m going to go back and remove any reference to me knowing them. Sorry about that)
I opened the gym doors…And had an idea. Before the helpful tip guy could say “Grass is weak to fire”, I was gone. I came back with a grin on my face and a plan in my head.
The Gym Leader, Gardenia, was waiting for me in the lobby. “Greetings, Challenger. The rules of engagement are simple. Once you have defeated all of the trainers hiding in my gym, you may challenge me. I will see you later.” And with a flick of her hair, she was off, into the gym proper.
I looked sideways at Beat. He did his best to shrug. <Hide and seek, huh? Fine by me>. I shook my head “You might not be getting that much action this time around, Beat. You’ve only got strong grass type moves to rely on. That might not be the best tactic here…”. Beat grumbled, upset. <Then let’s hope Ace and our plan is gonna be enough to carry us. I don’t think Malice is ready yet.> I nodded and entered the foresty interior, almost immediately gagging on the pollen in the air. It looked pretty lifelike in there.
I poked around in the gym for a bit until I found my first opponent hiding behind a tree. Her long blonde hair gave her away. “TAG!” I shouted, as the young girl jumped in surprise. I pulled out a PokeBall. “You’re it”.
It wasn’t long before I was approaching the Gym Leader’s platform. The only problem had been a Turtwig. For the shortest of instants, I hesitated before giving the order to take it down. This had been a small mistake. Fortunately, my plan was working. I would probably be ok against the Gym leader.
I approached cautiously, and Gardenia raised an eyebrow. “No need to be shy, you know. I know why you’re here. You’re here for my badge, aren’t you? Well, prove to me you want it! Let’s do this thing!”
I immediately knew I was in for a rough fight. Her first pokemon was level 19. A bit higher than most of my party…I took a deep breath…And put my plan into motion. I hurled a pokeball out and as a fluffy brown creature emerged, I yelled “Nightwing! You know the plan! Lights out!”
Nightwing the HootHoot let out a low noise, somewhere between a sigh and a growl and opened it’s red eyes wide. <hootHOOOOOOOOOOOT>.
Cherubi was out for the count. “Nightwing, take it down!”. He turned to give me a baleful look that clearly said ‘Why? What did the poor little radish ever do to hurt you?’ before flapping towards his target. Unfortunately the Cherubi refused to stay asleep. I had Nightwing put it under once more, now worried about the Leech seeds sucking at his talons… “Alright, enough. Ace! You’re on! Take it out fast!”. Ace wasted no time in flicking the little radish monster up into the air with a Quick Wing attack. It tried to retaliate with more leech seeds, but Ace was too fast for it. Gardenia was having none of it, though, and before Ace could make another pass for a quick attack, she had already healed it with a potion. Fortunately, one last clap of Ace’s wings were enough to finish it.
She sent out yet another Turtwig. This time I didn’t hesitate. And I knew what weakness to exploit. “ACE! Avoid the razor leaves! Double team!”. Ace clucked, amused. <My thoughts exactly!>.
Ace and the turtwig played defensively for a while, gaining evasive speed and withdrawing into a shell respectively. Finally Gardenia gave a quick gesture and the Turtwig fired. Ace ate the full load of Razor Leaves. I winced, but let out a sigh of relief when I noticed Ace’s flight pattern had barely changed <Barely grazed me. I’m good!>. “One more Double Team, then hit it HARD!”. Ace circled rapidly once more, picking up even more speed, dodging side to side to rapidly that he really did look like he had split into two, then dive bombed. The enemy Turtwig fired another spray of leaves. It wiffed past Ace easily. The Turtwig dug itself in and braced itself for the incoming Wing attack and survived the hit well. But even the toughest defense would have to buckle eventually. Finally, the enemy Turtwig could not take anymore, and collapsed, panting, never having landed another shot of leaves.
Gardenia clapped, looking rather happy. “Oh you ARE good! Come on, let’s see you take on my best buddy! Rose Rocker, show ’em our Eterna City pride!”
I focused. “One more, Ace! Go for it!”. Ace crowed and swooped, evading a Grass Knot with ease. Two quick slams of his wings later, and ‘Rose Rocker’ the Roserade raised its twigs in surrender, barely still standing. <Alright, alright, you got me, stop it already!> It yelled into my Link. Ace barely pulled up in time to avoid dealing a needless blow. <Next time, don’t wait until I’m in the middle of a dive bomb, twiggy!>. Ace landed on my shoulder, a lot heavier than I was expecting. <So, how’d I do, Ark? No wait, don’t tell me, I already know I’m awesome!>. Gardenia giggled. “Your Staravia’s got quite the personality!”. Before I could fully process the fact that she could Link as well, she stepped towards me.
I blinked in surprise. “Wait, that’s it? Really? I thought this was gonna be a lot harder…” “You were nervous, I can tell. Don’t be. You and your Pokemon will go very far, Ark. I’ve got a good feeling about you. Was it hard to raise your Pokemon to be this strong?”. I was thrown by her question. “I….Yes and no. We’ve had some tough fights, and we’re been working hard, but…I think it’s mostly that my team believes in me. They know what we’re fighting for and they’re giving it their all.”. Gardenia chuckled. “A bond of love, huh? That’s good to see. A lot of trainers come through here just see their Pokemon as weapons and don’t even try to care about them. I guess they just don’t want to think of losing a friend. I don’t blame them. It hurts when a Link dies…”. I nodded hoping I’d never have to feel that. “I agree. If the rules were different…If we could change them…”. Gardenia looked surprised for a moment, then grinned wide. “That’s why you’re taking the Gym Challenge?”
She held out her gym’s Badge. “If you’re actually gonna do it, I’m gonna wish you luck. I want the rules to change too. I’ve lost a few friends, and I’d like to never have to lose one again. I hope that if we meet again, you’re in the champion’s seat!”
Ark earned the Forest Badge!
Outside the gym, Nightwing cocked his head at me and looked at the sky plaintively. Even without words, his emotions seeped into my link, and it was making my stomach turn. “Sorry, Nightwing. I can’t just yet. But I’ll try not to make you fight again. I’ll let you go when I can, alright?”. Nightwing hooted softly and looked away as I recalled him to his ball. Questions began to surface in my mind. I had captured Nightwing just gain a slight advantage, and now I was going to stuff him in a PC box for Arceus knew how long. Was I just as bad as team Galactic, just taking him and making him fight for my cause like this, not especially concerned for abducting him like that?
Nightwing the HootHoot joins the team
Speaking of which…
I glared at the Team Galactic building up the street, and the little spiky bushes in front. I glanced down at the Cut TM in my hand…
After a quick trip to the Center, I thought, it’d be time to kick that door down to give that gang of scum what for.
“Beat, Ace. Let’s go.”!