Another Pokemon Story

So I have another Pokemon story here. It’s part 3 of the story I had started long ago. I keep getting wrapped up in new projects and don’t continue the ones I created to be continued. Yeah, I have a real problem. Luckily, you can always go back to other pages of my blog and reread stories if need be. The beauty of a website. Anywho, Thanksgiving is coming up and I felt like this story would fit well with the time of being with family and having a good time. Why? Well, it’s because this part of my story features some special guests. My mom, Jackie; my dad, Kiel; some of my best friends; and a special portion of this story is focused on the villain also based off one of my best friends, Bre. And I am thankful this year for what I am thankful for every year, my friends and family. And delicious food.

Pokemon Neo: Episode 1 Part 3

Professor Elm groggily walked up the steps of the hill to his lab. The sky held dark pigments of orange and blue. The rising sun was visible in the horizon even with the abundance of Mareep fur for clouds.As the professor reached the lab he spotted Umbreon, Espeon, and myself slouched on the ground in front of his door. He pushed up his glasses. “Maze? Hey, Maze,get up.” My eyes revealed themselves as slowly as the sun.

            “Yeah, professor, what’s up?” Umbreon and Espeon joined us in consciousness.

            “I was gonna ask you that? What are you doing here at…” he checked his watch, “six in the morning?” Standing up, I answered his question.

            “Well, first of all, I’m here to pick my starter, so I can finally start my journey, second of all,” I pulled the black, rectangular box from my jacket pocket, “I had to return this sleek looking box to you, and third-” before I could finish, the doc took the box from my hand and rushed inside his lab.

            “I can’t believe it! You actually found it?! Thank you so much, if someone else got their hands on this treasure I don’t know what I would’ve done!” He immediately turned on a bunch of scanning equipment to observe the two stones that were inside the box. Umbreon, Espeon, and I just stood at the entrance, shifting our heads side to side as we watched Professor Elm run around. A minute later, the doc finally stopped in front of us. “Uh, Maze, who are your new friends?”

            “Finally he noticed us,” Espeon rolled her eyes. Umbreon did the same. Giving a soft chuckle, I replied to the doc’s question.

            “These are my new partners, Umbreon and Espeon. I met them while searching for your box last night. And they are the third reason why I came to see you so early in the morning.” Professor Elm stroked his chin and gave me a look of intrigue.

            “What’s so troubling about them that you need to see me?”

            “Well, you see, doc…that’s kinda a long story.” After telling the professor everything that happened to me yesterday, including the fights against Bre and the event of almost dying in the fire, the siblings were immediately examined on many of the lab’s machines. “I have no idea how Espeon could use icy wind, but she did. My parents couldn’t figure it out either, so I thought you could help, sense Pokémon abilities are what you specialize in.” The professor continued to observe the data he got from the siblings on his computer monitors. Snapcakes. I hate it when he does this, I thought. There’s no reason for me to say anything, it’s not like he’s listening. I sat at the table in the center of the lab, arms crossed. I decided to take in all of the sights of the lab since it would be my last day in it for a while.

At both sides of the front door were orange couches with mahogany coffee tables and several bookshelves accompanied the walls. The shelves lead to the center of the building which was a circular room that had a giant supercomputer on the left side with a Pokémon transfer system connected to it while the scanning machines were on the other wall. The back wall was a huge window that showed the flat, open grassy field behind the lab. At the very center, where I was sitting, was the large, blue and white examination table that the professor did most of his work on as well as inspect any Pokémon, artifact, or peculiar object brought to him. In the main part of the building there was a visible second level that had more books and desks topped with a huge mess of paperwork, chemistry lab tools, and colored substances. There’s also a kitchen up there.

            “I’m all done with these two.” Umbreon and Espeon jumped onto the table I was sitting at. Professor Elm laid charts in front of me showing Umbreon and Espeon’s body structure. “If you look at the cells in each of their bodies, they seem to be a tiny bit larger than normal.” He put two more charts on top of the others, this time showing DNA strands and two multicolored pictures of brains. “If you look here, there seems to be an anomaly in their DNA. Parts of their strains seem almost crystalized, but instead of damaging their bodies, the crystallization is enhancing their body structure. Kind of like a mutation. And their brain activity is highlighted more in the area where Pokémon retain information on moves and abilities that they have learned throughout the years. That means they are using a higher percentage of that part of their brain than any of their species.” I looked up at Professor Elm.

            “So, you’re saying that the energy from that stone heightened Umbreon and Espeon’s abilities and body, which caused them to learn moves that they normally couldn’t?” The doc nodded.

            “Precisely. There is more to this effect of course, but I will have to study this anomaly further to come to an accurate conclusion on the matter.”

            “Do you need them to do it or is it ok for them to travel with me?” The doc noticed the anxiety in my eyes.

            “Don’t worry, I have enough data to do research without these two here. They are free to go with you on your journey.” Professor Elm pressed a button on the table that made part of it slide open, allowing a metal platform to rise up. Three Pokéballs rested on it. “If you still want, the offer to befriend one of the starter Pokémon of the Johto region is still available. Even though you have Pokémon of your own now, I’ll let you take one of these little guys with you as a thank you for all of your help.” The doc smiled as he awaited my decision.

            “Of course, doc. I would never refuse the chance to make new friends.” I picked up the Pokéball with the flame symbol on it and threw it across the room. “I choose you!” A Cyndaquil jumped out of the ball and walked towards me. It nudged my leg and let out a cute little cry. I knelt down and petted its soft, blue head. “So, buddy, how would you like to join me and these two on a journey around the world?” It nodded happily. “Sounds groovy.” Cyndaquil then proceeded to nibble at my blue and yellow shirt. Umbreon wacked my supporting leg on its side so hard that I lost my balance and smacked the hard wood floor face first. I quickly got back up onto my knees and grabbed the little jerk by the ears. Umbreon cried out with defiance as I tugged. “Well, that’s what you get for being a little shit.” Espeon sighed.

            “Will you two be civil for a moment?” Umbreon and I paused and turned our attention to Espeon. “Though, my brother was harsh in saying so, he was trying to tell you that he disproves of letting Cyndaquil join our team.” I let my oppressor fall to the floor. He landed safely on his feet and proudly strutted away.

            “Why is that?” I asked.

            “This particular Cyndaquil is newly hatched. My brother doubts he’d be able to protect himself much less any of us while we’re traveling.” She said. I sat with my legs crossed. Cyndaquil huffed as he climbed over my knee and into my lap.

            “That’s when training comes in. He’ll grow as we grow and become stronger together. I have a feeling he’s got all out fire in that belly that’s yearning to fly. Even if Cyndaquil doesn’t realize it yet.” Cyndaquil couldn’t help but laugh while I tickled his belly. I noticed Umbreon turning his back to me as if he was dissatisfied with my answer. Distracted by what Umbreon might have been thinking, Cyndaquil took the opportunity to nibble on my hand. “Hey, I’d really like it if you didn’t do that, okay?”

            “It seems he needs some breakfast,” said the professor. At that moment, my stomach growled and I shrugged embarrassingly.

            “He’s not the only one,” I laughed.

            “Maze, we found you!” Sam cried out as he rounded the hilltop. Brett, Jose, and Andrew were close behind. I was chomping down on an apple as I watched Cyndaquil play with his new friends among the soft grass.

            “So, you chose Cyndaquil too. Just had to copy me, didn’t you?” Brett said.

            “I told you years ago I was gonna choose him, so don’t act so smug.” I said. They all sat around me in the grass.

            “Maze?” Andrew started. “What the heck happened to you last night? We’ve been calling, texting, I was even forced out of my comfy bed, playin’ my videogames just to go out with these idiots into the woods looking for ya.” He sounded like he went out on a pointless and annoying errand. “And I walk up all of these stairs…” Oh look, he’s not done ranting. My face resembled that of a teacher being humored with another stupid reason why a student didn’t do their homework. The others just talked among themselves and asked me questions while Andrew went on. “…just to find you laying around, doing absolutely nothin’, while these little fur balls play in the sun. By themselves no less! You don’t even have the decency to play with your own Pokémon!” He spotted the apple I was chomping on. “Not to mention the fact that you’re here eating breakfast while these poor, tiny creatures starve to death in the summer sun! What kind of trainer are you?!”

            “Well, I-” I tried to respond.

            “A terrible one, that’s what. I feel sorry for these little guys and all the other Pokémon you surprisingly catch in the future.” I knew he’d do that, he always does that. He makes it all melodramatic, too. As if he’s putting on a Shakespearian play.

            “Hey, Maze? Where did the Umbreon and Espeon come from?” Sam asked.

            “They finally noticed. Are all of your friends this oblivious?” Espeon said. Umbreon scoffed as he laid down in the grass.

            “Woah that Espeon just spoke!” Jose’s eyes grew to the size of watermelons. And he wasn’t alone.

            “Yea. She uses psychic to speak to me. She doesn’t usually speak to everyone.”

            “I thought it was important to express how strange they are.” She said.I burst out laughing.

            “That sounds like something Umbreon would say. Actually, he would’ve called them stupid.” Umbreon nodded softly. “It’s true my friends are strange but they are actually pretty cool sometimes.”

            “What do you mean ‘sometimes’!?” The guys said simultaneously.

            “Calm down, guys. Geez. You want to know what happened, right?” I asked. They nodded. “Then shut up and listen.” Once again I relived last night’s eventful stroll through Team Rocket’s base, but I told them the complete story. “…And then I told the doc, got Cyndaquil, ate, came out here to play, and then you guys showed up, and now we’re here.”

            “I don’t believe you,” said Brett.

            “Me neither.” Andrew agreed. My friends don’t believe me when I tell them a crazy story? What a shocker. He said with so much sarcasm, I thought. I sighed and took off my jacket, so that I could roll up my sleeves to show off the burn marks on my skin. “Holy crapsicle, Maze! How did you survive?!”

            “Well, if you listened to my story, you’d know.” I said.

            “You’re lucky you didn’t die,” Sam said concerned.

            “I had luck and this amazing duo with me.” I gestured to Umbreon and Espeon. Espeon smiled back.

            “Which is why you need to show us something, son.” A woman’s voice announced. We all turned to find my parents walking toward us.

            “Show you what, Mom?” I said even though I knew exactly what they were doing there.

            “Just like your sisters, you have to beat either your mother or I in a battle before we let you go on your adventure,” Dad chimed in. “You can’t leave until we see that you can take care of yourself out in the world. With more than luck.” He started tossing a Pokéball in the air. “You ready, son?” He had a mocking smile. I got on my feet as Umbreon and Espeon calmly joined me on either side. Cyndaquil, being just a baby, wasn’t sure what was happening and just copied Umbreon’s battle stance.

            “We’re ready,” I said confidently.

            We stepped onto the battlefield behind the lab. A large, white, rectangular arena was outlined in the grass. At each end were small rectangular spaces for the trainers and halfway across the field another line stretched into a Pokéball in the center. Umbreon, Espeon, and I stood in one end while my dad stood in the other. My parents had all their Pokémon enjoying the morning weather. Dad’s Donphan, Onix, and Larvitar as well as Mom and her Sceptile, Swellow, Gliscor, and Torkoal were watching on the side lines along with my friends. Needless to say I have a huge family. And they were all here watching the oncoming fight. “You know the rules. You can pick anyone of your mother’s or I’s Pokémon, excluding the ones we picked ahead of time.” Mom and Dad always chose Sceptile and Houndoom as their partners, respectively. Houndoom had been sitting obediently beside my father. Something was different about him, though. I could see a collar on him with a stone attached in the center. It looked just like the stone I delivered to Professor Elm.

            “Woah, is that a mega stone!? You can’t use that, that’s so unfair!” I shouted to dad. He stuck his tongue out at me.

            “I can do what I want, it’s fair if I say it is.” He said in a mocking tone. My eyes squinted as my expression turned from “stupefied” to “what the hell.” My mother held her face in one hand as she shook her head.

            “He’s such a child,” I heard her mumble. What a little shit, I thought. How am I gonna beat him if he can mega evolve? This is so lame. I stood there thinking of a plan. My cheeks puffed up as I thought. Umbreon nudged my leg. “Let’s kick his ass,” he seemed to say. Even though I could no longer hear his voice in my head, it was easy to tell what he was trying to tell me.

            “Alright then,” I nodded. “I’m not gonna battle with them today. I want to defeat you both with my own Pokémon.” Umbreon stepped into the arena. “Hey, Cyndaquil. Watch the battle closely, alright?” Cyndaquil gave a small cry.

            “Ok, son, but I’m not gonna take it easy on you!” Dad shouted. He showed off the rainbow colored key stone embedded in his watch. Can he still tell time with that thing?

            “Each trainer is allowed one Pokémon! The trainer whose partner faints first or goes out of bounds is the loser!” The professor said. Houndoom walked onto the field. My dad flipped his blue cap backwards. Umbreon crouched. I took a deep breath as the moment finally arrived. I’ve watched on the sidelines as my sisters battled our parents. Now it was my turn. At that moment, the world froze longer than the Ice Age and all of the color faded away. The air filled with complete silence as my ears absorbed my slow, deep breathes. Steadily, I started to boil inside, the world around me shrunk until only the battle field remained. I smirked. “Let the battle begin!” All at once, vigor awakened in full bloom.

            “Umbreon use iron tail!” I told him. He ran ahead and hopped into the air. His tail turned into metal.

            “Houndoom, catch him with fire fang,” Dad commanded. Right before Umbreon made contact, Houndoom bared his teeth, encompassed in flames. With his fangs, he grabbed Umbreon’s tail. Umbreon and I both had wide eyes. “Now throw him to the ground,” Dad said. His partner whipped his head, along with Umbreon, in the air. And then dropped, slamming my partner to the ground. Grass and a bit of dust flew above the earth. “Use flamethrower.” The attacks were relentless.

            “Get away now!” I said. Umbreon scurried away before a stream of fire left Houndoom’s mouth. The little guy ran away as the fire followed him around the field. I had to think of a way to dodge those attacks but didn’t know how. Then I remembered. The night before, Umbreon and Espeon told me the moves they knew. “Umbreon, go underground!” Luckily, he understood and dug a hole into the ground barely dodging a fire blast. For a moment, the field was silent. Dad and Houndoom had their guard up, scanning the area. I didn’t know how, but I could tell exactly where Umbreon was. The second I felt he was in place I told him, “attack!” He came up fast and hard. Umbreon popped up from underneath the huge, spikey dog, head-butting him right in the face. “Nice one! Hit ’em with iron tail!” With one swift swing, Umbreon knocked Houndoom to the side. “Yeah!” I cheered. Umbreon smiled back at me. We can win, I thought.

            “What are you cheering about!? You haven’t won!” Said Dad. “Go! Hit them with thunder fang!” Dad’s eyes were no longer open, bright, and cheery. They were narrowed, impenetrable, calculating.

            “Dodge it!” I said. Umbreon zig-zagged across the field, barely avoiding his pursuer’s electrified fangs. Is it just me or is Umbreon slower than usual? Umbreon’s speed was no match against his opponent. He’s gonna take a hit no matter what, better make it count. “Payback now!” He looked at me like I was crazy, but quickly understood. He stopped and let Houndoom bite down on his shoulder and throw him across the field. However, Umbreon did something I didn’t think of. He landed on his feet and used the momentum from the throw to build up speed as he charged his opponent engulfed in a black and purple aura. The attack knocked Houndoom a few feet away. Unfortunately, he didn’t sustain a lot of damage since he was a dark type like Umbreon. Umbreon tried to get some distance between him and Houndoom but tripped as he was starting to run. Holy Snapcakes! That’s when I realized. He was getting slower because he was badly injured. He had a bad burn on his hind leg, which must mean that he didn’t entirely dodge that first flamethrower. Damn. How could I have missed that? We need to change tactics. “Listen up, buddy!” The little rascal looked my way. His face winced at the pain. “We’re switching it up. We’re gonna need to attack from below and I mean relentlessly, got it?” He nodded. “Great then use dig.”Houndoom failed to stop Umbreon from burrowing into the field.

            “Watch your back, big guy! They’re tricky.” Dad and his partner surveyed the area again. I gave a minute for Umbreon to rest his injury and set up the attack. And once the time was right,

            “Let’s go!” I called. Umbreon came out from behind Houndoom, swiped at the beast with his paw, and retreated back underground. While the pooch was disoriented, Umbreon came up, attacked again, and when back under. He was determined to make this plan work even with his injury. And he was succeeding. The constant attacks were slowing Houndoom down, weakening him. That was until…

            “That’s enough of that. Houndoom use flamethrower.” Following dad’s orders, big, dark, and scary poked his head into one of the holes Umbreon made and blew fire into it.

            “Umbreon, get out of there!” I yelled, but to no avail. Fire spewed out of every hole around the field and Umbreon flew out of the one closest to me. “Umbreon, no!” I cried. I didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t unconscious, meanwhile, he could barely stand on his feet and he had burn marks all over. I could feel Espeon’s soul tighten as if an Arbok had wrapped itself around her. Even so, she kept a sturdy composure. Probably for my sake. I knew Dad wasn’t gonna go easy, but this is insane, I thought. So, this is what a Pokémon battle is like against a powerful opponent. This is probably the equivalent of a gym battle. My parents never did anything without a reason. They always had a lesson to teach. I guess that’s what this battle was really for. Not to test, but to teach.

            “Finish this!” Dad roared. Houndoom stood on the other side of the battleground by my father. He took a moment to focus and then released a dark ray of rings toward Umbreon. Houndoom’s dark pulse. Even though it’s a dark type move, it would still do enough damage to Umbreon if it made contact.

            “Counterattack!” I yelled in the heat of the moment. Then Umbreon did something no one was expecting. The yellow rings on his body glowed and he fired a blast of electricity at Houndoom. The two moves collided at the center of the field. For a moment the attacks were even, but Umbreon lost power and the dark pulse hit the ground in front of him. He was sent flying in the air. Before he crash-landed I rushed over and dove to the ground, catching him in my arms. Umbreon’s eyes were shaky spirals.

            “Umbreon is unable to battle! The winner is Houndoom and Kiel!” The professor announced. Everyone clapped and cheered. Cyndaquil and Espeon waited anxiously beside me as we watched Umbreon open his eyes.

            “Thank goodness, you’re alright,” said Espeon. Umbreon snickered. “We almost had him,” he seemed to tell me.

            “Looks like he’s proud of your performance,” My mom said from behind me. “You had fun, didn’t you?” Umbreon nodded at her question. “That’s good. If you don’t have fun battling, then you shouldn’t battle. Simple as that.” Mom smiled and walked toward the opposite side of the field. As she passed Dad, they high fived like Dad was tagging her in. Dad and Houndoom stood before me while Umbreon got back to his feet.

            “Now you know what a real battle is like. Scary isn’t it?” Dad smiled.

            “That’s an understatement,” I responded softly.

            “You did a good job, son. Umbreon too. In order for you both to get stronger, you need to work as a team. You need to have a strong bond with your friends. Isn’t that right, pal?” Dad petted Houndoom who roared in return. “Now that you know what to expect, go give your mother a hard time.” He stood with the rest of his Pokémon on the sidelines. Before following his partner, the big dog smiled at Umbreon and me as a sign of his approval.

            “Maze,” Espeon called, “It’s our turn. And I’m ready to win.” I laughed.

            “Yeah, let’s give them a show.” I told her. Espeon stood in the field in front of me as Umbreon, Cyndaquil, and I stood back in the trainer spot.

            “You can do it, Maze!”

            “You better win, bro!”

            “If you lose again, I’m gonna laugh so hard!”

            “I believe in you two!” My friends’ somewhat reassuring cheers increased my confidence. I knew my mother was serious because she put on her leather, fingerless gloves while Sceptile got into position. I need to get in the zone this time, I thought. I threw my jacket to the grass behind me, rolled up my sleeves, and fixed the position of my beanie.

            “Let the match begin!” Professor Elm announced.

            “Alright, Espeon, hit ‘em with swift,” I said. It was better to attack from a distance and try to lead Sceptile to us with the chance of him falling into a hole. With one swish of Espeon’s split tail a slew of gold stars flew at Sceptile.

            “Leaf blade,” Mom said softly. The leaves on Sceptile’s arms combined and turned into single, razor sharp blades. He destroyed the stars with short and rapid swipes. I’ve seen Mom and Sceptile battle before and Mom barely ever raised her voice when giving a command. It’s like she says it just for herself, her Pokémon already knows what to do. “Get up close and use dragon claw.” In a split second, Sceptile disappeared from his initial position and reappeared in front of Espeon. His hands were engulfed in claws made from a green aura. Espeon dodged it before I could say anything. How she kept up with Sceptile’s speed, I had no idea, but I was glad she did. She was holding her own against the onslaught until she lost her footing on the edge of a hole. Mom let out a dubious smile. Sceptile went in for the attack.

            “I don’t think so,” I said, smiling back. “Block with iron tail and jump into the air!” Espeon followed my command flawlessly. She slammed her tail on one claw and used it as leverage to thrust herself into the sky, successfully dodging the second claw. “Let’s see them fight us in the air,” I mumbled. “Use swift again!” Espeon did so while Sceptile was blinded by the bright sun.

            “Leaf blade once again,” said Mom. Sceptile was ready to strike.

            “Not this time. Espeon, Psychic.” I didn’t have to tell her anything else, she knew what I was thinking. The overgrown gecko may have protected himself from a few of the stars, but Espeon used psychic on the rest, changing their trajectory in order to hit him from behind. Sceptile staggered about after the stars exploded, making an opening for us. “Iron tail, now!”

            “Dodge and use leaf storm,” Mom commanded. Sceptile flashed out of Espeon’s sight. He reappeared on her left. A spiral of leaves erupted from the gecko’s body and surrounded Espeon, thrusting her back into the air. Everyone watched as the green twister flew around the field, spinning over and over, for what felt like hours before finally crashing into the ground. Espeon stumbled on her way to her feet. She had cuts all over her body. Our opponents took advantage of the situation and gave her one jaw-dropping blow to the gut with their dragon claw. However, one wasn’t enough. They rained down a barrage of punches. Espeon blasted Sceptile’s mind with psychic, giving her time to gain some distance between them. “Don’t let them get away,” Mom ordered. Sceptile shook off the attack and rushed Espeon.

            “Dodge him!” I cried. Espeon dodged left and right from her pursuer’s jabs. At some points she used iron tail to deflect a dragon claw or leaf blade. I contemplated a better strategy while Mom and Sceptile were being held off.

            “We’ve got this,” Espeon told me. I saw her smiling on the field. It wasn’t just her. Mom and Sceptile were having also enjoying themselves. Even under so much pressure, I couldn’t help but love such a heart-punching challenge.

            “Bulldoze.” Mom’s new command electrified my mind. In my head, Espeon and I both shouted, “What!?” Without hesitation, Sceptile stomped on the ground, which caused not just the field, but a good amount of space around the battleground to rumble. The move made Espeon and me stumble to the grass. “Fun’s over you two! Finish it with leaf storm and then leaf blade,” said Mom. Fuck, I thought. Espeon became engulfed in another fury of leaves and headed straight for Sceptile. This is gonna be close.

            “Espeon! Ride the storm!” I shouted. As she tumbled in the frenzy, Espeon positioned herself so that she was facing Sceptile at the opening of the storm. Bearing the pain of the leaves cutting at her body. I rose to my feet. “Groovy! Use icy wind!”

            “What?!” My mother was baffled. In fact, everyone in the audience shared the same expression. They were whispering among themselves, trying to figure out what I meant. If I was using some kind of code to throw Mom off or if I was just that dumb. It was no trick, but it threw Sceptile off for a second before counterattacking with his leaf blade. And that second was all we needed. Espeon spewed cold air from her mouth causing the front end of the storm to turn to ice and decelerate, cushioning the blow from the leaf blade. Though injured, she still landed on her feet.

            “Use swift!” I ordered.

            “Jump in the air!” Mom shouted. As planned, Sceptile jumped up before Espeon made her move.

            “Go ahead and freeze the ground,” I told Espeon.

            “Here goes!” She yelled before covering the entire field in a sheet of ice.

            “Break it!” Mom yelled. As Sceptileapproached the ground he used dragon claw and broke part of the ice. However, heended up in one of the holes the ice was covering. Huh. I wasn’t expecting that, but whatever works. “Climb back up!”Mom was even more flustered.

            “Go for it, buddy,” I said. Just as Sceptile’s upper body rose above the hole, Espeon greeted him with an iron tail slam to the gut. Sceptile flew several feet out. He was struggling to rise again to continue the fight. Then the Professor called out.

            “The fight is over! Sceptile is unable to battle. The winners are Espeon and Maze!” Everyone’s faces were in awe.

            “Wait, why?” I asked. When they heard the question, everyone laughed. Even Sceptile.

            “Look closely, son,” Mom said, “my Pokémon’s out of bounds.” I looked where mother’s partner was and upon closer inspection I realized that Sceptile was standing in the grass while just a couple feet away from him was the frosted field line. My face put on a huge smile, which turned into a full-blown laugh. Exhausted, my legs turned to jelly, and I collapsed to my knees. Espeon jumped on me, knocking me on my ass. Umbreon and Cyndaquil joined in the pile. I just kept laughing. “You did a great job,” Mom told Sceptile as she petted him. Standing up, my friends surrounded me like my own personal cheer squad.

            “You did it, Maze!” Sam announced.

            “You took your sweet time,” Brett said.

            “Wow. Just wow. You got so freakin’ lucky,” said Andrew.

            “You’re a free man, now,” Jose proclaimed.

            “It was all thanks to Espeon, she did the hard work.” I said.

            “We worked as a team,” said Espeon. Umbreon and Cyndaquil cheered.

            “That you did. You two make quite a pair,” Mom told us. She and Dad approached us.

            “You know what she said?” I asked.

            “Yep. And I can tell you both have made quite the connection yourselves. You just need to obtain a strong connection like that with all of your other Pokémon from now on.” My mother’s ability to understand every Pokémon like she spoke their language always astounded me. She told me it was a family trait or something. Dad could only understand his own Pokémon and that took a while.

            “Congrats, son, you passed,” Dad said, extending his hand to me. I took it and returned to my feet. “So, where are you going from here?” That was a hard question. Many kids nowadays started their journeys in other regions instead of in the one they were from. They even waited to receive their starter until they reached their region of choice.

            “You’re coming to the Hoenn region with us, right?” Sam asked. Jose and Andrew were also awaiting my answer. I thought about this for a while, though it was never necessary. I made up my mind as soon as they asked me years before.

            “Nope. Sorry, fellas, but I feel like I should explore the Johto region first and go from there.” I answered.

            “Aww,” they said simultaneously. Their eyes slumped.

            “Don’t worry, man, I’ll keep you company,” Brett said with a smile. At least I had one friend traveling with me.

            “Groovy smoothies! This should be fun,” I said.

            After a few hours of rest, last minute packing, and visiting people to say goodbye to, my friends and I met back at the pier south of town.

            “Well, this is it,” I said. We stood on the platform in front of a huge cruise ship. We were all happy to finally start our adventures but saddened by the fact we were splitting up the gang. “Don’t worry, guys, we’ll see each other again at the Pokémon league.” I tried to reassure them.

            “We better, Maze.” Sam commanded. “Or we’re gonna come looking for you guys.”

            “Please don’t leave me with these idiots forever. I’m gonna die,” Andrew added.

            “Don’t have too much fun without us,” Jose chimed in.

            “You know we will,” Brett said. I just chuckled softly.

            “Wait! Don’t leave yet!” A voicecalled out from the main deck at our backs. We all watched patiently as theProfessor ran toward us. “I need to give you all these.” The doc handed each ofus our very own Pokédex. It was rectangular and red and could fit in my handwell enough that my fingers reached across the entire screen. On the sides ofit were yellow grip strips and a small black antenna poked out from the top inthe form of the top half of a trapezoid. Just beneath the center of the devicewas a black circle with a blue sphere in the middle. Just above it, a small,green, cylindrical glass had been embedded in the device. When I pressed theblue sphere, the device flipped open to reveal two screens. The top screenshowed Espeon, which I guess had been scanned already, and the bottom screenshowed her as well as Umbreon and a bunch of silhouettes in portraits. AboveUmbreon and Espeon’s pictures, in their little squares, were numbers next to aPokéball symbol.

            “These are awesome!” Brett exclaimed.

            “Yea, thanks so much professor,” Sam said.

            “You’re welcome, boys. Now your jobs are to find every Pokémon there is and scan their data into your Pokédex.” The doc instructed.

            “Of course, these things come with a catch,” I said. The others grunted. Even Sam, who was usually happy to receive homework.

            “Take good care of them, they’re brand new. And have fun on your travels, I wish you luck.” Said the professor. With that, the doc bid us farewell. After he left, the blow horn of the cruise ship blared across the port.

            “Group hug?” Sam asked.

            “Nah, I’m cool,” I said.

            “I’m good, too,” Brett agreed. Sam dropped his arms. And his head.

            “Fine, last one,” I sighed.

            “Yippee!” Sam shouted. He jumped with joy. That bum knew I’d give in to his puppy dog eyes. We hugged for the last time and the trio boarded the ship. Brett and I waved one last goodbye from atop the hill near the road out of town.

            “You two ready?” I looked at Umbreon and Espeon. They nodded happily.

            “We’re ready, too.” Brett said with his Cyndaquil resting comfortably on his shoulder.

            “Alright,then. Let’s get this show on the road.” I told them as I walked into the forest. On our way to Violet City.

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