Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 11 – Scream

Current Team:
Beat (Grotle)
Ace (Staravia)
Lilli (Shellos)
Malice (Zubat)
Buddy (Budew)
Kazza (Kadabra)

Chapter 11 – Scream

“Buddy.  CUT!”

I kicked the door to Eterna’s Team Galactic hideout wide open, razor sharp shards of spiky tree flying in after me, Beat bringing up the rear.

The grunt nearest the door (he was snoozing at a table) barely batted an eye.  “Yeah yeah, keep it down, we’re happy that you wanna voluntarily donate your pokemon, but no need to-”

<*ROAR*>

The grunts scrambled, and two rushed at me, sending out a Zubat and a Wurmple.

“Oh yeah?  Two on one, eh?”  I grinned.  “KAZZA!  Time for you to shine!”  <KEKEKEKEKEKEKE->  <DAMMIT KAZZA!  STOP MESSING AROUND!>  Then he stopped and looked at me.  <Oh FINE.  I’ll pester someone else for a change.>  It looked at the enemy zubat, which immediately screamed <MAKEITSTOPMAKEITSTOP!> into my Link and flew straight into a wall.  Kazza let out a mental chuckle.  <Oh that WAS more fun than pestering you!>

Ace barely got a hit in.  Everything the grunts sent after us keeled over, drooling with just a mental nudge from Kazza.

The two grunts fell back, looking nervous.”You…You wanted to go up, well, why didn’t you!  Go on!  Have fun!”.  The rest of the Grunts were now openly ignoring me, and I saw one starting to not too subtly pack his bag.  Determined, I marched up the stairs to the next floor.

I came out onto some kind of research floor, filled with Grunts absorbed in their work.  I looked over the shoulder of the first grunt I saw, trying to catch a glimpse of his work and he suddenly turned to grin at me, saying “I have no idea what I’m doing either, but I don’t care!”.

Before I could tell him how stupid this made him look, he spun around and something hard connected with my jaw.  “You son of a-”

<*ROAR!*>  Beat came out of his ball.  The grunt fired out a Wurmple to defend himself.  <I’m going to eat you alive!>  Beat growled and pounced on the Wurmple.  Suddenly, a thought arced through my head.  “BEAT!  DON’T KILL-“.  Too late.  The Wurmple was now a steady drip of goop dripping from Beat’s fangs.  “Beat…You idiot.  These aren’t even their own pokemon.  They STOLE THEM”.  Beat’s eyes went wide and he retched on the dead bug.  The enemy Grunt laughed “Well, yeah.  We’re only allowed to capture one pokemon per zone, right?  There’s nothing in the law about us using pokemon that OTHER people captured from that zone, right?”.  He threw out a zubat.  Beat didn’t wait for an order.  He pounced, swatting aside the zubat with ease and going right for the Grunt.  The Grunt’s eyes went wide.  “Wait, that’s not allo-”

*SMASH*

The grunt hit the wall with a thud and he collapsed, groaning.  Beat’s leafy mane rustled as he prepared a Razor Leaf storm.  “Beat, STOP.  You do that and I lose my trainer license, all of you guys, and our mission is shot.  Not to mention that I’ll go to prison.”  Beat hesitated and then backed down, giving the cursing Grunt a baleful stare before spitting out what was left of the enemy Wurmple.  <Ark, we are going to stop them.>  It wasn’t a suggestion.  It was stated as a fact.  I turned to the other Grunts.  “Anyone else want to stop us?”.  I got a roomful of shaking heads.  Beat growled and refused to be called back.

I asked them what the hell they were planning, but no one seemed to know what they were working on.  All I could get out of them was that they were looking to use pokemon as some kind of energy source.

The next floor was ill prepared for my wrath as well.  No sooner had I stepped off the stairs when a very excited young Galactic member approached me.

“Donate THIS.  LIlli, knock ’em down!”  And knock ’em down she did.  And then she took on a scientist that came skidding around the corner, wondering why the walls had gone all wet.  With a Kadabra at his side.  “Lilli, Water pulse him!”  It connected.  The Kadabra’s psi fields were distorted by the rings and drove it to confusion.  Lilli took it down without much more trouble.  I was getting proud of her.  The incident with Breaker was growing further and further from my mind.

At last, I burst up the stairs to the top floor, to see a bald guy cowering as a sniffling Buneary wailed on him.  A stern looking woman in a ridiculous purple haircut sneered at him.  “I’m warning you.  Give us all free bikes or your Buneary is going to beat them out of you!  And then your Clefairy’s gonna be next!” she said, holding the terrified Clefairy upside down by the tail.

“OY!  Cut that out!”.  The woman turned, annoyed.  “What do you want?  Oh, silly me.  You must be some loser here to free all the pokemon.  Like that’ll happen.  Hand yours over over now, or they’re going to die.”

Beat grumbled and pawed the ground.  <Let me at ’em.  Let me at ’em!   I want a piece of these guys!>.  “No, not against a Zubat.  No risks.  Kazza.  Take it down>.  Not two seconds later, the Zubat dropped.  Kazza chuckled <Keep bringin’ on the poison types!  Keep ’em coming!>.

And then she sent out a Skuntank…”Another poison type.  No, Beat.  Not this time.  I’m sorry.” I recalled him before he could do anything stupid.  “Kazza.  Take it down.”.  <KEKEKEKEKEKE!>  The skuntank blinked, unimpressed and clearly unaffected.  Kazza cocked his head <Eh?>.  I frowned.  “Wha-Why didn’t it affect…”  Then the Skuntank pounced, going right for the eyes.

The resulting scream drove all else from my mind.

I felt a sharp, agonizing pain shoot right through my eyes and into the back of my brain stem.  I nearly blacked out, static filling all of my senses at once.  And then, total silence.  I opened my eyes and realized I was on the floor, flat on my face.  Groaning, I sat back up.  “Kazza?”.

I saw him totter over, and fall flat on his back.  I gagged as I saw the wound on his face. It was nauseating to look at.  There was no way Kazza could have survived that.  Jupiter laughed “I told you, Hand ’em over or they die.”.

Silent fury mixed with horror filled me.  I moved on instinct.  “ACE.  GO.  DO NOT LET THAT THING HIT YOU”.  Ace came out.  He took one look at Kazza’s fallen body, then to the Skuntank.  Silence filled my link.  Ace didn’t say a word.  He didn’t need to.  He just moved.

He began to fly rapidly around the small room, touching the walls and launching off them for more speed, rapidly reaching Double Team State.  Jupiter laughed and with a gesture, the Skuntank filled the room with a poisonous gas.  I covered my mouth.  This wasn’t good for me either.  The Skuntank let out loud screeches as well, shaking Ace’s defenses sharply.  “NOW!” I yelled, trying not to breathe in any more of that gas.  Ace plunged, and the Skuntank took it right in the face, a critical hit.  The Skuntank fell back, munching on a berry to nurse its wounds, a large and nasty cut marring its face.

I gritted my teeth.  “Ace!  Enough!  BACK!”  <Not a chance!  I’m gonna->.  I recalled him before he could even finish his sentence.  I wasn’t taking a chance.  With all those screeches, if that Skuntank got even a single hit on Ace, I wasn’t sure he could take it.  I wasn’t going to lose Ace too.

“BUDDY!  STUN SPORE THAT PIECE OF TRASH!”

“LILLI, TAKE IT DOWN!”.  The skuntank reeled growling in annoyance as it was unable to avoid shot after shot of water pulses, now getting confused as well as paralyzed.  It was at my mercy.

“ACE!  you’re on again!”  Ace popped out and flew right at the Skuntank not even waiting for an order.  The befuddled Skuntank didn’t even see it coming.  Ace rushed out, talons extended.  I knew what he planned to do.  I opened my mouth…And then closed it.

I looked away, and tried to shut my mind.  Although the scream was only on the outside of my head this time, it still made me shudder.  Ace flapped back silently to my side, something red dripping from his claws.  I looked back at the dead Skuntank and shuddered.  Ace had given about as good as Kazza had gotten.  I hoped that one wasn’t someone’s stolen pokemon…

Jupiter laughed.  “There’s more where that came from!  Clefairy, Buneary I order you to-“.  She stopped when she realized that the two stolen pokemon had taken the opportunity to run back to their master’s side cowering behind him, safe.

“No.  This is YOUR last warning” I growled.  “If we ever cross paths again…”.  Jupiter laughed “Oh we WILL meet again.  Next time, we’re taking ALL your pokemon.  Dead or alive.  This loss today wasn’t even a setback!  Our leader will uncover the secrets of the mythical pokemon, and he will rule Sinnoh.  Stay out of our way if you value your life.”  And then she was gone.

I approached Kazza’s body.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away from what what left of his.  It was a terrible way to go.

The bald guy approached me.  “Thank you, Trainer.  Thanks to you, my Clefairy and Buneary are safe!”.  I nodded absently.  I vaguely heard him mention that they wanted his Clefairy since they believed it came from space and that I should come to his bike shop.  Then he was gone, leaving me with my thoughts, and two pokemon bodies.

I felt Beat break out of his ball and come next to me.  <Why didn’t you let me fight?>  “You would have died.  It was a poison type.  You had no moves that would work.”.  <But I wanted to-> “NO, Beat.  That doesn’t matter.  What matters is keeping you alive.”.  Beat snarled at me.  <So you prefer to let others die instead?  That’s really selfi->  That did it.  I spun and violently grabbed the sides of his head and glared pure poison directly into his eyes.  “Stop that.  Not another word.  If you die, we lose one of our best teammates.  I need to keep you all alive or else we can never take on the league.  This isn’t about just you.  It’s about all of us.  It’s about everything we’re on this damn mission for.  You’ll fight when it’s time for you to fight.  I’m not letting you fight a hopeless battle just because you want your own revenge!  You’re the one being selfish, Beat.  Now, can it.”

Beat was silent a moment, then looked at Kazza’s remains.  <Promise me.  That we’ll stop these guys.  Promise me they’re going to pay.>.  I looked at Kazza’s destroyed face, then at the Skuntank that Ace had killed, both seeping red onto the floor.  The world was dangerous enough already.  Too many pokemon were already dying pointlessly.  Throwing this criminal danger into the mix was making everything a million times worse.  I clenched my fists, Kazza’s dying scream still burrowing into my mind like a drill.  “We’re going to stop them, Beat.  One way or another.  I won’t let them get away with any more of this.”

I stepped out of the building and blinked in the sunlight.  Dawn had broken.  Team Galactic was long gone, and the city was safe.  I shouldered my pack and headed for the Center.  I had someone to bury.  I wasn’t even sure I was tired anymore.

Kazza the Kadabra has Died…

—-

Yeah, that’s right.  I had a freaking Kadabra on my team (one of my favourite psychic pokemon), and I LOST IT.  I am very upset.  >: (

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Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 10 – Kicking Grass

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)

Kicking Grass

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.”!

Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 9 – Nervous respite

I’m sorry it’s been so long.  x_x  I have no excuse.


Current Team:
Beat (Grotle)
Ace (Staravia)
Lilli (Shellos)
Malice (Zubat)
Buddy (Budew)
Kazza (Kadabra)

Nervous respite

I was tired and wanted to hit the sack ASAP that night.

However, someone else had other plans.

Then the Galactic grunt paused to take in my positively venomous glare, and I saw his eyes wander over to Beat, who was at my side pawing the ground and growling.  The grunt gulped, probably regretting having hailed me.  “N-Nevermind…You look really tough..I won’t take…I mean you can keep your pokemon…”

<Should I take him out, master?> Beat let out a long low growl, and the grunt gulped.  I glared at his rapidly whitening face.  “If I so much as hear a whisper of you stealing some poor kid’s pokemon, I will sic Beat on you.  In fact, he’s asking me right now if he can eat the mean old kidnapper man.  Should I let him?”  Beat stomped his foot and made a biting motion just to make sure he got the message.  The grunt ran for his life, and I could swear I smelt that he’d wet his pants.

Shaking my head, I went to explore the town a bit, thinking this was just a one-off problem.  Turns out, it wasn’t.  The place was crawling with Team Galactic bozos  I heard numerous complaints of stolen pokemon, and half the town seemed content to look the other way!

Eventually I pieced together that Team Galactic had set up some kind of outpost here.  I headed in the general direction that the grunt had fled in, knowing that he’d lead me right to the source of the problem.  I caught sight of a strange building that didn’t fit in with the rest, and I could see a pack of grunts walking around past the glass doors.  I would have marched right in and given the whole lot of them hell right there, had they not installed the best anti-trainer security available.   More of those weird prickly bushes.  I couldn’t get in.  That’s when I noticed the sign.

“…….What.  WHAAAAAT?!  I…Wha-They aren’t even being subtle about it!”  <About what?>  Quipped Beat.  “The sign!  Just…READ THE SIGN!”  <I can’t read human, Master!  What’s it say?>

<…Yup, definitely not subtle.>

I glared at the prickly bushes.  There had to be some way past them…  I didn’t notice the trainer until they were a few feet away.

She was a young woman, about my age.  Apparently she was here to look into pokemon mythology.  There was a statue here of a powerful ancient pokemon in this city that intrigued her.  With lack of anything better to do at the time, I followed.

I glanced at her “So no one is sure what this pokemon is?”  Cynthia shook her head.  Beat shrugged <No idea here either.  Been in the professor’s lab ever since I was an egg, and he never showed me anything like that.>.  Ace popped out of his ball, uncalled for, startling both me and Cynthia <I think I know what it is!  When I was just hatched, my mom told me a story about something called the ‘Mother of Time’.  It looks a lot like the pokemon in the story!>.  I relayed this to Cynthia who cocked an eyebrow at me “You’re telling me your pokemon just spoke to you?  I find that hard to believe.  But noted, all the same”.  She turned to leave, then stopped.  “I notice you were staring at those bushes, earlier.  You know there’s an HM that lets you cut those down, right?”.

My ears perked up at that.  “Where do I get one?”.  “You’ll have to find a league-sponsored trainer to give one to you.  We can’t just have everyone allowed to use moves like that outside of direct combat!  People might get hurt!”.  I nodded.  Anything that could shred one of those bushes would be pretty harmful in the wrong hands.  Cynthia looked thoughful for a moment “You’re taking the league challenge, I presume?”  “Yes, I’ve already got a Coal badge.”  “So you’re not a complete novice, then.  The gym challenge is tough.  Nigh unbeatable if you consider the champion and the elite four.  What makes you think you can succeed?”  “I-….Well, I promised Beat that I’d try.  We have a goal.  One that can only be accomplished by taking the champion’s seat.  We want to change the rules to better protect pokemon in battle.  The way the rules are…it’s too dangerous.  Pokemon are dying, and they shouldn’t be.”  Cynthia suddenly looked rather annoyed “So, you want to change the system, yet you partake in it.  That seems rather irresponsible.”  Beat growled angrily at that.

Cynthia shrugged “Well, there are worse reasons to aim for the top.  What’s your name, then, trainer?”  “Ark”  She tossed me a disk.  “Best of luck to you, Ark.  I hope we cross paths again.”  And then she was gone.

Beat and I made a beeline for the Galactic Building.  Unfortunately the HM refused to boot up, demanding proper authorization.  I’d need to get league permission to use the Cut move out of battle to get past those prickly deathtraps.

Well, fortunately, the next gym was right he-…Oh for Mew’s sake.  A GRASS Gym.  <What’s wrong with-Oh.>  “Yeah.  Ace and Kazza are my only star players in here.  And Kazza is…”  <Weird?>  “I was gonna say psychotic.  And lazy.  This isn’t gonna be a picnic”.

I didn’t trust this place enough to sleep here.  Not with pokemon theft running rampant.  I would have to take on the gym as soon as humanly possible.

I picked up some energy roots at a nearby herb store.  Beat took one sniff and reeled away.  <UGH!  You’re not gonna make me eat that are you?!>  “If it’ll save your life, yeah”.  <I’d better not get hurt then.>

And then, I ran into someone unexpected.

He was impressed at how fast I was progressing, and offered me something to speed things along.  He called it an EXP. SHARE.  All caps.  It was some experimental technology designed to allow pokemon that weren’t in battle to learn directly from those that did fight.  He started going into the theory, going on about temporal brainwave duplication, but quickly realized I was lost.  In any case, this would be quite useful.  We parted ways, with him promising to say hi to Dawn for me.

It was late.  Very late.  I could feel my eyelids drooping.  But I had a job to do.  Holding back a yawn, I stepped through the doors of the second gym…

Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 8 – The Road to Eterna

Well, this chapter turned out to be pretty eventful for just one route…

Also, I am TERRIBLY sorry, but I seem to have lost all of my screenshots for this chapter… >_< I tried to work around it a bit, though.

The Road to Eterna

There’s something in those flowers that’s just not normal.  I meant to get up early, but the sun was high in the sky by the time I was on the road again.  I checked my pokedex and to my surprise it considered the valley windworks to be its own location, not attached to route 205!  Cool.  I used this opportunity to snag a Buizel.

That done, I began my march up route 205, confident I could take on anything that came my way.  Then I faced another trainer’s ponyta.  That was a difficult battle.  I came to realize that perhaps relying on two grass types and a flying type left me very wide open to certain attacks…

And then Kazza erupted into a fountain of light.

<kekekekekekekekeeeeeeeee>  I kid you not, that was the first thing I heard through Kazaa’s Link.  A crazy, psychotic laugh.  That.  Just.  Wouldn’t.  STOP.

Another trainer approached, and sent out a Budew.  Time to see what Kazza could do.  “Ok Kazza, GET HIM!  Confusion!”  <Kekekekekekekekekekeke>  “…What are you doing?  Why are you sitting around staring at the sky?” <KEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKE>.  “…Are you even listening, Kazza?”  <No.>  <I mean- KEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEEEEEEEEHEEHEE!!!!>  “Are you serious?!  You won’t even listen to me?!”  That was upsetting.  Finally, Kazza had the potential to be a great member of the team…and instead, he decided to not do a damn thing.  I regretted that trade now…

I reached the edge of Eterna forest…and unfortunately, the shortcut around it was blocked by these thin (but VERY prickly) trees that were growing right there on the path.  I didn’t feel like waiting another week or two for someone to clear those out.  But I sure as hell wasn’t going through Eterna forest without some more antidotes.  I turned back to stock up in Floaroma.

On the way, a wild Shellos attacked.  It didn’t look particularly strong, but I needed every bit of help I could get.  I decided that if I sent Ace or Beat in, they would probably kill the poor thing, so I let Breaker, my Geodude fight it.

That was a mistake.

A truly grave, regrettable, stupid mistake.

The Shellos fired a series of blue pulses at Breaker….I felt as if time itself slowed to a crawl as my brain processed a set of facts at lightning speed.  Shellos was a water type.  It had just used Water Pulse.  Breaker was a Geodude.  A rock/ground type.  Super Effective.

“BREAKER!  DODGE IT!”   He didn’t.  He couldn’t.

He took all four shots head on and fell to the ground with a soft thud and a moan.  I ran up to him, hoping against hope he was alright.  His eyes were blank and water dripped slowly from his mouth.  I wasn’t too familiar with rock type biology…But that looked fatal.  I could not tear my eyes away like I did with that other Geodude back at Oreburgh Gate.  This time, it was completely my fault.

<Yeah, just keep walking away, you ugly slug!>  Beat growled at the Shellos, who had lost interest and was now shuffling away.  I turned to look, and then a fiery mood took me  “Oh no you don’t.  You are coming with us, Shellos.  Beat.  WEAR. IT. DOWN”.  Beat turned and frowned  <You sure?  It just killed- >  “I know what it did.  And that’s why it’s not going to get away with it.>  Beat pounced on the Shellos and began to give it hell.  I threw a pokeball.  It broke out.  I threw another, it deflected it.  My fury grew.  I almost told Beat to slice it to pieces with a well placed razor leaf.  Instead, I had Buddy come out and stun spore it.  “Let’s see you break out of the ball now!”  There was the sound of a pokeball opening and snapping shut.  Then a few twitches.  And finally, a satisfying *click*.

I ran back to the pokemon center, and they took Breaker into a back room.  The regular healing device was nowhere near enough, they said.  About a half hour later, I got the bad news.  As I feared, there was nothing they could do for him.  The water had seeped into his rocky lungs and drowned him from the inside.

They offered to send him to the Lost Tower in Solaceon town straight away.  I asked to see him first.  The nurse told me I didn’t want to see it.  I insisted anyway.

She explained that they had tried to pump out the water from his rocky lungs, but apparently the air/water pressure was too much and…aahh…

She was right.  I didn’t want to see it.

I sat there in the center for a while, unsure of what to do.  I hadn’t had Breaker around for very long, nor was he a good member of the team yet.  I hadn’t even managed to link with him.  And yet…I felt terrible.  I should have known Shellos was a water type… <Master, are you just gonna sit there all day and mope?> “No, Beat.  I’m not.”  I sighed and got up.

Breaker the Geodude has Died.

I allowed them to send Breaker’s corpse over to Lost Tower in Solaceon town via the PC system.  I didn’t quite know what else to do with it.

I went to the PC and withdrew the Shellos that had killed Breaker and sat her down.  “You listen to me.  You took one of my friends from me.  You will make up for that.  I don’t know if you can understand me, but I’ll make this very clear.  You are not getting off easy.  That said, welcome to the team.  Do me proud.”  The Shellos blinked and slowly made a very noticeable nod.

Lilli the Shellos joins the team

I made a quick stop at the pokemart like I had planned and stocked up on antidotes, then made my way back to the forest entrance.

At the entrance, a woman was pacing back and forth, clearly worried.  As I entered, she looked up and approached.  My hand instinctively reached for a pokeball, but then I stopped as I realized she wasn’t here for a fight.  She looked at Beat and nodded.  “Hi Trainer.  Umm…You’re a strong trainer, right?”  I blinked “I guess so.  What’s on your mind?”  The woman looked over her shoulder and then back to me “I need to get to Eterna city in a hurry, but there are tons of trainers in here and I don’t have time to fight them all one on one.  And there are rumors of Team Galactic members in here, and-”  She stopped as she said those words and gave me a piercing look.  I didn’t notice it at the time, though, since I immediately frowned and imagined those incompetent dunces causing more trouble.  Not on my watch.  “If Team G-Force is here, I am going to send them packing.  I hate those guys”.  The woman’s face immediately relaxed.  “That’s…Good.  My name is Cheryl.  And yours?”  “Ark”  “Well, then, Ark, here’s my deal.  You help me get through this place and to Eterna in a hurry, and Chansey and I will keep your Pokemon in top condition.  Deal?”  I nodded and off we went.

She wasn’t kidding about the trainers here. On seeing that Cheryl was traveling with someone, they immediately decided to double team us.  After one particular brutal double battle which left Lilli, Ace and Beat burned out, Beat began to glow.

What began as a soft growl turned into a full on roar, and within moments, he was pawing the ground with his new giant feet, eager to test out his new form.  <I.  AM.  A.  BADASS!>  “Yeah, I can’t argue with that…You look awesome!”

Cheryl gave me an odd look, and I was forced to explain Linking to her.  To my surprise, she believed me without question, and peppered me with questions until we parted ways.

After a few more battles, we made it.  Cheryl’s first aid skills were incredibly useful.  With her help, Lilli was now combat ready, and Malice (My Zubat) was getting there.  And then she was gone, running full tilt towards Eterna.  And about time too.  The sun was setting.  I didn’t want to be in here after dark.  Especially not with those Psychic Trainers going on and on about the “Old Chateau” in the area that they said “housed a powerful presence”.  I didn’t like Ghost pokemon.  I hadn’t met any yet, and I hoped I never had to.

And a short walk later, finally we crossed into Eterna.

Where I began to get a sense of just how big a problem Team Galactic would be for me.

Props to ZessT of DeviantArt for allowing me to use their Geodude image, found here.

—–

Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 7 – Showdown at the valley windworks

Man, trying to keep these weekly is hard work!

Showdown at the valley windworks

I waited until nightfall.  No way I was crossing that minefield of flowers in daylight.  Once I was sure it was reasonably safe, I started to tiptoe through the tulips pleading to Mew and Arceus not to let me get assaulted by another beedrill.

And I made it.  Finally.  The two grunts (now harassing some poor old guy) were not happy to see me.  Even less so when Ace was done with them.  They took off at top speed, screaming as Ace flapped around their heads cackling.  In fact they were in such a rush that they somehow DROPPED the key to the valley windworks.  …There’s incompetent, and then there are THESE guys.

I gave them a bit of a head start and then carefully crossed back into Floaroma, made a quick stop at the Center and then…

Let’s do this.  I inserted the key, unlocked the door, and kicked it wide open.

Yup.  You are the loser in this.  Next time, don’t give it to a pair of klutzes with really weak pokemon.  You’re just asking for someone to mess you guys up.

I took down a few grunts and sent them packing.  One guy approached, looking pretty confident.

…..And all he had was a Cascoon…”And just how, pray tell, do you intend to stop me with a pokemon that can only sit still and harden?  What kinda ‘professional’ criminal are you?!”

Suddenly, Ace burst into what looked like pure light.

<Whoa!  I’m evolving!>  I’d never seen a pokemon evolve before.  Well, aside from on Pokemon Discovery.  And it’s just never the same as in person, you know?

Ace’s eyes were the last thing to stop glowing.  <Oh WOW, check this body OUUUUT!>  He crowed.  <I am SO gonna wreck the next thing to cross my path!>.  Then he looked meaningfully at the ‘professional’ grunt we had just owned, who had the good sense to take that as his signal to run for the hills.

And so I approached the main research room.  “Alright, Team Galaga, this party is over.  GET OUT.”.  “GALACTIC, boy!  Get it right!”  Said the woman (I think?  I really could not tell…) in charge.  She looked me over disdainfully.  “I’m one of Team Galactic’s three Commanders.  My name is Mars.”  She frowned “You seem to match the description of the one who send my grunts packing in Jubilife.  Here is what I just don’t seem to understand.  We’re trying to create a new world, one that’s much better than this one!  And yet everyone shows so little understanding about what we do-”  I snorted in disbelief “Misunderstand what?  Your grunts are thugs who kidnap people, threaten young kids with assault with a deadly pokemon, and try to steal anything you can get your hands on.  What is there to misunderstand?  You guys are criminals!”

Mars glared at me.  “A few hurt feelings are well worth bringing about our new world.  Tell you what, we’ll have a battle right here.  If you beat me, I’ll take my grunts and leave.  If you lose, you leave.  With my boot up your rear end!”  She said, flinging a Zubat into the ring.  I weighed my options and sent Ace in.  “Zubat!  Slag that thing!  TOXIC!”.  Ace took a faceful of purple goop the second he was free from his Pokeball.  <GAH, Ark…This…This isn’t normal poison!>  I narrowed my eyes.  “Make the KO!  I’ll switch you out the second you get it done!”.  Ace let out a screech and let that Zubat have it.  I kept my word, sending Beat out to face the enemy’s Purugly.  Beat grinned <You’re one fat cat!  Let’s trim some of that off!  RAZOR LEAF!>.  …And the Purugly just shrugged it off.  That wasn’t good…

I pulled an antidote from my bag and took my eyes off the battle for a moment to inject an antidote spray into Ace’s pokeball…And then a scream rocked my Link.

I looked up to see Beat sailing through the air, a vivid and deep looking scratch mark marring his belly, before he hit a wall and collapsed, shivering in pain.  <I…I don’t think I can keep going…Sorry master…>.  The Galactic boss grinned.  “Purugly!  Go for the kill!”.  I flung Ace’s pokeball and fumbled Beat’s ball…It rolled out of reach.  “BEAT!  GET BACK GET BACK!  ACE!  GO!”  Ace came out, took one look at Beat’s condition and screeched furiously at the Purugly.  Even though I didn’t hear any words, his meaning was clear as he flapped aggressively in the fat cat’s face, forcing it to take a few nervous steps back.  “ACE  FLY CLOSE!”  I primed a potion and sprayed him as he passed.  “GO FOR A BEATDOWN!”  They traded blows back and forth and I kept spraying Ace whenever he passed by in need of a patch-up.  The Purugly was fast.  Faster than Ace for sure.  No matter where ace clapped his wings, the fat cat would always catch him first.  And then I saw one of it’s knees twitch.  “Now, Ace!  NAIL IT!”.  Ace swooped low and pushed himself hard, aiming his beak right between his foe’s eyes.  The Purugly raised a claw…And got a faceful of Ace’s high speed quick-attack before he could bring it down.  It moaned and made a very loud thump as it keeled over.

I sighed in relief.  “Good work guys.  Ace, are you ok?”  <Yup>  “Beat?”  <I’ll…Manage…Owww….>.  I recalled him to his ball, despite his protests.  I knew that being in the ball would slow the progress of his injury.  I had to get him to a center in a hurry.

True to their word, team Galactic left, and I was able to reunite the lost little girl from earlier with her papa.  And I found out what the gang was doing here.  They were apparently trying to harness a huge amount of energy for some unknown purpose.  I was getting mighty curious about what they were really trying to accomplish with that…

A few minutes later, back in Floaroma, the local nurse handed Beat back over to me, looking good as new.  “You feeling better?”  <Yeah…That’ll teach me to be overconfident.  Guess I just can’t blast my way though everything just yet,>.  I took this as a warning…I had come dangerously close to losing my closest friend…I re-stocked on potions and splurged on a dozen Super potions.  My guys were getting to the point where normal potions were no longer gonna cut it in emergencies.

We wound up crashing at the home of a friend of the scientist and…

YES!  Time for some footage of me beating Team Galaga!

Huh….Oh well that could still be.-

What?  WHAT?!  I kicked a criminal organization’s butt this morning!  And they thought this was REALLY gonna be a better sto-

Oh sweet Arceus no.

WHERE DID THEY GET THAT FOOTAGE OF JOY SLOBBERING ALL OVER ME?

Zero indeed!  That’s what my reputation is going to be after everyone watches this!

…Yeah, Like anyone will take me seriously now.  …….Well, at least this might give me an advantage against other gym leaders.  Maybe.  Hopefully.

Oh who am I kidding.  I’m going to bed and forget that everyone saw that.

Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 6 – Enter Team Galactic

I really hope that color-sibling joke doesn’t fly over everyone’s head…

And before anyone asks, yes, I do in fact have a phobia of wasps.

—-

Enter Team Galactic

Our victory celebrations were brief.  After all, we lost two weeks waiting for that son of a Houndour to come out of that mine.  We had a lot of catching up to do.

The next gym was in Eterna city, so I’d heard.  Beat and I figured it would be best to make a beeline straight for it by taking the shortcut through route 207.  Which turned out to be no good.

Apparently there was some kind of mudslide on the only stairs up the cliff.  I’d need a bike, preferably with studded tires, ten speeds and a blue paint job to make it up that slippery slope.  (Well, the blue paint is optional, I suppose).

The only other way to Eterna would be a detour through that cave north of Jubilife.  Which was blocked last I remembered.  It took me a snide, and slightly condescending remark from Ace to figure out what to do.  <Oh if ONLY you had some move that could break rocks and a gym badge that allowed you to use it…Then you could get through that cave…> “OH RIIIIIIIGHT, forgot about that…”.

Before leaving the route I poked around in the grass for a new pokemon.  And lo and behold…

So I finally had a fighting type on my team.  For about half an hour.  You see, I’d spent the two weeks crashing at one of the apartments, and I had gotten to be friends with one of the tenants, a young girl who called herself Violet (And her brother Burgundy), and I stopped by to say hi.  They were amazed that I took on Roark and won, and I got treated to yet another display of “I’m gonna be a trainer and a hero too someday!  I wanna be the very best, that no one ever was!”.  She really took a liking to the new Machop and well, one thing led to another.

Kazza the Abra joins the team!

Kazza ………Umm…I don’t even think he ever even listened to me whenever I talked to him.  He just sat there and….did nothing all day.  My Link with him was literally returning a blank empty signal…At the time I saw that as a bad thing…But later…Well, that’s for another time.

So, mildly annoyed at the fact that my trip for Oreburgh had been nothing but a mild detour (save for the Gym Badge), I headed up to the Oreburgh gate and-

And off he went again at top speed. I better get a bike fast.  I can’t have him beating me EVERYWHERE.

Now that I had Rock smash, I decided I could spare a few minutes to poke deeper into the Gate.  I soon found a flash TM.  Next to a discarded baseball cap with oddly familiar bite marks in the fabric.  I briefly wondered if Zubats were carnivores.  …And then got dive bombed by one as it screeched what sounded suspiciously like <HUNGEEEERRRRRR>.

……………Anyway, I made it back to Jubilife in record time and after a quick stop at the Center (And a therapist), we decided to make a dash for the next town.

Until I ran right into a commotion at the town entrance.  Professor Rowan and Dawn and….two weirdos in bowl cuts.

“Now now, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable way to resolve this without viol-”

“Oh that’s not gonna fly”.  Beat pawed the ground <Can I get ’em Master?>  “We’ll see”.  The two goofballs in space suits sent out a Wumple and a… *eyetwitch* Zubat. “…I’ll let Ace take this one.  He needs the training.  GET EM.”  I growled, pointing Ace’s pokeball at the Wurmple and hitting the button.

Ace shot out of his pokeball the second it popped open, making a beeline for the enemy Wurmple, deftly knocking it flying with a sharp flick of his wings.  The Wurmple’s collision with the ground moments later did not do the poor thing any favors.

The Zubat stood no chance either.  Ace crippled its right wing with a quick attack and the Zubat was in no shape to avoid the stream of bubbles that Dawn’s Piplup fired at it.

Benevolent my bidoof’s front teeth.  These guys have ‘incompetent criminal nincompoops’ written all over them

And then a reporter rushed up, apparently having caught that battle on tape.  Looks like I was gonna make the evening news, lucky me.

The battle wasn’t all that rough, so I pushed on without going back to the Pokemon Center.  The cave and road ahead were a piece of cake, as I had expected.  Aside from a few oddball trainers who got utterly wrecked by my team, the trip was distraction free.  And despite his endless silence, I got the feeling Kazza was paying very close attention to the battles he was watching…I could not WAIT for this guy to evolve and be of use to the team.

Less than an hour after I left Jubilife, I walked into Flowri…umm….Florida?  No….Umm…*checks map*  Floaroma town.

I really didn’t like the look of the town, not one bit…Too many flowers.  It brought back some bad memories… Have you ever been walking through a field of flowers as a kid, only to get stung in the arm by a Beedrill while it screams <DIEDIEDIEAHAHAHAHAHAADIEEEEEEE> into your brain as it dives at you?  It’s not fun.  I swear to Arceus I still have the scars.  Both physical AND mental.

Pictured below:  How I remember it

Team Galaxia or whatever they called themselves was causing trouble on the other end of the flower field, but no force in Sinnoh was gonna make me cross that flowery sea of death.  So I headed out to the next route, wanting to get as far away from that terrible town as I could.

Of course, “Team Galaxia or whatever they called themselves” had two thugs guarding the bridge I needed to cross to get to Eterna, refusing to let anyone pass.  And it’s hard to argue with a guy who has a Skuntank out with her tail raised and pointed directly at you.

So I decided to kill some time and wander around, when I came upon a little girl looking for her papa, who had apparently been trapped by “mean guys in space suits in the valley windworks!”  …Oh for the love of Arceus.  Kidnapping?  REALLY?  Where were the cops and their stable supply of Growlithes when you needed them?

Apparently, nowhere, so it was up to me to clean this mess up.

I marched up to the valley windworks and approached the grunt on duty.  “Sorry, Team Galactic past this point only, bro” he said “We got some really important stuff going on here, and we can’t have everyone just walking in and bothering us”.  I didn’t move.

“Yup”.  “Do you know what we do to people who try to interfere?  …WE BATTLE THEM!”  “That’s it?  That’s all you do?”  “Well…THEN we order our pokemon to beat the stuffing out of the trainer”.  “Yeah, that’s not gonna fly.  Beat.  Get ’em”

Although the grunt’s Glameow was pretty decently leveled for this area, it stood no chance against the barrage of leaves that Beat unleashed.  The grunt winced as he retreated his Glameow.  “Why did they think I could guard the door with such a pathetic po-”  “Ok grunt, listen up.  You will let me in and-HEY!”.  The grunt turned around, made a mad dash for the door, and locked it behind him as Beat peppered the door with Razor Leaves.  “HAH!  There’s no way you can get in here now!  The only other key to this place is with the other grunts past the flower fields!  There’s no way you can take all of them out!”  The grunt cackled.

And so I had no choice but to go back to the flowery fields of terror.

Umm…Well…On second thought, maybe I’ll take my chances with that Skuntank…

*The original beedrill image (before I butchered it in paint) can be found here*

Diamond Version Nuzlocke Run – Part 5 – Rock out

Sorry it’s been so long, this past school semester was the heaviest one I have ever had to deal with.  I’ll try to update a little more frequently now that the moon of work has ceased trying to crush the clock town of my life.  And if you got that, give yourself a cookie, you’re officially cool.

Rock out

…Would someone tell me who, in Arceus’ name spends 2 weeks in a mine shaft and doesn’t even come out to eat?  I mean, aside from the gym leader from Oreburgh, of course.

I wanted to be polite and just wait for him to come back to man his gym, but apparently he finds rocks more interesting than pokemon battles.  How he became a gym leader I do not know…

Then again, this whole town is seemingly obsessed with mining.  I dropped by the coal museum at some point, for lack of anything better to do…and found it lacking.  Aside from one guy telling me how he’s working on a device to turn fossilized pokemon back into living ones.  He was a blast to listen to before the rest of the museum staff dragged him off, muttering something about “Oh don’t mind him, he’s a little silly.  He just doesn’t understand the joys of coal!”.

Although even that PALED in comparison to this weird guy.
Seriously.  0_o  Zubats are many things (Annoying, numerous, etc), but cute is not one of them…

Finally, Beat and I got fed up waiting and headed down into the mine.  To be honest, I was impressed with their setup.  They seemed to be switching to a more automatic mining operation, and phasing out the old machop squads that were running around pulverizing rocks.

Another Geodude attacked.  This time I took no risks.  No grass type moves.  Only tackles.

Breaker the Geodude Joins the team!

To my surprise, the mines were a lot smaller than I thought.  It was just a simple loop around.  And that’s when we found this guy.

And then he just walked out.  …….I kid you not.  He seemed to have been waiting for two weeks just to show off Rock Smash to someone, anyone.

Well, two can play at that waiting game.  I hung out in the mine for a while longer, training a bit against the workers.  And then a worker chucked out an Onix…Which Buddy made short work of, having just learned Mega Drain.  By the time I felt sunlight again, Beat had also picked up a new trick.

And so, the time finally came…”You ready, Beat?  Buddy?  This is where it all begins.”

I was confident.  I had two grass types.  I had the advantage.

Within minutes, I was facing the gym leader, Beat at my side.  Roark stood and faced us.
I jerked my thumb over my shoulder at the arena littered with leaves and exhausted and defeated Rock pokemon.  “I think we’ve got the potential you’re looking for, Roark”.  He grinned and the battle began…
<Lemme at him> Beat growled.  I shook my head.  “You’re my ace in the hole.  I’ll let Buddy start things off”.  Roark let fly a geodude….That almost immediately found itself drained and unconscious from one single Mega Drain.  Roark laughed “A fun little trick, trainer!  Let’s see how you fare against Onix!”.  Beat darted out and jumped in front of Buddy.  <Master!  Let.  Me.  FIGHT!>  I sighed “alright, alright!  Fine!”.

Roark’s Onix towered over Beat and struck at him, hard.  Beat let out a cackle and let fly a swarm of Razor sharp leaves…That the Onix swiftly dodged.  Beat was sent flying, bouncing hard off a wall.  <I got this…I got this….RAZOR LEAF!>  Again, he missed.  Again the Onix punished him.  “Beat!  Enough!”  <No..Got…to…finish…this…in one…SHOT!>  Beat finally hit his mark, peppering the Onix with sharp leaves, but although it swayed weakly, it wasn’t quite done yet…Cold sweat dripped down my neck. “Beat, you’ve done enough.  Fall back.  Buddy can finish-”  Beat snarled <I got this!  Lemme at him!  Don’t you dare pull me out!>.  “No.  You’re coming ba-STOP!”  Beat suddenly charged ahead.  For a moment I was angry, then I saw why he had charged.  Roark had taken advantage of our distraction to pull out a potion and was healing his Onix.  <OH NO YOU DON’T!  MY ENERGY!  ABSORB!>  This time, the onix didn’t remain standing.

Roark tossed out another pokeball, sending out a raptorlike beast, a “Craniados” if my pokedex was right.  Roark taunted.
I stared down his last pokemon, considering my options.  “Beat!  Let’s do this slow and steady!”.  Beat nodded, and planted his feet.  Roark must have thought I was going to retreat Beat because he yelled “Craniados!  INTERCEPT IT!  PURSUIT! GO!”.  Beat braced himself and took the hit, grabbing onto Craniados with his front paws.  <Gotcha.  ABSORB!>.  Craniados managed to wrestle itself free and get out of range faster faster than I thought, still quite healthy.  The two pokemon circled each other and Craniados suddenly charged.  <Master!  I know what to do!  Take cover!>.  I nodded.  “Take him down”.  Beat lunged forward towards his foe, and leaped into the air above him, spinning rapidly.  I suddenly realized exactly why taking cover was the only sane option, and judging by Roark’s suddenly pale face, he did too.  We both dove behind rocks as a veritable storm of sharp-edged leaves sprayed the entire gym, leaving slice marks all over the stone.

I peeked out, and nearly got trampled by the still charging Craniados, the razor leaves still stuck in its rocky hide, some wounds actually bleeding.  Blinded by the shock, it continued its reckless charge forward, collided with a wall and finally keeled over, utterly spent.  I winced as some of Craniados’ pain seeped into my Link.  Beat had given him a hell of a thrashing.  <HAH!  How was that?>  “What do you want me to say Beat?  That was…Brutal.  Not bad, just…Brutal.”  Beat snickered gleefully, taking it as the compliment it was.

Roark still looked stunned at his loss.  “Well, Trainer.  That was…A lot more than I expected from you.  That other young lad I faced before said you were a soft one.  Clearly, I was wrong to believe him.”.  Roark shook his head.

With little ceremony, he tossed me a Coal Badge.  “Well, you’ve certainly earned it.  The road ahead will be challenging, but I think you’ll do alright, trainer.  Good luck to you and that…vicious beast of yours”.

And so, I took my first real step towards my goal.  One gym badge down.  7 to go.

Ark earned the Coal Badge!