POKÉMON ADVENTURES: OPAL AND AMETHYST

Typhlosion

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Hello, everyone! I'm excited beyond words to embark upon this project, a Pokémon Adventures-style showcase of my very own fan region! Despite being inspired by the manga this will be a purely text-based adventure. I'm not sure how well I'll be able to transition between the two styles, but I'm going to give it my best shot. My plan as of right now is that each new post will be split into two main parts. The first will be the new round, or chapter, that I've written for the update. I intend to barrel through the story without interrupting, throwing around all my fictionalized creations as though you know exactly what I'm talking about, so the flow isn't bogged down with lots of explanation. That'll come in the second part of the post, where I'll put a running log of all the new things encountered.

A disclaimer before we begin: this is a fan region, the accumulation of various ideas and chains of thought stretching back years. Many of these ideas, in their original forms at least, predate even Generation VI. Inevitably, as official Pokémon creators continue to churn out new products, there has been some overlap and similarity between our designs, such as a prominent character named Magnolia (very recently, curses) and the concept of an exceptionally speedy, bird-of-prey Fire/Flying type (looking at you, Talonflame). I give my word of honor that at some point in the (possibly distant) past I came up with all these concepts independently and I'm not trying to copy anything, though there's not much more I can offer here except "great minds think alike," I suppose. Anyhow, I am not going to retract or alter any of my original plans just because Game Freak beat me to the punch. If while reading this you run across a creation that looks cheekily familiar in whatever way, that's what it is.

And so, allow me to finally welcome you...to the Ilona Region!
 

Typhlosion

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Great Index

I'll use this post to keep an updated list (spoiler alert!) of all created elements and links to the specific post where its information is found. As the story progresses and more things are introduced and/or fleshed out I might go back to expand older entries as well, so this should help you find everything pretty quickly.


1. Quembar Town
2. Masolin Town
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43-48. Unused
Routes as they are numbered:
49
50
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57
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Typhlosion

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Sunlight shafts down from the gap between the poorly closed curtains. It lands on the face of the girl lying in bed, and she rolls over with a groan and seems to go back to sleep. The peace of the room is shattered when she sits up with a start and throws back the covers. Her iridescent blue eyes are bright, betraying no drowsiness. "Time for another day!" the girl announces to no one in particular. She reaches over the side of her bed, to where another small bed is placed. The sleeping Pokémon within grumbles as it's tickled awake. "And today is a very special day, Wyrmer," continues the Pokémon's Trainer. "Do you know why?" Wyrmer blinks up at her with a blank stare. "It's my birthday, silly!"

From beyond the closed bedroom door, a muffled voice calls. "Opal? Are you up yet?"

Opal grins broadly. "We can't keep everybody waiting!" She hops out of bed and crouches down, allowing Wyrmer to wriggle up her arm to its favorite perch on her shoulders. Slipping on a worn pair of running shoes and snatching Wyrmer's Poké Ball off her nightstand, she throws open the door with an unapologetic bang.

Downstairs everyone is gathered around the breakfast table in the central room of the small house. "There you are, young lady!" booms one of the two men. "We can't very well have our special birthday breakfast without the birthday girl, but I was about to get started on lunch!"

Opal flaps her hand dismissively. "It's a miracle you're even up before I am, Uncle Jeremiah!" Then she peers around the room. "Was Veronica able to make it last night?"

"I'm afraid not, my dear," Jeremiah apologizes with a sigh. "But"--his eyes light up--"she did ask me to make sure you got this." He produces a small package from beneath his chair and sets it on the table. He reads the tag. "To my favorite cousin, Opal. One day I hope you'll come show me how you've put this to good use!"

Opal rolls her eyes. "I'm Veronica's only cousin!" Still, she reaches enthusiastically for the present, until there's a flash of motion. Wyrmer launches itself in front of Opal, blocking her way to the present. It wriggles, angry but cute, and mimes eating.

The family collapses in exasperation while Jeremiah chuckles heartily. "That's one smart Pokémon you've got there!"

Opal beams with joy as her mother, her father, her uncle, and her Pokémon all sing Happy Birthday, and then they tuck in.

Opal's plate is clean in a matter of moments. "Another year has come and gone, but her appetite remains the same," her mother sighs ruefully. At the same time Wyrmer looks up from its empty bowl with a burp. "You, too!" Opal's mother scolds. "But at least you don't eat as much!"

"Alright! Now it's your turn!" The birthday girl grabs her package with a look of glee. Undoing the ribbon and lifting off the top, she sees a pristine, unused Ultra Ball nestled inside. Her jaw drops, and she lets out a squeal that knocks everybody else in the house over. "IS THIS FOR ME?!"

"Yes, yes, it's for you, I promise!" cries Jeremiah. "Picked out by Veronica herself."

"Wow! I'd never be able to get my hands on one of these by myself! Best birthday ever!" Opal dances around the table like a whirlwind, then halts suddenly as a thought strikes her. "And she said she wants me to put it to good use, didn't she?!" The dancing resumes even more frenetically than before. "Come on, Wyrmer! It's time for a run! And this time, when I come back, I won't only have some neat items...we're going to have a brand-new Pokémon!" Hastily returning her beloved but slow partner to its Poké Ball, she practically flies out the front door of her house, off on a far more exciting quest than she could have believed just an hour ago.

Her father throws open a window to yell after her. "Hey! Don't you be running on Route 49 today! A news report said the wild Pokémon down that way were acting agitated...do you hear me, Opal Jade?!" Not sure if Opal heard him, he shakes his head and retreats back inside.

Still sitting at the table, Jeremiah is looking uncharacteristically somber. "She's still on about that 'neat items' business, is she?" He tries for a weak smile at his brother and sister-in-law but ends up hanging his head. To himself Jeremiah mumbles, "Not quite sure how to say this..." He looks back up and declares, "I'm sorry if that Ultra Ball causes more problems for you two. Maybe it wasn't the best idea. I knew it could mean another mouth to feed, but..."

Opal's father waves his hand. "We know you mean no harm. And you and your daughter have been very good to us already. There's still some life left in Quembar Town yet! Things will pick up once that big construction project is finished, just you wait and see."

Jeremiah nods, humbled and satisfied by that answer. Outside in the bright sunny day, such thoughts are far from Opal, who seems to have the whole world spread out before her.
Pronounced "ill-OH-nuh"
This wouldn't exactly be a fan region without a new region, would it? The name "Ilona" doesn't mean anything in particular; I made it up to sound similar to the names of other regions. The region is complete with its own Pokémon League, characters, and of course Pokémon. Geographically, it's located north of Kanto, northeast of Johto, and south of Sinnoh. It's the setting of this story, and of the hypothetical games Opal and Amethyst Versions.
Pronounced "WORM-urr" (the two syllables rhyme)
A Ground-type Basic Pokémon. Known for being small and weak, like the Tynamo of Ilona. Designwise it's primarily based on an earthworm that has underdeveloped eyes and tiny vestigial wings. The last element, and its name, are derived from wyrms. Its body is mostly a monochrome peachy brown, with a few darker segments.
Wyrmer's moveset is small and consists of: Tackle, Whimper, Sand Attack, and Mud-Slap, known from level 1, and Thrash and Fissure much later.
A Normal-type status move with priority 0 that bypasses accuracy checks to always hit. Whimper lowers the target's Attack and Special Attack by one stage each.
Opal is an only child who has grown up with her father and mother. Her father's brother Jeremiah and his daughter Veronica have also had a large presence in the young Opal's life.
Because Ilona is designed to be geographically adjacent to Kanto and Johto, I decided to continue with their numbering scheme for routes. Since the last numbered route in Johto as of HGSS is 48, that makes Route 49 the first route of Ilona. It travels southwest of Quembar Town, running through a short valley between two bluffs.
Opal's hometown. Also the player's hometown in a video game of this region, and the starting point of his/her journey. Its name is a simple mashup of "quest" and "embark," since that's exactly what goes on here.
 
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Calaf

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This looks really cool! I love the concept and I like the way you've set up the updates as well, with the story getting enough room to flow, followed by a more detailed explanation of various things. I look forward to seeing where you go with this!
 

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Route 50, northeast of Quembar Town

A small Pokémon, nose twitching inquisitively, pops up out of its burrow and blinks in the sunlight. A small plume of dust in the distance catches its attention, and it gazes somberly in that direction for several moments before diving out of sight once again.

Across the open, sun-washed stretch of grassland, Opal's feet pound the dusty earth in a regular rhythm. She cuts back and forth, sticking to almost imperceptible and yet well-worn paths that wind over the rolling terrain. Signs of life are all around her; she can see many different Pokémon winging through the skies or traversing the land just like she is. In between admiring them and keeping an eye on her footing, Opal keeps stealing glances at the Ultra Ball clutched firmly in her hand. "Gah, I'm so excited I can hardly focus!" she pants. "But sort of Pokémon should I use you to catch? There are so many choices! What do you think, Wyrmer?"

From within its Poké Ball, the little Ground-type blinks up at its Trainer silently before curling back down into a circle. Opal huffs at it good-naturedly. "Yeah, I guess we'll just know when the time comes!"

Opal continues her run, eventually picking up the track beside a smooth, clear brook. Some time later she flops down in the scant shade offered by a washed-out hillside. "Phew, that was a good few miles!" Opal grunts with a mighty stretch. She meanders over to the side of the brook and stoops for a drink and to splash her face, but is distracted by a rattling on her belt. "Huh? What is it, Wyrmer?"

Wyrmer shakes in its Poké Ball again, and Opal taps the release button. The Pokémon inside pops out energetically and begins squirming toward the crumbly rise, and Opal feigns annoyance. "Oh, yes, I suppose that would be a marvelous spot for you to play in the mud... actually, you might be on to something after all." The earth seems rich, streaked with different bands all exposed together. "This'd be as good a spot as any to rustle up some... treasure!"

Wyrmer needs no further encouragement; it launches itself into the wall of soil and commences tunneling away.

Clods of soil fly out of the hole. Opal turns with a grimace and shields her face, but her practiced eyes take notice when one particularly large chunk lands at her feet. "Oh? What have we here?" she muses. Opal snatches up the chunk and returns to the stream to wash it.

After a bit of vigorous scrubbing, the nature of the object becomes clear. Opal's face lights up. "Hey! It's a Fairy Gem! These are pretty rare; I've only ever seen them in pictures before!" Thoughts run through her head. In addition to their value as jewels, which is considerable itself, she knows the items called Gems are prized by some Pokémon Trainers as well. "This ought to fetch a decent price," she grins. Opal trots back over to the earthen bank and cups her hands around the hole left by her Pokémon. "Keep it up, Wyrmer!"

The echoes of her call reverberate through the earth. Opal blinks in surprise as the tremors don't die away, but are sustained. In fact, the shaking only grows more intense and pronounced. She backs away in alarm, staring up at the rumbling hill. "Wyrmer? What's going on?!"

The shaking comes to a crescendo. Opal screams and flings herself back against the wall of dirt when a sudden shadow swoops over her. It's followed by many more, all of them accompanied by wild braying cries. Opal looks up to see the bellies of a herd of Zebrun flying over the edge of the bluff. They land in front of her at the water's edge before leaping over the brook to continue their headlong dash. Understanding lights in her eyes. The quaking of the ground was caused by the myriad charging hooves of the stampede. Confident that the Pokémon mean her no harm, if indeed they've noticed her at all, Opal relaxes, delighted by her unique viewpoint.

After a number of minutes the number of Zebrun slows to a trickle. "I hope Wyrmer wasn't too frightened by all that shaking," Opal thinks to herself. Turning back to the hole it dug she peers inside. "Are you okay? You can come out now!"

A muffled squeaking comes back, from not far away. Opal smiles. "I'm glad you're okay! But you missed quite a sight--oh!" Opal is rocked on her feet by a shift in the land. A small puff of dust settles over her, and from above she hears a lone, panicked bleat. Opal's thoughts race. There's still one Zebrun up there! It doesn't want to jump, but all those other Zebrun must have weakened the hillside! It might collapse! "Hurry, Wyrmer! Get out of there!"

The little Pokémon doesn't emerge before a wave of pebbles and earth knocks Opal aside.

Twisting and spitting, the young girl struggles to free herself. From over her shoulder comes a splashing noise. Craning her neck, Opal is confronted with the sight of the Zebrun floundering in the brook. She gasps. "It's holding on to dry land for now, but the side of the bank is too steep for it to climb out on its own!" She redoubles her efforts, digging furiously. "Hang on, Zebrun, I'm coming to help you!"

Finally Opal is able to drag herself out of the mess. She scrambles over to the desperate Pokémon in the brook, who is clearly growing tired. "Let's do this together, Zebrun!" She grits her teeth, reaches as far around its middle as she's able, and begins heaving on it. Zebrun, sensing the opportunity, surges up the bank with a last burst of energy. Just like that, it's out of the water and sinks down on the bank. Opal crashes down beside it.

"That was hard work...but I'm glad you're okay!" she smiles cheerfully. Zebrun looks up at her with dull eyes. "I'm called Opal! Nice to meet you, Zebrun!" The rescued Pokémon turns away and begins to lick at one of its legs.

Not one to give up, Opal carries on the one-sided conversation. "Hey, what are you doing over there? I'd like to see!" She scoots around to Zebrun's other side for a better look, and her eyes widen in horror. Zebrun's leg is held out at an awkward angle. It's streaked with some sort of stiff, heavy substance like rapidly drying clay, and a few scratches are evident as well. "That's awful," Opal breathes. "This must be why you were at the back of your herd, and you didn't want to jump! You can't move too well at all with your leg like this, can you?" The girl straightens up. "I should have something in my bag that can help you..." she surveys the area; her bag is nowhere to be seen under what used to be the hillside. "My bag...and...Wyrmer! Where did he go? I have to find him!"

A large pile of earth off to the side shifts with a rattling sound. Seemingly right on cue, Wyrmer pops up from underneath. "There you are!" his Trainer gasps, squeezing her Pokémon in a hug. "I'm so happy you're alright!" Wyrmer crossly wriggles free, and Opal realizes that its little jaws are spread wide, clamped around an unfamiliar object. "Hey, you must have found that while you were still digging in the hill! Mind if I take a look?" Wyrmer spits the object into Opal's outstretched hand.

Opal stares at it in confusion; she's never seen anything like it before. It looks like the hilt of a broken sword, with only a tiny bit of jagged blade remaining. The hilt is black, though the grip is patterned with a dark purple design as well. "What could this be?" she wonders. Opal holds it up toward the sun for another look.

As she lowers the object again, Opal stiffens. "Wyrmer, Zebrun?" she whispers. "We might be in trouble." A horde of small, angry-looking Pokémon has appeared; it seems as though they're pouring right out of the ground. Perched on the bank, on mounds of soil, and even on top of what remains of the hill, they chatter and leer at the Trainer and the two Pokémon, who find themselves surrounded on three sides with their backs to the water.
Pronounced ZEEB-run (not the way the Brits say zebra, sorry folks haha)
A Normal-type Basic Pokémon; its name comes from zebra and run, as well as brun meaning brown. Zebrun's favorite habitat is an open savannah-type environment, where it can do what it's best known for and what it loves to do most of all: run. It's a mild-tempered Pokémon, but it requires a good amount of care and sometimes doesn't know its own strength. Zebrun is relatively large for a Basic Pokémon, standing about 5 and a half feet tall with a stocky, quadruped body. Its thick, sturdy skeleton provides a cushion when it uses damaging physical attacks. Zebrun has two short, budding horns, along with a thicker black crest of bone like a narrow helmet running from front to back. Its coloration is similar to that of the okapi, mostly browns and light gray, though the sections of stripes and solid color are reversed.
Zebrun's movepool is mostly concerned with its habits of running, kicking, and charging. Its attacks include Headbutt, Agility, Double Team, Stomp, Roar, Double Kick, Take Down, Skull Bash, Head Smash, and Iron Head, among others.
Again continuing with the Kanto-Johto-based numbering scheme, this is the second route of Ilona. It heads northeast out of Quembar Town, in the opposite direction from Route 49. Route 50 travels across an open, gentle plain, out from under the shadows of mountains.
This isn't technically anything new, but given that it's remained unobtainable for as long as it has existed, I figure the Fairy Gem is worth a mention here. In the Ilona Region, one can find Fairy Gems on an equal basis with all the others!
 

Typhlosion

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Here's the next chapter of the adventure. While writing this, I've also taken the time to draw up a simple map of the Ilona region, which has been added to the Great Index! Hopefully it'll be useful for following the story's movements.
Opal, Wyrmer, and Zebrun all glance around nervously at the Pokémon threatening them. "It's a whole bunch of Roundhog!" Opal exclaims. "But they're usually pretty shy; they always keep their distance when I'm running! Why are the Roundhog so angry now?"

Scrutinizing them more closely, Opal realizes that all of them are not, in fact, focused on her. A few are scrambling busily over the ruined landscape, working to excavate their friends from the remnants of burrows.

"Could this...be actually our fault?" Opal wondered out loud. "Look, you two! The Roundhog are trying to help their friends." A picture appears in the Trainer's mind of a vast, hypothetical network of tunnels spreading under the ground. "Roundhog like to live in burrows, don't they? The collapse might have damaged part of their home! And if they think we did it on purpose..." Opal gulps; the Pokémon are still just as hostile as when they first arrived. "They'd be angry enough to attack us!"

Opal notices Zebrun climbing heavily to its feet. "No, don't!" she cries. "You're still hurt and exhausted!"

Zebrun shakes off Opal's restraining hand with a twitch of its shoulder. It lowers its head at the closest Roundhog and snorts.

"I'm telling you, Zebrun, stop this now!" Opal pleads. "The last thing we need to do is provoke them even more--"

It's too late. The Roundhog who had been taunted leaps into a Rollout attack; Zebrun butts it away with a well-placed Headbutt. Set in motion by the disturbance, all the other wild Pokémon join the attack. With a peaceful resolution now a lost cause, Opal doesn't hesitate. "Gah, whatever. It's been a while since we've had a scrap, anyway. Wyrmer, Whimper!"

Several Roundhog stop in their tracks, reluctant to attack such a pitiful opponent. They then fall back with wails of panic as Wyrmer's Mud-Slap connects. As they claw at their eyes, trying to see, Zebrun whirls around and deals them all a hefty Double Kick. "Hey, watch yourself!" Opal warns. She flicks out a commanding finger and Wyrmer uses Tackle on another Roundhog coming up from behind Zebrun.

The larger Pokémon blinks its gratitude. Opal can see its fiery spirit within narrowed eyes. "How are you able to still use your kicking moves with such power, and get around on that leg?" the Trainer asks with concern. Then she notices a blurring around the edge of Zebrun's body. "Aha! You must have used Agility to boost your speed," she says with a snap of her fingers. "Well then, let's do this!"

Staying side by side, careful not to let the waves of Roundhog come between them, the two Pokémon battle on. They work well together: Zebrun, by far the larger, becomes the focal point of most of the attacks, while its body creates a sheltered spot from which Wyrmer can launch his attacks. Whimper, Sand-Attack, and Mud-Slap slow down the Roundhog considerably.

Opal isn't sure how much time passes, but finally most of their assailants are left cringing around the edges of the field of battle. It's just as well: Wyrmer's new ally won't give up the fight, but Opal can tell the Normal-type is still on the verge of collapsing. One final Roundhog noses its way up through the shattered ground, its eyes glittering angrily just like all the rest. This one, however, seems to be larger and bulkier than any that came before it.

As Opal watches, it spins up into an attack they haven't seen yet that day. "It's Flame Wheel!" Opal shouts. "Wyrmer, you've got to stop it! Your best Mud-Slap, hurry!"

Opal clenches her fists in frustration. Wyrmer is tired, and the weak Ground-type attack isn't stopping Roundhog's Flame Wheel. There's not enough time for Opal's Pokémon to wriggle away as the wild one bears down. "Wyrmer, no!!"

Roundhog stops cold just inches away from Wyrmer. Its Flame Wheel keeps spinning, but it's held firmly in place by a ring of sound waves. A low growl reaches Opal's ears and she turns in surprise to see that it's coming from Zebrun. The Roar attack increases in volume, slowly beginning to push back the Roundhog until its own attack fizzles out and it falls to the ground.

The big Roundhog pushes itself back up and stares at the trio for several moments. Then it turns around and ambles away, eventually plopping down into a hidden burrow in the distance. All the other Roundhog follow suit, and there is silence.

Opal drops wearily into a squat. "Whew," she sighs, "they may have been small but there were a lot of them!" She picks up Wyrmer in her arms and looks down at him fondly. I know battling isn't your favorite thing in the world, but you did really well!" she praises her Pokémon. Wyrmer draws himself into a circle, mumbling sleepily to himself. "Hah, yes, you have every right to be tired," Opal chuckles softly. She detaches his Poké Ball from her belt and returns him. Then, she turns her attention to Zebrun, who's also sprawled out wearily on the ground.

"I'm afraid I don't have anything to treat you with, after all," Opal apologizes. She can see Zebrun's leg injury from where she sits; it doesn't look any worse, but the fighting can't have been good for it either. She shakes her head stubbornly. "There's no way I'm going to leave you here alone in that condition, not after you were such a big help to me and Wyrmer, but I'm not sure what to do in this situation..."

A crazy thought strikes her. "Such a big help..." She addresses the wounded Pokémon directly now. "Even though you were hurt already, you were willing to fight just to help protect the two of us. You trusted me to help you out of the water even when we'd never met." She rubs Zebrun's smooth, short hair affectionately. "And you really are a magnificent Pokémon, Zebrun!" Opal realizes she's unconsciously been rolling the empty Ultra Ball around in the palm of her hand. "I can't get you anywhere by myself the way you are, but it'd be a cinch if you were in a Poké Ball." She pauses. "I didn't have any specific plans for what I was going to do with this; I knew I would use it to catch something great, but beyond that I was willing to just wait and see what would come along," she explains. "And then you came along! So Zebrun, I've got a question for you."

"Will you let me catch you? Would you like to be my Pokémon?"
Pronounced "round-hog" just like it's spelled. A Normal-type Basic Pokémon.
Being the token early Normal of the region, Roundhog is pretty simple. It looks like a groundhog, and it's round: not quite Spheal levels of round, but short, stocky, and plump. It has wide, blunt claws good for digging, that are bigger and more noticeable on its front paws. Its nose is black like its claws and small. Roundhog is covered in short golden-brown fur, but on its back some of the hair is longer, thicker, and stiffer, close to forming structures more like quills.
Originally I had planned for Roundhog to be part Fire. I abandoned that idea but a couple Fire-type moves did get left in its moveset. Its moves include Scratch, Growl, Rollout, Odor Sleuth, Swift, Flame Wheel, Dig, Defense Curl, Slam, and Double-Edge, as well as the new Power Spike, Heat Shard, and Undermine.
A physical Normal-type move with 50 power, 90 accuracy, and 0 priority. Power Spike has a 70% chance to raise the user's Attack by one stage. (It's a Charge Beam clone on the physical side.)
A physical Fire-type move with 20 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Heat Shard strikes 2 to 5 times in a row, with each individual hit having a 10% chance of inflicting a Burn on the target.
A physical Ground-type move with 100 accuracy and 0 priority. Undermine deals exact damage to the target equal to the target's level.
 

Typhlosion

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Whew, sorry for the delay! I was on vacation for a while.
Zebrun gives Opal a long, searching look. Then it rises to a standing position and lowers its head in a challenge.

Opal laughs out loud, though compassion shines in her eyes. "I love your spirit! I know you want to have a battle first, to do it properly. You think we each have something to prove to one another, but can't that battle with the Roundhog be enough? We're all three of us exhausted."

The wild Zebrun considers this, but then paws the ground belligerently and lets out a heavy snort, still ready for battle.

Opal sighs inwardly, not wanting to do this in the least. But she knows Zebrun needs help, and even more than that, it's really grown on her. She bites her lip and slowly stretches out her hand to grab Wyrmer's Poké Ball.

"Oho, I'll give you a battle!" sneers an unknown voice from above. A stinging Mud Bomb splatters down around Zebrun's hooves. The startled Pokémon rears up on its hinds legs. Opal sees its nostrils twitch, and even though the shock of the initial attack has passed, its eyes are suddenly rolling in fear. Thoroughly spooked, Zebrun darts behind the girl that only seconds before it was itching to fight, and cowers down. With its whole demeanor changed, Zebrun trembles noticeably while doing its best to hide.

First glancing in shock over her shoulder, Opal quickly turns her attention to the mystery attacker. The voice sounded to be that of an adult man. He's standing farther back up the hill, on the edge of the remaining stable part, and he's not alone. Only one person attacked, but Opal can see at least three others ranged out behind him. They don't seem to be making any effort to conceal themselves, but they don't have to; Opal's facing west and the sun casts the features of the gang into shadow. She throws up a hand to shield her eyes but it's not much use. "What'd you do that for, eh? Can't you see this Pokémon is already weak and in no condition to fight?!"

A mocking laugh rings out from all of them in response, but only the original voice speaks after. "That's what we're counting on, little girl."

With a series of successive thumps the strangers jump down to land a little way from Opal. She can see now that they number five in total, three men and two women, with one of the men and an unfamiliar Pokémon at his feet standing out in the fore. None of them look friendly--quite the opposite, in fact--but what Opal finds most striking about them at first is the identical uniforms they are each wearing. The clothes are all dark shades of gray, though now streaked with the light ochre dust of the plains: short, spreading cloaks around their upper bodies; low, wide-brimmed hats; tough-looking shirts that might have incorporated thin armor; wide metallic belts patterned with series of interlocking ovals; and durable yet streamlined boots. Large bullet-shaped designs can be seen on the outer sides of each person's pants in a muted blue, and when one of the men readjusts his hat Opal glimpses a round blocky "B" symbol in the same blue on its crown. As the young Trainer is taking all this in the lead man addresses her once again. "You see we've been chasing this Zebrun for quite some time, and now it finally appears to be within our reach."

The Pokémon by his side draws itself up at this pronouncement, seeming to echo the man's disposition and sentiment. It's producing the most unpleasant sucking and whistling noises, as its body appears to be made entirely out of foul-smelling clay. Opal stares hard at the creature, on the edge of a revelation. It comes to her in a rush and she recoils. "It was you, and that Pokémon!" she gasps. The clay streaking Zebrun's injured leg when Opal first found it was the exact shade as the clay Pokémon's body, and the scratches could have been inflicted by the blackened shards of pottery protruding from the ends of its arms. Opal's face becomes flushed with anger, and she reaches behind her to lay a protective hand on the still-cringing Zebrun. "You're the ones who hurt Zebrun, and displaced its entire herd, too! Just who do you think you are?"

One of the women leaps forward, now looking annoyed herself. "What kind of dumb question is that? Listen up! We're Team--"

The leader throws out his right arm to cut her off. "We," he takes over pointedly, "are people who won't tolerate your interference much longer. Now, be a good child, and step aside."

Opal sticks her nose up in the air. "I might be a child but I bet I'm every inch the Pokémon Trainer you are. I won't move."

The man stares at her dumbly for a moment before recovering himself with a snort that's half angry, half amused. "If you say so..." He looks down to the Pokémon at his side. "Murclay!"

Opal smooths aside a fold of her shirt, making sure she has a ready grip on Wyrmer's Poké Ball. Then, as much to its Trainer's surprise as to Opal's, the Murclay leaps forward with startling speed. Before Opal can react its arms are stretched around her middle, tearing and pulling painfully at her body. Opal grunts and writhes as she tries to avoid being dragged forward. As suddenly as it attacked Murclay releases her, making a loud pop, and resumes its station. When it returns, however, one of its hands is no longer empty.

Its Trainer's face splits into a crooked grin. "Well, well, well," he chuckles softly. "I didn't expect to find one of those out here." Murclay is clutching the hilt-like object unearthed by Wyrmer earlier. "My Murclay must have sensed this Eerie Hilt item on you. And Thief is a move that steals held times, don't you know." His grin gets wider. "Say, I think we'll keep this for ourselves."

That does it. Opal steps up, anger plain on her face. "That item doesn't belong to you, and neither does this Zebrun!" She flings the Poké Ball from her belt. "I choose you, Wyrmer!"

As her Pokémon materializes there's an appreciative gasp from a couple of the hunters. A short man edges his way up beside the leader and tugs on his shoulder; the taller man turns back in surprise, then bends over so his companion can whisper into his ear. After a hurried conversation he pivots back to face Opal. "You are just full of surprises, aren't you?" he drawls. "My fellow...Pokémon enthusiast here--" there are a few sniggers--"tells me that's a very fine, rare specimen you have. Worth far more than any old Zebrun. And since you've already so graciously given my Murclay its Eerie Hilt, perhaps you wouldn't mind parting with one more possession of yours as well today." He takes a menacing step forward. "Murclay, you're up."
Pronounced "MURR-klay" as it's spelled. A Dark/Ground type Basic Pokémon.
Murclay's whole body is made of unfired clay; it's a rather nasty greenish-brown color, like this. Pieces of pottery can be found in various places on its body; they're black, but more as if they had been burnt or corroded that way, likely by the chemical composition of Murclay's own body, rather than being naturally black. Murclay stands about two feet tall, with its body divided into two distinct sections. The upper is roughly pear shaped, with the smaller top part being its head. Two irregular pottery shards with circles chipped out of them make its eyes, above a small mouth. Its arms branch off the fatter part of the "pear." They are short, round, and featureless aside from a few more sharp shards lodged haphazardly in the ends to serve as fingers. The lower section of Murclay's body is a formless blob that it oozes around on. The underside is covered in more cracked pottery; Murclay can twist and grind these pieces into the ground to move a bit faster or churn up the soil looking for more minerals and dirt to absorb as its food. The two sections are connected by a narrower column of twisted clay. This feature can be used to identify a Murclay's gender; males twist counterclockwise and females clockwise. Murclay lives in dark, damp places; exposure to strong heat or light causes its body to dry and crack. Its whole body is gooey and repulsive to the touch; it flings blobs of clay to slow down and trap targets.
The real challenge here, I came to realize, was not making Murclay too much like Grimer. Its name comes from murk in reference to its Dark-type and clay. Murclay's stats have equal Attack and Special Attack, though with greater emphasis on defenses overall and quite low Speed. It learns Pound, Harden, Mud-Slap, Pursuit, Mud Shot, Thief, Block, Payback, Mud Bomb, Slam, Fling, Venoshock, Stomping Tantrum, Sucker Punch, and Fissure.
An item to be held by a Pokémon. It's a black and purple sword hilt with the blade snapped off, leaving a jagged edge. It helps Murclay evolve when held and traded, and might have other effects as well.
You know, if you're an artist and you happen to read one of my Pokémon descriptions and get wildly inspired, I wouldn't say no to seeing what you can come up with!
 
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Typhlosion

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As she faces down the lead hunter and his Murclay, fear begins to mix itself with Opal's anger at the man and his followers. Her blood is racing; she can't help hopping from foot to foot with nervous energy. "I know you're tired, Wyrmer. This might be the most you've ever fought in a single day in your life. But we have to do this," she says quietly, as much to herself as to her Pokémon.

On the ground in front of her, Wyrmer uncoils himself into a long stretch. Then, hissing softly, he rears up in a display of courage that far outweighs his diminutive height.

"Of course, you're right," Opal goes on. A gleam appears in her eyes. "But we'll have to play this one smarter, not harder. Give it a Sand-Attack!"

Murclay makes no move to dodge the thick spray of dust that quickly coats its upper body. Opal smirks. "Great work, Wyrmer! Now while it's trying to get out of that one hit it with Tackle!" Wyrmer rushes forward to comply.

It's Opal's opponent's turn to smirk. "Murclay, Slam it away." Right as Wyrmer is closing in, Murclay pivots on its twisted segment to deal the other Pokémon a punishing broadside smack with its arm. Wyrmer is tossed aside, its move totally ineffective.

"How can that be? Its aim wasn't affected at all?!" Opal gasps.

"See for yourself," comes the cool reply as the hunter gestures toward his Pokémon.

Opal stares in shock, seeing that the Sand-Attack has vanished. "No...wait...it's not gone, exactly..." Murclay's upper body has taken on a slightly different hue. "Don't tell me...it absorbed the sand from Wyrmer's attack?!"

The man laughs out loud. "Stupid girl! You can't expect to have an easy time of things if you fight strong Ground Pokémon with Ground moves! But even if it might be valuable, your Pokémon is weak. How about this Mud Bomb!" Wyrmer can't get out of the way as the grimy mud ball explodes around his body.

An idea comes to Opal. "Mud-Slap!" she orders hastily. "And down!"

Wyrmer's second Ground move is another clean hit; Murclay's Trainer spares his Pokémon a glance as the mud that was splashed in its eyes dissipates just like the sand earlier, and he growls, "Didn't I just tell you that's not going to w--huh? Where'd it go?!" In the second or two that his eyes were off the field his enemy has vanished.

"Oh, dear," Opal smiles sweetly. "I guess this is what happens when I fight strong Ground Pokémon with Ground moves. Tackle, for real!" Wyrmer shoots up out of the ground and rams the other Pokémon on the chin.

The hunter swears. "Snap out of it! Mud Bomb!"

"Wyrmer, Whimper!" comes the swift counterplay. Before Murclay is fully ready with its attack, Wyrmer is crying pathetically at it.

Murclay's Trainer sags alongside his Pokémon. "Wow, it is kinda cute, isn't it...?" He rouses himself with a growl and slaps his face. "No! Murclay, get going!"

Opal quickly orders another Mud-slap. Wyrmer's attack is enough to cancel the weakened Mud Bomb and buys him enough time to hide underground once more.

"There's only so much you can do, you little brat," the man mutters. "Brace yourself, Murclay. We're getting close." The Trainer sees the opponent before the Pokémon. "Use Thief, right behind you! Don't let it get away!"

Wyrmer had come up in the enemy Pokémon's blind spot, but that left him in full view of the Trainer. Without even needing to look, Murclay's flexible gooey arms pivot backward, sealing Wyrmer between its hands. Opal sees on the face of her Pokémon the same pain that tore through her only a few moments ago. With one last crushing squeeze for good measure, Murclay heaves Wyrmer over its head back towards Opal. The skinny Ground-type crunches against the hard earth. He struggles back into an alert position, but Opal can tell things aren't looking good.

Afraid of the consequences, remembering what the hunter said and knowing this fight is lost, but not sure what else she can do, Opal takes her Poké Ball in hand. "Wyrmer...return!"

"Not so fast!" snarls her enemy. "Block!"

Murclay thrusts out its arms. A wall of clay rises straight up between Opal and Wyrmer, cutting off the return mechanism of the Ball. At the same time, its Trainer raises his arm for attention, then snaps his fingers sharply and gestures forward. His wordless command is readily understood; the woman he cut off before steps out of the group and tosses a Poké Ball of her own. "Terbite, you know what to do!" she calls.

A huge Bug Pokémon that Opal's never seen before, its features dominated by a set of terrifying mandibles, appears out of the light. Without any further words from its Trainer it scuttles straight for Opal, bypassing the exhausted Wyrmer and the Block attack. Opal twitches in fear as it draws closer. She can see what appears to be purple venom dripping from its jaws and she doesn't dare move. The Terbite doesn't hesitate to continue its path straight up her legs. It wraps around to her back and then up and over her head; she staggers and nearly falls at its weight. Its numerous spindly legs poke and pull at her face and hair. Opal shrieks in horror and disgust. Before she knows what's happening the Terbite is perched on her left arm. Her eyes are screwed shut, but she feels something tugging on the Poké Ball in her hand.

"NO!!" she screams. "You can't have that!" Horror is written on her face. If they want Wyrmer, they'll need its Poké Ball. She tightens her grip and tries to shake Terbite off however she can: shaking, spinning, beating it with her free fist. Nothing deters the resilient bug; Opal can hear the clack and scrape of its jaws on the smooth, hard sphere. Opal, ever more frantic, reaches under Terbite and tries to shove it off. The Pokémon hisses in what can only be frustration, and the tips of its legs dig painfully into Opal's arm. That, however, is nothing compared to what comes next. It's quick, just the sting of a small cut on her hand, but the burning that rages into her hand is beyond words. Terbite plops onto the ground. Opal can't tell if the Poké Ball is still there; she can't feel her hand.

Opal slumps to her knees in the dirt. The voice of her enemy filters dimly through the pain. "Well, well, well," comes the man's drawl. "That's enough, Murclay. Now let me try...return, Wyrmer."

Her hand throbs all the way up to her ears, but Opal hears the unmistakable sound of a Pokémon being recalled. She forces her eyelids to open. Her precious first Pokémon, her best friend, is nowhere to be seen, sucked into the Poké Ball held by the outstretched hand of her enemy. He brings up his other arm as well, recalling Murclay. "Thanks for your cooperation," her says softly.

Past her tightening throat Opal chokes out, "You...can't..."

The hunter looks on impassively while the woman beside him returns her Terbite as well. Then he turns his head to address her. "Would you please finish what you had begun to say a little while ago? Tell this girl who we are, and why we can."

The woman is only too happy to oblige. "We...are Team Bullet! Someday this whole region will belong to us. Don't you forget it!"

The leader of the gang smiles, a wide, cold showing of teeth. "That's right. Squad! Move out!"

Their boots thunder on the ground as they hurry past Opal. She makes no move to stop them, only dropping her head to her knees. The tears come in a flood, streaming down her face to drip off her chin and make a little muddy patch on the ground. Opal knows Wyrmer would have loved it, if he wasn't more concerned about why she was crying. Great sobbing breaths follow her into unconsciousness.
Pronounced simply as "turr-bite," a combination of termite and bite. A Bug/Poison type Basic Pokémon.
Terbite's design is based on the Formosan Termite species. Its length is about two and a half feet, and proportionally as tall as a real-world termite. Its body is primarily dirty yellow-white (again like real termites), but each ring of its segmented body ends in a thin army green stripe circling it. In the center of its back is a rounded X-shaped marking in a purplish, bruise-like color. Its blunt ovoid head is entirely this same color. Terbite has no antennae but features two large mandibles that curve smoothly to sharp points. Its six legs are arch-shaped and relatively short; it usually holds them more underneath its body than off to the side.
Terbite's preferred habitat is the forested mountains in the south of Ilona; its body markings and coloration provide camouflage. It's extremely toxic but prefers to save that as a last resort and use its biting mandibles as its first weapon. They often live and work together with others of their kind to build homes and hunt, but it's not unheard-of for a few Terbite to lead solitary lives.
A villainous group operating out of the Ilona region whose mission is to steal and hunt Pokémon for profit. Dressing in black and dark grays, with a deep blue color marking them as well, their operatives have a rugged, callous air.
 

Typhlosion

Tempered Steel
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The first sensation to return to Opal through the blackness is sound. A soothing whir permeates the air. Cool currents billow over her from all directions, as though she's surrounded by fans. A mouthful of water is nudged between her lips. Roused by the drink, but still feeling sleepily content, Opal unhurriedly cracks open her eyes.

Her vision is filled by insectoid legs. With an explosion of adrenaline Opal jerks to frenzied life. She lashes out with all four limbs and lands several squishy thumps. The whirring increases in volume and frequency, taking on a panicked tone that assaults Opal's ears. A rush of myriad iridescent wings shoots up all around her and she falls back in shock, landing painfully on her rear.

After frantically combing her hair out of her face and shaking her head to clear it, Opal finally looks up and spots a swarm of Velociteem circling madly high above her. Before long they all peel away as one and zip off over the darkening eastern horizon.

The memory of being assaulted by the Terbite under Team Bullet's command is still fresh in Opal's mind, and she spits in disgust at the thought of those Velociteem crawling all over her. That's when she notices something strange. The sun is low in the west; she's been away from home most of the day and hasn't drank anything in hours. She should be parched and dying of thirst, but her mouth and throat aren't dry at all. Furthermore, she's not nearly as hot as she would expect to be after battling and lying in the sun all afternoon.

Opal thinks back, examining all she can remember of waking up covered with Bug-type Pokémon. The cool air like fans, she thinks to herself. Along with all the vibrating...that must have been their wings! Covering me, cooling me down! And the water... Opal had observed Velociteem on her runs before; they were Water-types, too, and some of their feet were specially adapted to be able to hold and carry large orbs of the liquid in flight. They brought me water to drink! For all I know they were keeping me alive! Her mental anguish spills out into words. "And I...I drove them all off with violence...I didn't take the time to figure out what was going on or even to thank them...and now they're gone!"

Fresh tears well down the tracks marking Opal's face. "I'M SORRY, VELOCITEEM!"

Overcome with grief, Opal slams her open palms down on the ground, and a torrent of pain lances up her left arm. She draws back with a gasp and looks down trying to find the injury. On the ball of her left thumb is a small X-shaped wound, not an inch across. The flesh around the two crossed cuts is glaring purple; aggravated by Opal's movement the whole area stings and begins to throb. "This must be...where Terbite attacked me...where it took Wyrmer's Poké Ball," the girl breathes. "Wyrmer..." Her breathing comes faster and faster, rising to a wail. Giving in to her emotions, Opal throws herself onto the ground.

She doesn't know how much more time passes before a stirring behind her brings her back. She looks up to see Zebrun lying in a heap not far away. He's unconscious, having only shifted in his sleep. Opal's fingers feel involuntarily for her belt. Miraculously the Ultra Ball is still there, though she has no idea how. Taking aim first, she squeezes her eyes shut and flings it from her hip in one quick motion.

"Go, Ultra Ball!"

The device hums through the air. Opal doesn't want to look. It clicks open. She didn't want to catch a new Pokémon like this. It pulls Zebrun inside. He's too exhausted to fight it, or even notice. The Ball drops to the ground. This feels like a betrayal of Wyrmer. It wobbles once, twice, thrice. He was supposed to be here for this moment; it's his triumph too. The cheerful ping echoes into the dusk. It's done.

Opal crawls on hands and knees over the few yards separating her and Zebrun, careful to curl her left hand into a fist to protect it. When she reaches the Ultra Ball she grabs it up and sits back on her knees. Opal's voice is laced with bitterness as she addresses the newly captured Zebrun in her hand. "You're not my first Pokémon. You're not my partner....but you're all I have now."

Opal takes what feels like a lifetime to rise to her feet. Then she squares her shoulders and trudges back along Route 50 in the direction taken by the Team Bullet Grunts, towards Quembar Town.

She's halfway home when someone appears in front of her out of the night. Through the haze of exhaustion and numbness inside it takes Opal a second to recognize her own father. He runs up to her without stopping and wraps his arms around her in a tight squeeze. For a moment all is still and silent, before he pulls back to hold her at arm's length. "Opal, what happened to you? Where have you been all this time? Have you any idea how long you've been out?" His voice is half anger, half concern.

Past her messy hair Opal stares up at her father's lined face. All of a sudden she can barely keep her eyelids up. "They took him, Dad. They stole Wyrmer. He's gone..." Without another word she falls back into her father's arms and sleep takes her again.

For the second time in as many days, Opal wakes up to late morning sunlight poking past her curtains. This time, however, the emotions playing across her face are not happy ones. For a while she doesn't move, thinking about how the soft Pokémon bed next to hers is empty. Then her face hardens as she swings out of bed. Before anything else she makes sure to clip the occupied Ultra Ball to her belt. She then grabs a large backpack and darts around her room, throwing in all manner of objects including clothing and camping gear. When the pack is full she hefts it onto her shoulders, slams open her door, and marches down the stairs.

The three adults are once more gathered there. As soon as her daughter appears Opal's mother rushes forward to embrace her much as the girl's father had done the night before. She blinks at the sight of the backpack. "W-what are you doing with all that, dear?"

"Opal." Uncle Jeremiah's even yet heavy voice breaks through. "We're glad you're safe. You had us all terribly worried, you know. We need you to tell us what happened."

Opal turns to face him with swimming eyes. As she begins to speak her voice has a quiver. "I'm...not...safe. Wyrmer and I were attacked by people who called themselves Team Bullet. They battled me, and they were so strong, and they took him! They stole him. The lead man said something about how rare and valuable he was. Well they're right! Wyrmer is valuable...to me! So that's why--" she jerks a thumb at the backpack-- "I'm going to get him back! I'm leaving right now!"

Her parents gasp, but Jeremiah has the strongest reaction. He shoves back his chair and stands up, hands planted on the table. "Team Bullet, you said?" he confirms with smoldering eyes. "I have to tell Veronica about this. Opal, don't go chasing these folks on your own."

The young Trainer is about to retort before her parents interject. "Listen to your uncle, young lady," Jeremiah's brother cautions.

"If they...stole Wyrmer," his wife gulps, "then you don't have any Pokémon with you! You'll only get into more danger!"

"That's where you're all wrong," she scowls. Opal whips out her cousin's gift so that all in the room can see its occupied status. "I met this Zebrun yesterday and I caught him. Now he'll help me on my journey."

"Your journey!" Jeremiah exclaims.

Opal whirls on him with a pointed finger. "You said Veronica needs to know about this," she practically snarls at her uncle. "Veronica's hardly any older than I am! As of yesterday, I'm twelve years old now: it's time for my journey. I'll go to Masolin Town, register at the laboratory there, and then I WILL FIND MY WYRMER AND GET HIM BACK!!" By the time the other three have recovered from their stunned silence, Opal is out of the house.

At the edge of town Opal halts. She glances down at Zebrun lying in his Ball. I had hoped I could use Zebrun as transportation, but his leg hasn't had a chance to heal at all. I doubt he could run well even without me on his back. "Fine, then," Opal mutters under her breath. She pulls a ball cap over her short pale brown hair to keep off the sun. "It's up to me." She steps out onto Route 49, heading southwest away from Quembar Town.

"Don't worry, Wyrmer. I'm coming for you."
Pronounced "vell-AW-sih-teem," from velocity and teem. A Bug/Water type Stage 1* Pokémon.
Velociteem is based on the common bluetail damselfly. It has two distinct colors running along the length of its body: sky blue on top and a paler yellowish-green like reeds on the bottom. They are separated by a wavy line along its thin, round abdomen that turns into a pattern of tall, thin zig-zags on the main part of Velociteem's body. A hump on its back is where its four wings connect. These large, thin, veined wings can be held forward or swept back to precisely control Velociteem's flight; each can be moved independently and so this Pokémon is know for its stunning acrobatic maneuvers in the air. The wings shine in all the colors of the rainbow when sunlight strikes them, and so if one ever falls off in an accident it is a prized treasure. Velociteem's rather rectangular head features two compound eyes on the upper outside corners that give it exceptional eyesight. It has six black legs; the first four are short, mainly used for landing, holding, and carrying, while the back two are about twice as long. These legs have evolved so that their final segments are long, broad, and flat like a surfboard. These legs stream out along Velociteem's abdomen in flight; the Pokémon can either hold them against its body or use them like rudimentary rudders. It prefers to live on flat, open savannas. They will always stay near bodies of water where they can lay their eggs. It's a curious, flighty Pokémon, but doesn't back down in a fight.
Velociteem is the final form of the standard early-region Bug-type, which is only a two-Pokémon family this time, so it evolves quite quickly. Its moves include Wing Attack, Quick Attack, Bide, Harden, Pursuit, Bubble, Leech Life, Agility, Assurance, BubbleBeam, Steamroller, Air Slash, Aqua Lance, Bug Buzz, and Extreme Speed.
*I've experienced confusion on this point in the past, so I'll take a moment here to clarify that I use the TCG's conventions for naming evolutions. A Pokémon that hasn't evolved at all is Basic, one that's evolved once and/or is in the middle is Stage 1, and one that's evolved twice is Stage 2. Baby Pokémon break this convention, so for instance, I would still consider Roselia a Basic Pokémon and Roserade a Stage 1.
This move has 20 power. Don't @ me.
A physical Water-type move with 75 power, 100 accuracy, and priority of 0. Aqua Lance deals damage with no secondary effect.
Located at the southwestern terminus of Route 49. Masolin Town is relatively high in elevation, being surrounded by mountains, and serves as a hub for passes through those mountains leading to distant parts of Ilona. Though it's not a large town, a famous and extensive Pokémon laboratory is located here.
 
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