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. Pokémon will be listed by their Ilona Region Pokédex number, but most everything else will be alphabetized.


1. Quembar Town
2. Masolin Town
3. Foria City
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14. Carnelian Plateau
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43-48. Unused
Routes as they are numbered:
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
 
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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

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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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Typhlosion

Tempered Steel
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Amethyst is up with the dawn. He rolls over and stretches out a hand to grab his desk clock, face drawn into a scowl as he thinks about how it's been less than six hours since he fell asleep. The boy hops out of bed while rubbing angrily at his penetrating, deep-lavender-colored eyes. Throwing open the shades he's greeted, as always, by the sight of the mountains that cradle Masolin Town. Sometimes it feels like they are more his home than this house is.

The house is still and silent as Amethyst shuffles about his room, getting ready for the day, but he makes no effort to keep quiet. He knows all the loudest, squeakiest spots on the floor and stomps on them with relish. He fills a knapsack with drawing supplies and a jacket just in case. Almost as an afterthought, he shoots an apathetic glance at a Poké Ball in the corner. With a roll of his eyes Amethyst scoops it up and heads out of his room. Once in the hallway outside, he peers around the darkened, picture-lined space. All the others doors are firmly closed, the occupants of the rooms behind them presumably sound asleep after their late, rowdy night. Amethyst pulls a sour face at each door in turn.

The early riser's lack of effort to keep quiet continues as he goes downstairs into the central room. He barely slows down to grab an on-the-go breakfast from the pantry and is heading through the kitchen when something grabs his attention, making him pull back. Yesterday's newspaper is lying on the table. "THE AMBER JET WINS IT AGAIN!" exclaims the headline. Below that, in smaller letters: "Hometown Champion smashes all challengers!" At the head of the article is a photo of Amethyst's sister posing with her Boulderode.

A disapproving scowl creeps over Amethyst's face the longer he stares at the paper. Without a word he whisks around and resumes his stride to the front of the house. Upon reaching the door he deftly snatches a key from a rack and allows the door to slam shut behind him when he exits.

With drawing pad perched on his knee, Amethyst gazes down from the mountain slope at Masolin Town below. The pine tree where he's perched sways in a winding breeze; his thatch of straight, long hair is almost lost among the resemblance to its dark, shiny needles. He twirls a pencil restlessly in his fingers, unwilling to capture again the familiar tableau looking below. He jerks his head up, to the mountains and clouds that still sail beyond him. Of course, he'll draw the Pokémon: the only way he will capture them.

A thin mist rises through the forest. Amethyst looks to a bird Pokémon winging its way overhead, holding it in his mind. He glances back to his paper and begins a charcoal sketch with short, decisive strokes. At first he ignores the mist, dismissing it as a regular occurrence, but soon he's distracted by the way it shimmers in the cool, thick shadows draped over the western face of the mountain where he's sitting. A tendril wafts around him, and Amethyst's head starts to nod.

A loud bang and a flash of sparkling yellow directly ahead of him shock Amethyst into full alertness. "What the...a firework?" he mutters to himself, squinting to see its origin. It's late in the morning by now. Two more follow in quick succession, from a direction quite familiar to Amethyst. "Coming from near our house. Must be Amber again," he says to no one in particular. "The party goes on."

Amethyst lets out a wordless exclamation as a sudden fiercer gust of wind tugs at him, threatening to knock him out of his seat after he'd already slid a bit during his drowsy spell. He clamps a hand onto the branch supporting him to steady himself, but in doing so accidentally dislodges the Poké Ball on his hip. The red-and-white technological wonder is beyond his reach by the time Amethyst realizes what has happened. It falls cleanly out of the tree, bounces off a root, then a rock, and rolls away.

With another panicked shout Amethyst wedges his belongings in the crook of a branch and drops to the ground himself. He lands awkwardly, refusing to look at his feet in favor of keeping the Poké Ball in sight at all times. Arms flailing to keep his balance, Amethyst scrambles after his Pokémon. "I won't...I can't lose you," he pants between breaths. "You're my responsibility and I won't allow anything to happen to you...Sincle."

Fortunately the path down the mountain is anything but a straight shot, and while the Poké Ball remains frustratingly out of reach, Amethyst doesn't struggle to keep pace behind it. The small object's flight comes to a halt when it shoots over one final rock and plops down in the center of a cluster of broad-leaved plants several yards beyond. Amethyst jumps after it, his eyes lighting up when he sees that the Poké Ball is no longer moving away from him. The mist seems thicker here, blanketing the ground. Amethyst pauses for a moment to catch his breath with hands on knees, then takes a step forward. Snaking ground vines crunch under his sneakered foot. All the leaves of the plants tremble as one, and the boy standing over them freezes.

"Wild...Vineide!" he squeaks.

Internally Amethyst curses. I'm such an idiot! Why didn't I look where I was going?! I probably stomped on a half-dozen of them on my way down here! The Vineide are usually peaceful enough...unless someone provokes them!

A number of heartbeats pass while Amethyst remains frozen in place, not daring to move. Then, a slender whiplike vine rises hypnotically into the air behind the Poké Ball. Faster than Amethyst's eyes can follow the vine lashes forward, striking the Poké Ball and sending it whizzing backward right into the shocked boy's grip. For an instant relief courses through him, until the recovered item in his hands clicks open automatically and disgorges its occupant in a shower of white light. The Sincle Amethyst tried to protect flashes into view, bobbing in the air over the spot where its Poké Ball had lain.

Amethyst puts on a strained smile. "Hey, Sincle," he calls with a shrill chuckle, "come on over this way! Nice...and...gently, now." Amethyst gestures backward with both hands. Returning its Trainer's smile with genuine happiness, Sincle cheerfully begins floating toward him. Amethyst is backing up as well, at the same cautious pace, when a tendril snaps out from a Vineide by his foot and wraps firmly around his ankle. With one foot still in the air Amethyst flails his arms madly to regain his balance. He avoids falling but is unable to retreat any farther.

Seeing Amethyst's predicament, a look of ire replaces Sincle's previous carefree expression. The Trainer's eyes bug open in alarm. "Sincle, I'm fine, really!" Amethyst whisper-shouts. "Please don't do anything, just keep going like you were--!"

His order is either too late, or unheeded. Sincle's tentacle churns the air as it hits the Vineide restraining Amethyst with a Psybeam.

Immediately all hell breaks loose. Dozens of Vineide quiver to life, raising their leaves so that their eyes may finally be seen. Amethyst is released when Sincle's Psybeam connects and staggers back against the ledge. There's a spiraling welt on his left calf, but otherwise he's unharmed and mostly out of range of the attacks. His Pokémon, however, is not so lucky. Sincle is caught in the middle of a veritable tornado of vines, leaves, and airborne dust. Twice Amethyst tries to break through, with only stinging cuts on his hands to show for his efforts. After collapsing against the rock behind him for the third time he realize's there's nothing he can do. The young Trainer's eyes shine with pain as he watches his Water-type Pokémon take a brutal beating from the wild Grass-types.

Several minutes have passed when Amethyst starts. Maybe... he thinks to himself. No, we have to try! Praying that his Pokémon has enough strength left Amethyst yells, "Sincle, use Water Sport!"

A fountain of mist appears, sprinkling the Vineide all around. The second he notices their frenzy dying down Amethyst darts forward, scoops up a dazed and injured Sincle, and scurries away in a flash. The Vineide, appeased, resume their silent camouflage.

At a safe distance Amethyst pauses to congratulate himself and his Pokémon. "Haha, it worked! I hoped it would! Vineide need lots of moisture and love it when it rains. Your Water Sport was just enough to calm them down. You were great...Sincle?" After smiling weakly, the Pokémon in his arms has fainted clean away with a purplish tinge on its body. "Poison!" Amethyst grunts. "I really don't have any time to lose." He spares a dark look for the mountainside and its pine trees above him. "Amber owes me new supplies."

Amethyst's heart pounds from racing down the trail faster than ever before. The Pokémon Center...have to get to Masolin Town's Pokémon Center...

He skids to a halt on the edge of town. Or...wait! He looks around quickly.

Professor Aspen's laboratory is closer. I'll try going there instead.
Pronounced as "SING-kull" from the combination of single and tentacle. Originally I called this Unicle, from the prefix uni- and tentacle, but then I realized it was awfully similar to Reuniclus. A Water/Psychic type Basic Pokémon.
Sincle is ordinarily a marine-dwelling species, though it can use its psychic powers to float and sustain itself on land. Sincle is a small Pokémon based on the blue-ringed octopus, with its egg-shaped body being about six inches wide. It has two well-developed, widely spaced eyes at the middle height of this structure. The base of the "egg" is cut off, curling inward to the hidden inside of Sincle's body. Its small, puckered mouth is located right on the edge of this ring, and the rest of the ring is surrounded by short rounded bumps pointing downward. A single tentacle, twice the length of the rest of Sincle's body, extends from its inside. This appendage is useful for hunting, fighting, propelling Sincle through the water, and examining unfamiliar things. It's lined with a row of what look like suckers, but are actually more like tiny satellite dishes that help focus Sincle's power. This Pokémon is marine blue all over, but it's also covered with a pattern of rings in a watermelon pink color. This pattern starts with a single large ring around the top of Sincle's head and continues into more and smaller rings the farther down you go. Its "suckers" are the same color.
The Sincle line is rather old and stable as far as my fan concepts go. Its moves include Bubble, Growl, Psywave, Protect, Water Sport, Psycho Shift, BubbleBeam, Psybeam, Skill Swap, Ally Switch, Shock Wave, Thunder Wave, Muddy Water, Psyshock, Role Play, Tsunami, Mind Wipe, and Boomburst.
The Champion of the Ilona Pokémon League, known as the Carnelian League, as well as Amethyst's older sister. Her nickname is "The Amber Jet" for her unrelenting battle style. Amber specializes in Rock-type Pokémon.
Pronounced "BOLD-er-ode" from boulder and erode. A Rock-type fully evolved Basic Pokémon.
Boulderode is, to put it simply, a pile of rocks. The rocks vary in color among pale browns and grays, and vary in size from tiny pebbles to a small car. The three biggest rocks comprise its face, with the largest having a mouth and the next two having one eye each. Interestingly, these two rocks are clearly a right eye and a left eye and are not interchangeable. All the rocks can be moved around in random orientations, to the effect that its face components can all be split up and used independently and it can "build" itself to be more effective in battle. Boulderode are held together by an invisible, poorly understood force that binds all its rocks together; they can gather again no matter how much they are separated and cannot be taken by others. An individual can choose to add and remove rocks from itself as it sees fit, with upper and lower bounds on how many it can have, but all the rocks under the control of one Boulderode at a given moment belong distinctly to it.
My idea with Boulderode was more or less to make something that screams "Rock-type" and so its moveset is very heavy on Rock as well. Its moves include Sky Uppercut, Rock Throw, Rock Tomb, Wide Guard, Rock Blast, Smack Down, Accelerock, Rollout, Stealth Rock, Reflect, Light Screen, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Wrecking Ball, Bullet Punch, Stone Edge, and Rock Wrecker.
Pronounced "VINE-eyed," with a bit of an inflection on the first syllable so that it sounds like "cyanide." Name is from vine, hide, and again cyanide. A Grass-type basic Pokemon.
Vineide is is based on ivies of the Hedera genus. Its most visible feature is a single broad ivy leaf about a foot across, which covers and conceals the rest of Vineide's body. A thin stripe of cyan blending into the dark green runs down the middle of the leaf's creased center vein. Aside from that, Vineide's body is mostly just a confusing tangle of structures that can be vines, stems, roots, etc. It does grow a few regular-looking ivy leaves that might poke out around the edges of its top leaf as extra camouflage. It has no discernible face aside from two hooded eyes with black centers and white edges that are attached to the thick stem on the underside of its top leaf. Vineide are passive, watchful creatures that prefer to go about their business of hiding and growing in peace. The extent to which they might be secretly malicious is hotly debated, however, as they will cover and destroy anything in their persistent attempts to spread. Vineide will often link up with others of their species and have been known to make solid mats that cover the ground for dozens of acres.
Its name is a little weird but I'm quite proud of Vineide. Its moves include Constrict, Camouflage, Vine Whip, Wrap, Ingrain, PoisonPowder, Slime Lash, Razor Leaf, Magical Leaf, Venoshock, Stockpile, Swallow, Spit Up, Tripwire, and Leaf Storm.
Professor Aspen is a Pokémon researcher based in Masolin Town who is famous throughout the Ilona Region. She's the one responsible for helping young new Trainers begin their Pokémon journeys and providing them with starter Pokémon. Professor Aspen is a rather quiet person who likes to keep to herself, but for the most part she is warm and kind. You can read more about her in this short piece!
A special Water-type move with 140 power, 90 accuracy, and priority of 0. Tsunami lowers the user's Special Attack by two stages after the move is executed.
A special Psychic-type move with 100 power, 50 accuracy, and priority of 0. Mind Wipe has a 100% chance of inflicting Confused on the target.
A physical Rock-type move with 100 power, 100 accuracy, and priority of 0. After doing damage, Wrecking Ball lowers the target's Defense and Special Defense boosts to zero if they were greater than zero.
A physical Poison-type move with 40 power, 100 accuracy, and priority of 0. Slime Lash has a 10% chance of inflicting Poisoned on the target as well as a separate 30% chance of making the target flinch.
A status Normal-type move with irrelevant accuracy and priority of +4. Tripwire sets up an effect which causes the next enemy Pokémon to use a physical attack to take damage equal to one-third of its max HP. This does not stop the attack from being used (unless the Pokémon faints first). An individual Pokémon may only have one Tripwire active at a time.
 

Typhlosion

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Still cradling Sincle in his arms, Amethyst runs up to Professor Aspen's lab as fast as he's able. However, he slows to a walk a few buildings away as something catches his eye.

A number of strange, unfamiliar people are clustered around the front of the lab, whose front door is hanging open. The Professor herself is nowhere to be seen among them. Amethyst guesses there's about ten of them, a mix of adult men and women, and curiously enough they're all wearing the exact same thing: boots, long pants, capes, all in dark gray and black, with hats that have blue letter Bs on the front.

As the boy draws closer he realizes there's one more person present: a tall man with a commanding air, standing somewhat apart from the rest between them and the door of the lab. The man is clearly not happy about something; his voice his raised and he's making lots of forceful, yet controlled gestures. Filled with a strange uneasiness, Amethyst nevertheless inches forward to catch some of what is being said.

"...she is a Gym Leader," the tall man articulates in a less deep voice than Amethyst had been expecting. "What possessed you to think you could hold her? Such idiocy..." The crowd of identical dressers is getting more nervous with every word he says. He breaks off to let out a frustrated sigh, then continues in a milder but obviously strained tone. "You can't hope to salvage the mess you've made of this. Return those--" he jabs a finger at something Amethyst can't see-- "and get out of here. And be glad I'm feeling merciful." His eyes flick back and forth at the last statement.

With much cringing and whining and many fearful glances, the group begins to break up. By this time Amethyst is about a bus-length away from them. A squat, coarse-featured man, who comes into Amethyst's view near the front of the group, turns his head and suddenly locks eyes with the boy. He turns back to his irritated detractor with a malicious grin, having to crane his neck to make eye contact. "Don't you worry, sir," the short man rumbles. "I've got an idea. I've got a plan to make all of this better."

With astounding speed for his short, wide stature the man sprints over to Amethyst. The taller man doesn't break his rigid composure, but turns to track the uniformed man's progress with a gaze sharp as glass. "Would you mind taking these off my hands, little boy? Heh heh heh heh!" the short goon chuckles as he thrusts a strange, oblong container of sorts into the nonplussed Amethyst's arms. Fumbling to juggle his newly acquired burden with the Sincle already in his arms, Amethyst is forced to settle for half placing, half dropping the tube on the ground while he reaches for Sincle's Poké Ball. "Watch it!" he snarls at the man once Sincle is safely returned. "Couldn't you see my Pokémon was injured? I don't need to deal with your junk, too!"

"Not my problem, you little brat," the darkly dressed man leers back. As fast as he arrived he is gone again, trailing the rest of his group down the road with a cloud of dust at their heels. In ten seconds' time they are out of sight; Amethyst finds himself alone in the street with the man whose agitated words were what first caused him to approach.

Planning to go meet the authoritative stranger face to face, Amethyst is quickly distracted by the sound of running footsteps. Looking to his left, he's amazed to see a disheveled, middle-aged lady burst out from behind the back of the lab. Where'd she come from? Amethyst wonders. There's nothing that way but trees and woods. Maybe the lab has a back entrance? He struggles to reconcile the picture of the woman before him with the sudden manner of her appearance. Her brown, slightly silvery hair looks like it would be gorgeous most other times but is now ruffled and unkempt. She's wearing a pale cream-colored dress and even modest high-heeled shoes. Anger smolders in her honey-colored eyes.

The woman screeches to a halt several yards from Amethyst and levels an accusing finger in his direction. "Here we are at last!" she exclaims in a surprisingly lilting, sing-songy voice. "No more running for you! I saw you, with them, from the air!"

In reality she's not that much taller than Amethyst, but the oddity and unexpectedness of the whole situation, combined with his lingering concern about Sincle and this second stranger's obvious displeasure, has the boy completely unnerved. "I-I don't know what you're t-talking about!" he stammers as he starts to back away.

With Amethyst's first step his foot kicks against something. Looking down he's startled to see the object forced upon him mere moments before, left there in favor of Sincle. "I almost forgot about you already," Amethyst says to himself, "but what are you?" Perhaps his kick dislodged something, for no sooner are the words out of Amethyst's mouth than the cylindrical object pops open along its length, the top lifting backward on an unseen hinge. Settled within are three very familiar spherical items.

"Huh? It's got...Poké Balls?!" Amethyst exclaims.

"Yes, Poké Balls," the woman flashes back at him. "Don't pretend this is news to you!" Her voice rises in pitch with each subsequent word until she's practically belting out opera. "They're not where they are supposed to be and so you are going to pay!"

The woman whirls into a dramatic spin; when she halts facing Amethyst he can see that she's produced two Poké Balls of her own, though he can't imagine where she got them from. He's not given much time to ponder the question as one of them is tossed into the air and its owner cries, "Set the tempo...Trillark!"

"What the...wha...What are you doing?!" Amethyst bursts out as he's confronted by the woman's battle-ready partner. "Hey, look, I'm not here to fight you! I can't--I don't have any--my Pokémon isn't...healthy..." Driven by panic and haste he trips over his words.

"Ah, but I am here now, to fight you! Enough!" Amethyst's self-proclaimed opponent snaps. "I will put a stop to this! I, Magnolia Rose!"

Amethyst's whole body goes rigid; something flashes deep in his thoughts. Magnolia...Rose? "Aah!" he cries aloud. "I know you!" He's seen this person in pictures before, albeit with a much more refined atmosphere. "You're her! The Gym Leader!"

"Ahahahahaha!" Magnolia Rose chuckles lightly. "I'm so happy to meet another fan, but so sad it has to be someone like you! Tell me, what do you think of my voice which echoes across the land? And what do you think of my lovely Trillark's...Echoed Voice?!"

Puzzled by her words, Amethyst doesn't realize what's going on until too late. Trillark flaps its wings for balance as it lets loose a barrage of sound that slams into the unprepared Trainer like a truck.
Pronounced just as it's spelled, from trill and lark. A Normal/Flying type Basic Pokémon. Despite its typing and early appearance in the story, this is not the species delegated as the usual early-game bird stereotype.
Trillark is based on larks generally, though it draws more heavily from the horned lark and the Indochinese lark. It's an average-sized small bird Pokémon with a black arch-shaped marking over each black eye. These markings split off at the top of the arch into two longer thin feathers that curl around the back of Trillark's head. It has two similar feathers at the base of its tail that curl out into a flat half-circle shape; its other tail feathers are relatively short and come to a triangular point between these two. Markings on its head and a bib-shaped region on its chest are a solid yellowish color like old parchment; the rest of its belly and back are streaked with a range of browns fading into whites, though noticeably darker in general around the head and tail. Its typical birdlike legs are also black, ending in rather knob-like feet that each have three short toes pointing forward and one back.
Trillark has exceptional control over its voice. The sounds it is capable of producing are many and varied; innocent birdsong can morph into a devastating attack in a heartbeat. Trillark's moves include Growl, Sing, Gust, Twister, Echoed Voice, Astonish, Round, Confide, Disarming Voice, Uproar, Air Cutter, Jetstream, Squall, Dragon Breath, Tailwind, Feather Dance, Hyper Voice, Dragon Pulse, and Boomburst.
"She soars gracefully through the heavens!"
Magnolia Rose Aspen, who usually goes by Magnolia Rose, is the first of the eight Gym Leaders of the Carnelian League. She is a middle-aged woman who specializes in Flying-type Pokémon. In addition to her duties as Gym Leader, Magnolia Rose has a very successful career as a singer which has made her something of an idol, and she is known to have a bit of a dramatic streak.
A special-based Flying-type attack with 35 power, 85 accuracy, and 0 priority. Jetstream traps the target for 4-5 turns and damages them by 1/8th of their maximum HP at the end of every turn they remain trapped.
A special-based Flying-type attack with 60 power, 90 accuracy, and -6 priority. Squall forces the target to switch out, ending the battle if used by or against a wild Pokémon.
 

Typhlosion

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Amethyst's foot drags along the ground as his whole body is thrown backwards; for the second time it knocks against the cylindrical container, this time tipping it backwards and spilling its contents onto the hard ground. Amethyst himself lands flat on his back, with no air in his lungs and Trillark's Echoed Voice ringing in his head. Magnolia Rose's next words seem to come from far away.

"To a crescendo, Trillark! It's time for Twister!" she says with a flourish.

Amethyst can only stare up at the sky while the Gym Leader's Pokémon flaps into place above him. From only a few feet above him Trillark unleashes its Twister attack. The swirling column presses Amethyst into the ground so that he can't even lift his arms; the fierce winds rip at his shirt and vest.

Something smooth bumps against the fingers of Amethyst's right hand, but he is unable to twist his arm and grasp it. He settles for flicking his watering eyes in that direction, and picks up a quick burst of light. A solid but not uncomfortable weight settles on his chest.

Still under the force of Trillark's Twister, Amethyst finds himself staring into the small green-and-gray face of a Pokémon. The recognition is instant, as it would be for the many children of Ilona who aspired to be Pokémon Trainers. "A...a Limberjax?" Amethyst murmurs. "What are you doing here?"

In the back of his mind he hears the voice of Magnolia Rose once again. "Oh my! What is it doing? Trillark, no more, stop!"

Taking advantage of his new freedom to move, Amethyst wiggles around for a better look at the creature now occupying his chest. One of the Ilona Region's starter Pokémon...three Poké Balls...maybe they're all starter Pokémon! the boy reasons internally. But that means it's young, and probably still weak...that Twister can't have been good for it. I wonder why...

Limberjax's long, characteristic tail waves back and forth over its small body. Through his blurry eyes, Amethyst imagines Sincle in its place, with its tentacle swaying just like a tail. Some deep instinct takes hold of Amethyst. Don't worry...I'll keep you safe. Reaching up to wrap his arms around Limberjax in a hug, he rolls over into the fetal position, curling his own body around the young starter Pokémon.

Magnolia Rose, too, finds herself operating less and less on rational thought. "That poor Pokémon, what could he be doing to it now? As if he hasn't done enough already! Dislodge him with your Astonish attack, Trillark!"

Amethyst flinches and lets out an involuntary cry each time the little bird Pokémon rams against his back, but he refuses to abandon his position. Once more he finds himself gazing into the bright, curious eyes of the Limberjax. "I don't know what's going on," Amethyst manages to smile reassuringly, "but nothing is happening to you on my watch!"

Limberjax's eyes flicker with what Amethyst fancies is solemn understanding. When the next Astonish connects, it bunches its small muscles and leaps clear over Amethyst. The boy hears nothing but a hiss, a squawk, and the dusty whump of a feathered mass striking the ground hard. He jerks his head around in surprise and scrambles into a kneeling position. Limberjax crouches with bared fangs over a very disoriented Trillark.

"How...how...dare you...Limberjax, what's going on?" Magnolia Rose gapes as she tries to understand this turn of events. Her fierce glare is quickly turned upon Amethyst. "...you! It must be! How could--what have you done to this Pokémon?!"

"USE MIST!!"

A thick, cold fog gushes over the makeshift battlefield before either combatant can identify its source. Unable to see so much as a shadow of Magnolia Rose or her Trillark, Amethyst can do nothing but blink in confusion until a hand claps down on his right shoulder. "Aaahh--" he begins to shout before the hand moves to cover his mouth. Whirling about to find its owner, Amethyst sees the same man who told off the uniformed gang. He motions for silence and then gestures that Amethyst should follow him; Limberjax dutifully trails after them. Striding confidently through the obscuring mist, the man halts a number of yards away at the side of a Lapras. Amethyst's eyes widen at the casual sight of this rare, majestic Pokémon: the source of the Mist attack. The man gives his Ice Pokémon an encouraging pat and turns to face the young Trainer he led there. His mouth opens to say something, but another voice beats him to the punch.

"The show goes on, don't you know!" Magnolia Rose sings into the mist. "I can always...spot an audience! And I do that, with Oscry!" The unmistakable sound of a Poké Ball's release mechanism reverberates through the clouded air.

Two pale yellow beams like eyes lance out of the mist and fall on Limberjax. The small Pokémon suddenly cowers, hunkering down in fear with its tail wrapped close. "What's going on now?" Amethyst growls through gritted teeth.

"Could be Oscry's Leer," the boy's savior muses calmly. "Next it'll be a strike--there--look out!" There's no time for any of the three to react as a dark winged shape darts out of the mist, bowls Limberjax over, and vanishes. "That's not good," the owner of the Lapras continues in the same level tone. "Oscry's eyesight is unbeatable. We're all sitting Farfetch'd while this mist might as well not even be there for it."

"Grraah, then how are we supposed to fight back?!" Amethyst rages. "I don't even know what moves this thing can use!"

An odd expression crosses the taller man's face. "If...you want to know what moves Limberjax has...then use this."

Amethyst is handed a strange, flat device, little bigger than a cell phone and hinged on one side. He scrutinizes it in confusion for a few seconds before returning his attention to its giver. "I don't know what--" he flinches at another grunt of pain from Limberjax. The battle still goes on; Oscry isn't letting up on the pressure. The two humans have spent too much time talking while the Pokémon are in trouble. "Quick, how does this help me?" Amethyst snaps impatiently.

"Open. Scan. Learn. Win," is the clipped reply.

Not wasting any time Amethyst flips open the hinge. The device unfolds into two halves, with a screen and a keypad. He points the device in Limberjax's direction and immediately a torrent of information about the species and the individual is scrolling across the screen. Wishing he could take it all in but knowing there's a priority, Amethyst navigates to a tab labeled "Moves." Scratch, Tail Whip, Leafage, Metal Claw.

Amethyst's eyes widen in shock. "This...it knows everything! What is this?"

A genuine smile breaks over the tall man's face. "It's called a Pokédex. Truth be told you're quite lucky. They are rare and highly prized."

"Wow..." breathes the young Trainer. For the first time he takes real notice of what this stranger is like. The man is tall, of course, certainly over six feet. His eyes are the next thing anyone would notice: small, pale in color, endlessly searching. Lanky, dark gray hair falls over the shoulders of his crimson overcoat: all in all, an imposing figure. "Who are you?" Amethyst blurts out. "What's your name?"

"Hah! What's my name..." the man snorts. Softly, almost to himself, he continues, "And, who am I. What an interesting...question..." Isn't that question what it's all about? How amusing. It's only after several seconds of being lost in his thoughts that the man refocuses.

"You can call me Q, my friend. Now, don't you have a battle on your hands?"
Pronounced "LIMM-burr-jacks" from timber, lumberjack, and ax. I didn't exactly mean for the name to include "limber" but that happened anyway. Shame it doesn't get Limber as one of its Abilities. A Grass/Steel-type Basic Pokémon.
Limberjax draws inspiration from squirrels, sharing some features especially with the northern palm squirrel. Its primary coloration consists of medium gray and a muted grass green, befitting its typing, with some darker forest green as well. Limberjax is a small, rather social Pokémon that lives primarily in trees with others of its kind. Its short legs end in five little claws each that are very hard and sharp. It has a striped body pattern that begins around its eyes and runs the length of its body; behind Limberjax's ears and on its haunches are small knobby growths like acorns. Limberjax's most noticeable features is its flowing bushy tail, which is almost as big again as the Pokémon's whole body. At the end of the tail, pointing upward, is a rectangular ax blade that Limberjax uses to chop wood for food and building a nest, and occasionally for fighting.
Limberjax is the Grass-type starter Pokémon of the Ilona region, available to beginning Trainers through Professor Aspen. Its moves include Scratch, Tail Whip, Leafage, Metal Claw, Timber Lash, Tail Slap, Razor Leaf, Metal Sound, Leaf Tornado, Dig, Seed Bomb, Round, Hyper Fang, Iron Tail, Leaf Blade, Guillotine, Sledgehammer, and Giant Bloom. Limberjax's only regular Ability is Overgrow, while its Hidden Ability is the exclusive Tempered Edge.
Pronounced "OSS-cry," from osprey, cry, and also scry. A Flying-type Basic Pokémon.
Oscry, based on the osprey, is a bird Pokémon which stands about two feet tall. Its two fierce eyes are bright yellow-gold, accompanied by a band of feathers the same color circling the crown of its head almost like a halo. It has a wide, deep chest which gives it powerful flight capabilities as well as the lung capacity for extremely long and loud cries. The white undersides of its wings are overlaid by a pattern of brown feathers radiating out in lines from its "armpits"; Oscry's belly is also white, whereas its back is covered with longer, shaggier brown-to-black feathers that sweep down toward its tail. It has a black hooked beak, and its yellow-gold talons are so curved and pointy that they almost make a perfect circle with the front- and back-facing toes held together.
Oscry is a common sight throughout Ilona, and it's also a popular choice with newer Trainers due to being an intelligent battler but also taking commands well. Oscry like to live in tall places, so they can be found equally at home in a city, in a forest, or atop seaside cliffs. Its moves include Peck, Focus Energy, Quick Attack, Leer, Wing Attack, Fury Attack, Seismic Toss, Whirlwind, Slash, Sky Drop, Squall, Talon Rake, Talon Sweep, Snatch, and Smart Strike. It can have Deeper Sight as an Ability.
A physical-based Grass-type attack with 50 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Timber Lash lower's the target's Speed by one stage.
A physical-based Steel-type attack with 120 power, 70 accuracy, and 0 priority. Sledgehammer has a 20% chance to lower the target's Defense stat by one stage.
A special-based Grass-type attack with variable power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Giant Bloom starts with 150 power when the user has full HP and decreases proportionally in power based on the percentage of the user's remaining HP. (This move rounds out the trio with Eruption and Water Spout and has the same effect.)
The user’s Ability and type cannot be modified, changed, or removed. Pokémon that can have this Ability include Limberjax and its evolutions.
A physical-based Flying-type attack with 40 power, 90 accuracy, and 0 priority. Talon Rake strikes twice in a row.
A physical-based Flying-type attack with 80 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Talon Sweep has a 30% chance of causing the target to flinch.
The user is immune to two-turn moves, even when some effect causes them to take only one turn.
 

Typhlosion

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"Okay. You're right." Amethyst nods and firms up his stance; his mind is already racing with the possibilities. Oscry can see through the mist. The way it attacks...it expects there to be no fighting back. Limberjax is wide open...hmm... "Limberjax, you can use your tail," Amethyst says suddenly in a voice that's carefully low but full of suppressed intensity. The bushy appendage is almost the size of the Pokémon's whole body. "Get Oscry to attack that."

Limberjax nods in acknowledgement and waves its tail low over its body. Trainer and Pokémon alike are tensed to the breaking point. "There on your left!" Amethyst shouts as he sees a fast-moving blur through the mist. Limberjax jerks its tail in that direction and Oscry turns sharply to track it. The Flying-type strikes only a glancing, ineffective blow before once more peeling away, seemingly unaware of its failure to inflict meaningful damage.

"Excellent," Amethyst mutters.

"Would you look at that," the man called Q chuckles quietly to himself.

For a second time Amethyst and Limberjax execute their ploy of distraction. Is it just me, or was Oscry moving a bit slower on that last pass? We still aren't going to win the battle anytime soon like this. "Heads up, Limberjax. Hold steady."

The shadow of Oscry appears directly in front of Limberjax this time. "Perfect," Amethyst grins to himself. He shouts to the Pokémon under his command, "Time to engage! Straight up with your tail, then ATTACK!"

Oscry comes in head-on. The moment it connects Limberjax flicks its tail upward, catching the bird Pokémon under the chin and tossing it away. Amethyst's new ally leaps up with a combination of Tackle followed by Metal Claw, and before anyone has time to say a word Oscry is splayed out on the ground, unconscious.

"Amazing," Q breathes. "Just like that...who would've--ah." His look of shock turns into a small smile. "That was a good job, making use of Limberjax's Tail Whip the way you did. Dodging attacks and softening up your target at the same time."

Over his shoulder Amethyst cracks a hesitant grin of his own, before turning back to the battle, all business. Half to himself he explains, "It's all about seeing what's there. That's what I do: I observe. Careful observation reveals a path to any goal." He snaps out of his musings at the sound of a voice: one he's been expecting.

Magnolia Rose crosses her arms, halfway between pouting and thoughtfulness. "Oscry hasn't come back...this isn't right." Elevating her voice she whoops, "Trillark, use Gust for all you're worth! Clear away this mist!"

After that, a whooshing noise fills the ears of Amethyst and Q. Within seconds shreds of mist were curling away into the wind over Masolin Town, and the form of Trillark ferociously beating its wings comes into view.

"Oscry! No!" the Gym Leader wails when she catches sight of her fainted Pokémon. She glares at Amethyst, but her face quickly changes to one of surprise when she notices Q standing off to the side with his Lapras. She opens her mouth but no words come out. After a few seconds of confused blinking she stammers, "B-but, you! I don't understand...you are here too?" Amethyst isn't sure what Magnolia Rose is talking about, but he's immediately on the alert when he sees her previous irritation overtake her once more. "It doesn't matter! Now, you must help me fight this one! More Gust, Trillark! We shall blow them away!"

Amethyst is running through his options when Q steps up beside him and throws out an arm. "Use Ice Shard on Trillark, Lapras!" The huge blue Pokémon complies without hesitation. Trillark barely has time to flap its wings before those wings are being pelted by sharp chunks of ice which freeze to its body. With that one attack Trillark follows Oscry into unconsciousness.

Magnolia Rose claps her hands against her head, straining to comprehend what has just taken place. Q crosses his arms and nods to the Gym Leader. In a tone that's half apologetic and half admonishing he says to her, "Two against one isn't fair. I think we're done fighting; let's talk instead." He sets the example by reaching into a pocket of his coat for a Poké Ball and returning Lapras with a murmur of praise.

In stunned silence Magnolia Rose follows suit, returning her defeated Trillark and Oscry. Amethyst looks about him to locate Limberjax's Poké Ball for good measure, spotting it lying on the ground a few feet away, but doesn't bother to retrieve it as the little starter Pokémon runs up to him instead. With wonder in his eyes he crouches down to meet it; Limberjax wastes no time in nuzzling Amethyst's hands and arms and running all around the boy, sniffing as he goes. Amethyst can't help laughing a little in amusement and also bewilderment. "Limberjax, what's gotten into you?"

High-heeled shoes walk into Amethyst's vision; he tilts his head back to see Magnolia Rose standing over him, tapping her foot in frustration. "Out with it, Q," she says at last. "How do you know this young Trainer? Why did you side with him?"

Amethyst gasps, his head swiveling back and forth between the two adults. "Q, you know her?"

The man lets out a dry chuckle. "My dear Gym Leader. And young...why, I don't believe we know your name."

"Huh? Oh, I'm Amethyst." For some reason he's faintly embarrassed but amused to think that while he recognized the famous Magnolia Rose, and Q already introduced himself, to both of them he's no one. "Amethyst...Stonewall."

Over his head, the man and woman share a glance, something passing between them. "It runs in the family," Magnolia Rose observes under her breath.

"Is that so...well, it's nice to meet you, Amethyst," Q goes on. "At any rate, what I wanted to say was that I believe there has been quite a misunderstanding. If you would, allow me to clarify the situation." He reaches out a hand to pull Amethyst to his feet. "This person was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ones who stole from this lab--the real enemy here--took advantage of his presence to pin the burden of their crimes on him. That is how he came to be in possession of these Ilonian starter Pokémon. Those people were scared," he explains. "I think, somehow, they blundered badly. I was fortunate to be in a position to see it all."

Before Magnolia Rose can respond to this new information Amethyst blurts out, "And who are they? Who is 'the real enemy'?"

Q's brow furrows with an inscrutable expression. "They're known as Team Bullet. I...don't know what they want, but they hurt people and Pokémon to do it... Wherever they go it's never good."

Magnolia Rose turns to Amethyst with genuine contrition. "Please, forgive me, for my actions against you. I don't know what brought you here, but it seems you were a victim in all this too, as much as anyone else."

"Ahh! Sincle brought me here!" Amethyst shouts, causing the other two people to flinch. Digging in his pocket he produces its Poké Ball. "My Sincle was badly injured earlier today! I came looking for someone who could heal it!! Please!!"

The Gym Leader nods, all business again. "We have something here that can help you, certainly. Follow me!" She stoops to pick up the three spilled Poké Balls and their case, and then Amethyst, Limberjax, and Q troop behind her into Professor Aspen's laboratory.

Q immediately strides over to a healing machine against one wall and fires it up. Huh, funny. He knew exactly where it was and how to turn it on, Amethyst thinks to himself. After he has placed Sincle's Poké Ball into the device the boy takes some time to look around the building. To his surprise, it seems devoid of any other people. "Hey, Q," he calls. "Where is everyone? Shouldn't there be a bunch of scientists or something? And the professor?"

Magnolia Rose answers the question instead. "She's away on a research trip. She asked me to watch over the lab in her absence. And Q is helping out as well!"

Amethyst nods. Makes sense, and it explains how Q seemed to know his way around. He glances back at the healing machine. "Do you think Sincle will be okay? It's my responsibility."

Q smiles. "I'm glad you take it seriously. Don't worry; this will take care of it all. But do tell me, how did your Pokémon get injured like that in the first place?"

Amethyst relays the story of how he went up the the mountain trail and then angered the horde of Vineide. By the end of his tale he's visibly irritated; the matter is no joke to him, but Magnolia Rose is doing her best to stifle laughter.

In the end she can't stop herself. "Ahahahaha! I'm sorry, I'm sorry! You mustn't think me rude! But something finally makes sense to me. All through our battle I couldn't understand why Limberjax had taken such a shine to you, when the two of you had never even seen one another. But now I know! You're absolutely covered in the scents of the mountain forest, its home. Limberjax is attracted to the way you smell!"

Amethyst stares down at the Grass/Steel Pokémon who hasn't left his side since it first appeared. Strangely, he feels disappointment rising within him. So that's all it is, huh? I smell like a tree?

"Speaking of Limberjax..." Magnolia Rose interrupts his thoughts as she walks over to a small flat case lying on a countertop and removes something from it. "I am a Gym Leader of the Carnelian League, you know! We may not have conducted our battle in a Gym, but we fought fairly, and I with my whole strength as a Trainer. You have both earned this: the Rhythm Badge!"

I...I won a Gym Badge?! Just like that? What the heck?! The Gym Leader's offer leaves Amethyst dumbfounded, and so Q is the first to speak. Even he sounds rather caught off guard, and that's not something I can imagine happening very often to him.

"Thank you, this is truly a surprise and an honor," Q says, "but...I can't accept that from you. It wouldn't feel right. I only stepped into the battle at the very end, and I didn't come here with any intentions of acquiring a Gym Badge, of all things."

"Oh? Is that so?" Magnolia Rose greets Q's declaration with a raised eyebrow. "Then, tell me. Why are you here? I really don't know. Where do you fit into all this?"
Given out by Gym Leader Magnolia Rose. The Rhythm badge is a very shallow V shape, with five bars sticking down: one at the point, and groups of two at the two ends. Each of the pairs is connected at the bottom as well to form two vertical parallelograms, while the lone bar in the center ends in a circle. The filled areas are a pale bluish-silver (like the Flying-type) and everything else, the bars and lines, are black. It's meant to look like a run of musical notes while incorporating stylized wings.
 

Typhlosion

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The bird is roosting. Take your positions and move in.

The man known as Q surreptitiously taps out the message on a device worn on his wrist. His darting eyes stray only briefly from the one other person in the large room. Magnolia Rose sits in front of a high-powered computer, poring over lists of correspondence and detailed instructions. She huffs and fidgets, periodically blowing curls of hair out of her face and obviously not enamored with the menial work of a scientist. Not for the first time Q finds himself vaguely amused at how different she and her sister have turned out. He taps idly for a while at the wall he's leaning against, then pushes off and heads for the back of the lab.

He's just pouring a drink of water for himself when a harsh, insistent banging resonates from the front door of the facility. Magnolia Rose is out of her chair in an instant. "Something interesting, perhaps," she calls back to the lab assistant. "Finally!"

Magnolia Rose reaches the door and pulls it open. The second she does, a wall of psychic force blasts through the opening, ripping the handle out of her grasp and sending the door crashing back against the wall. The Gym Leader herself is thrown back onto the ground, but instead of trying to rise or even thrashing about she remains frozen in place, eerily immobile.

"Ah! Ms. Aspen!" Q cries. His cup is thrown aside and the water splashes on the floor. He leaps to the woman's defense, but stops with a grunt of "Ungh" as something invisible suddenly restricts his movements. "Feels like I ran into a wall of jelly!" He quits struggling entirely as a being enters the door: not a human but rather a Pokémon.

It has a fairly humanoid shape, with stocky arms and legs; the Pokémon's whole body is made of some kind of smooth, shiny reflective surface, and all the shapes of its body are composed of regular polygons like a cut gemstone. It advances steadily through the air, levitating, while holding its arms out in front of it. Perhaps a dozen shady-looking people spill into the room after it, all wearing the same black tough-guy gear complete with hats, capes, and boots. A woman near the front halts by the floating Pokémon, who has similarly paused in front of the motionless Gym Leader who is still splayed out on the floor.

"Great job, Wardlock," snickers the woman, presumably Wardlock's trainer. "Now, up with her!" Complying noiselessly and without hesitation Wardlock raises its arms, spinning Magnolia Rose into an upright position with her arms behind her back. The woman steps forward holding a pair of handcuffs, and Q gets a better look at the captive Gym Leader.

Her eyes are still open! She's still conscious, but lacking any sort of control over the situation, even her own body! Must be terrible. The psychic barrier between Q and the Wardlock has lessened, if not dissipated entirely, but Q doesn't notice. He's frozen too, in his own way. This is Team Bullet. What are they going to do next?! What should I do?

While their leader is occupied with their captive, the other grunts have fanned throughout the building. Various shouts, whirs, and slamming noises echo fill the space from the grunts' activity; it's obvious to Q they're searching for something. I could fight back. One hand subconsciously works its way inside Q's coat. But that Pokémon is a Steel-type, I know, and it obviously possesses well-developed Psychic capabilities. I don't know if my Pokémon are prepared to take it on...I'm sorry, Magnolia Rose.

One grunt passes right by Q, so close the man could reach out an arm and grab his shoulder. Still rooted to the spot, Q's attention has nevertheless been diverted, and he turns to continue watching the member of Team Bullet.

The grunt takes a haphazard path through his area, poking and prodding briefly at whatever looks like it might be important. Turning the corner around a worktable, his foot skids in the patch of water spilled by Q. After staggering about comically trying to steady himself, the man brings his hand down on a bank of switches. A projector behind him whirs to life, displaying its image on the wall over a glass containment pod. Q's eyes widen as he sees the grunt stop in front of the projector and squint to read the information provided.

It's not long before the grunt raises his clenched fist in a signal and a few of his squad members hurry to his side. "This has got to be it!" the grunt brags. "What's more special than the starter Pokémon of the Ilona Region? And look, one of 'em's even a Steel-type. It matches the orders we were given. These must be the Pokémon!" One of the other grunts takes a moment to record the information from the projector while two others fiddle with the pod until its hatch opens up. Inside are three pristine Poké Balls within their own smaller case; the first grunt snatches them up with a snigger of glee and the whole bunch hurries back to the center of the room, where the Wardlock still has its captive immobilized.

This can't be happening. Those...buffoons! They're going to steal the starter Pokémon, and take Magnolia Rose as...some kind of hostage?!

Q slides his right hand back inside the sleeve of his other arm. All units and targets withdraw. I'll follow you to the rendezvous point.

The Trainer of the Wardlock stiffens, then looks down to study something on her arm. Her booted foot makes a loud clap as she stomps the floor to gather everyone's attention. Wordlessly directed by a sweep of her arm, all the Team Bullet grunts make for the exit, Wardlock and Magnolia Rose among them. The last one to leave even closes the door on his way out, but as soon as the latch clicks shut a splitting alarm begins to wail through the building. Q, alone in the now-deserted laboratory, bolts for the back door.

The scene changes; Q's reminiscence is over. "Where do you fit into all this?"

Q pins Magnolia Rose in his gaze. "I'm here for the Pokémon," he tells her earnestly. "That's why I took up a position working as Professor Aspen's assistant. That's why, when those starter Pokémon were stolen, I knew I couldn't sit there and do nothing about it. Even though...at the time, in the moment...I hesitated. I wasn't ready. I'm sorry."

The Gym Leader's inquisitive expression softens. "You're not at fault here. Your skill as a Trainer is clear and I've seen the way you have with Pokémon, but I can't force you to accept this badge if you don't want it!" she chuckles. "Thank you for what you've done." Then she turns to Amethyst and jokes, "And what about you? I suppose you don't want to accept the Rhythm Badge either?"

Amethyst turns his attention away from the badge in his hand to search for Limberjax, who has wandered away from his side in favor of cheerfully exploring the lab. The little Pokémon no longer seems to be paying him any attention, and the boy's eyes harden. You belong in the forest. That's your rightful place, not with me. "No," he growls. "I do not want to accept the Rhythm Badge." He holds out the pin, silently demanding that the Gym Leader take it back.

His bold declaration clearly shocks Magnolia Rose. "What?! Why not? You look to be about the age when you could set out on your own journey to reach the Carnelian Plateau. Don't you want to follow in your sister's footsteps?"

Amethyst's irritation turns to rage at her last remark. "There's more to Pokémon, to life, than battling to win fame and glory," he sneers. "Don't talk to me about Amber." Turning to Q he snaps, "Is my Sincle fully healed by now?!"

Q leans over to check the machine before fishing out the Poké Ball it holds. "It sure is. Your Pokémon's injuries are gone; here you go."

"Thank you." Amethyst accepts the Poké Ball, gives each of his elders a curt nod, and makes for the door.

"Just a minute, sir!" Magnolia Rose shrieks imperiously.

"My ears...how can she sound so commanding in a register higher than the ceiling?" Amethyst grumbles. Reluctantly he turns to face her.

The Gym Leader flounces over until she's right in front of him. "You will accept this proof of victory against me, the Foria City Gym Leader!"

"What?" the younger Trainer wails. "How come? You didn't make Q!"

"Q," Magnolia Rose lectures, "didn't defeat a Gym Leader by partnering with an untrained Pokémon he had never met before in his life, under emotional duress and faced with rather disorienting circumstances. I don't just sit in my concert hall and battle all day; part of my responsibility is to guard and nurture the next generation of Trainers. I will not let you walk away from this!"

Amethyst scoffs mutinously. "That's what you think. And you said it yourself: that dumb Limberjax isn't even my Pokémon. It was only attracted to me because I'm covered in the scents of the forest." He reaches out to grab the door handle, but before he can step out his ears pick up the sound of pattering feet. He whips around with a scowl, only to be confronted by Limberjax grabbing in distress at his ankles and staring up at him with huge, pleading eyes. "Well? What do you want?"

"You are wrong about this Pokémon," Magnolia Rose tells him gently. "The two of you already share a strong bond, forged through battle. Limberjax has chosen that it wants to be with you."

"Can...how can that be?" Amethyst wonders aloud. He crouches down and reaches for Limberjax. Without hesitation it leaps onto his outstretched arm, racing up Amethyst's body to perch on his head while chattering excitedly.

Magnolia Rose smiles warmly. "See? What did I tell you? And now, Amethyst, what's a starter Pokémon...without a Pokémon journey? You need this," she insists as she folds the Rhythm Badge back into his hand. "You told me there's more to Pokémon and to life than battling. I can't wait to see where your journey takes you, and what purpose and fulfillment you will find along the way."

The next morning dawns fresh and bright. Route 49 beckons with open arms, but Amethyst can't resist one last look back at his hometown. The afternoon before, Magnolia Rose had given him Limberjax, as well as an official Trainer Card. He recalls part of the conversation he had with his parents that night, telling them about what had happened and what would come of it.

You're going on a journey?!" Amethyst's father exclaims. "Just like that? What for; do you have any kind of plan?"

Amethyst stares down his father's barrage of questions unflinchingly. "Sincle...my first Pokémon...is ordinarily a marine-dwelling species. I want to see its home; I'm going to the sea!"

Amethyst's mother comes up behind her husband and wraps him in a hug. "Let it go, Jack," she soothes. "This won't be the first time a child of ours has left home on what seemed like a fool's errand. And I bet...fate has no less in store for Amethyst than it had for Amber."


The newly-minted Trainer fills his lungs with the mountain air. Well, we'll see about that. But looking down at Sincle and Limberjax, his Pokémon, and his brand new Trainer Card, he can't help feeling suddenly invincible.

He's been walking for barely an hour when Amethyst encounters another traveler. She's young, around his own age he thinks, and heading for Masolin Town. She's not an unusual sight; Route 49 is something of a hotbed for Trainers, be they newbies from Quembar or Masolin or veterans returning south with their eyes on the Pokémon League. At first Amethyst pays her little heed, but then he sees her face: the brown-haired girl is seething mad, never shifting from a glare as she stalks onward while ignoring her surroundings. The girl's flashing blue eyes are burned into Amethyst's memory.
Pronounced "WARD-lock" from ward (the verb, as in to ward something off) and warlock. A Steel/Psychic type fully evolved basic Pokémon.
Wardlock is a humanoid species about five feet tall; though it possesses legs it prefers to float in the air. Its body is made of smooth, highly reflective metal that seems unable to be scratched or dirtied. Its whole body has an angular structure, lacking any rounded curves in favor of a skin surface made entirely of polygons meeting at shallow edges. These range randomly from triangles to shapes with over twelve sides. Its arms and legs are stocky; its upper torso is more solidly build as well in a way that resembles armor, with a small spike pointing up and out over each shoulder. Wardlock's body is formed in such a way that it has the ability to fold itself into a seamless dodecahedron, with none of its features accessible. The corners of Wardlock's angular mouth jut outward, as do the corners of its eyes. These, combined with its head coming to a cone-shaped point, give Wardlock's face the shape of a pentagram when viewed head on. The "whites" of its eyes are black while the centers are slate gray.
This Pokémon has a hugely defensive concept. It learns very few damaging attacks, at least by level up, in favor of all sorts of barrier and screen types of moves. However, one attacking move that is does get is the new Magic Hold.
Carnelian Plateau is the home of Ilona's Pokémon League, also known as the Carnelian League. It's located near the peak of one of the tallest mountains in Ilona's southwestern range, at the eastern edge of said mountain range. From the vantage point of Carnelian Plateau one can see eastward all the way to the ocean.
Amethyst's family name is Stonewall; his father Jack and his mother live in Masolin Town. Amethyst has one older sister, Amber.
A special-based Psychic-type attack with 50 power, 100 accuracy, and -1 priority. Magic Hold prevents the target from using physical-based attacks for the remainder of the current turn and the following turn.
 
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Typhlosion

Tempered Steel
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Rainbow Rocket Executive
Cult Classic
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"Before anything else, I have to go to the Pokémon Center here," Opal says to herself. Even with all of Masolin Town spread in front of here, the building that can be a Trainer's home away from home is easy for Opal to identify courtesy of its signature bright orange roof. "I need you in tip-top shape if we're going to go after Team Bullet, Zebrun, and that means getting some proper care for your leg," Opal explains to the Ultra Ball on her hip. "Man, I can't wait until they finish building Quembar Town's Pokémon Center. I wanted to help you sooner rather than later, but it doesn't do much good when this is the best 'sooner' I can do." Opal pictures the injuries to Zebrun's leg inflicted by the Team Bullet grunt's Murclay; they don't appear to have gotten worse in the four days since then, but they aren't getting better either. Fired by the prospect of completing the very first stage of her journey, Opal strides into town with a will.

"Nurse Joy!" Opal calls as the glass doors of the hospital slide open to welcome her.

The lady with iconic pink hair looks up from a monitor behind the counter. "Hello!" she smiles. "Welcome to our Pokémon Center. How may I help you?"

"My Zebrun's legs are hurt," Opal replies in a subdued voice. "A Murclay caused it; I didn't see what happened, but it's been a few days and the wounds aren't healing right."

The Pokémon nurse frowns. "Wounds that don't get better are always something that deserve special attention. Here, I'll take your Pokémon for a few seconds then." When Opal hesitates, a sympathetic light comes into the nurse's eyes. "I know you're worried, but I promise, your Zebrun will be in good hands. I need to see it so I can perform a preliminary examination." She grins reassuringly when Opal hands over the Ultra Ball. "If nothing else, I'm sure your Pokémon is happy to have such an advanced, quality Ball! Now, I'll just go right over here..." Nurse Joy drops the Ultra Ball into one of six slots attached to a small bank of monitors. Opal doesn't know what's happening, but her gaze is locked on the scene while Joy taps several buttons resulting in a whirring noise and some beeping lights. In less than thirty seconds she turns back to the apprehensive Trainer.

"The issue is not one I can address here, I'm afraid," she sighs. "If you would, you can follow me and we'll get right back to an examination room." Opal's around the corner in a flash to follow the nurse through swinging doors deeper into the Center.

Nurse Joy wears a frown on her face while she moves about Zebrun, who's resting on an examination table in the center of the small room. Opal rubs his head to keep him calm, but she's not sure how much she needs to; her spirited Pokémon seems decidedly lethargic. Soon Nurse Joy makes her way back around to Opal's side. "Your Pokémon's injuries are far from life-threatening, but they will require some work and I'm afraid there's not quick fix. Your Zebrun won't be healed today. If you'd like to go back to the main lobby and reserve a room for the night, that would probably be a good idea."

"Oh...I see." Opal bites her lip. "If that's the case--yes, I'd better do that." She glances awkwardly at her Pokémon before looking up into Nurse Joy's eyes. "But...there's something else I need to take care of as well while I'm here in Masolin Town. Can I leave Zebrun here at the Pokémon Center with you while I go do that?"

The Pokémon nurse hesitates before responding. "Most Trainers prefer to stay here with their Pokémon during their treatment, even if it could take quite some time," she explains. "If you're going to be partners in battle, they say, you need to be partners in recovery as well."

"Yes, I understand that," Opal replies, "but this doesn't mean I don't care about my Pokémon! I really have to go, today! There's not a moment to lose!" she cries. "Zebrun will be fine here with you, won't he, Nurse Joy? After all, you're the one here who knows all about healing Pokémon. I wouldn't be any use." Opal is already bouncing on her feet, edging towards the door. As she twists the handle she calls, "Nurse Joy will fix you right up, Zebrun! I'll be back as quick as I can!" With that she darts out into the hallway, leaving behind Nurse Joy with a mildly disapproving look on her face and a very tired Normal-type.

Opal bursts out of the front doors into weak sunshine. "All right! Time to go find Professor Aspen's laboratory so I can prepare myself for the real journey!" The eager novice peers to the right and to the left; then a blank expression crosses her face. "Except...I don't know where I'm going..." She slumps over with a gusty sigh, disheartened at having made such a stupid mistake. "Where do you think we should g--" Opal breaks off when she realizes that, out of habit, she's talking to the spot where she usually carries Wyrmer. "You're not...with me anymore," she says in a weak voice. "But that's why I'm here!!" Opal gives herself a brisk shake. "This is no time to slow down, not now, not ever!" Suddenly she grins a tiny bit. "Right...must be right!" Accordingly she swings to her right and marches away from the Pokémon Center.

After twenty or so minutes of hiking aimlessly through Masolin Town, selecting a new direction at random at each intersection, Opal still seems no closer to reaching her destination. That's when her attention is caught by a serious-looking man in a long white coat walking on the opposite side of the street. Opal snaps her fingers excitedly. "That's a scientist if ever I saw one! And scientists work in labs!" The words are hardly out of her mouth before she's sprinted across the street to block his path. "Excuse me!!" she practically yells in his face. "Do you know where I can find Professor Aspen's lab?!"

"Uwaah!" The poor man is almost knocked over backward by Opal's forceful inquiry; he turns out to be on the younger side. "Please!" he exclaims. "There's no need to be so loud! Yes, I do know where her lab is; as a matter of fact I work there! But who are you?!"

Opal retreats a pace, shamefaced; she hadn't meant to fluster the scientist so much. "My name's Opal. I would really like to see Professor Aspen as soon as I can!"

The scientist gives her a small smile. "If that's all it is, Opal, I can take you there now. Are you, by any chance, one of the Trainers...who..." He trails off mumbling to himself. "Of course she must be, with how much of a hurry she's in, and that kind of desperation..." He turns back the way he had come, waving Opal after him. "Alright, let's be going then!"

"Professor Aspen! There's a young Trainer here to see you!" the man announces upon entering the lab. Opal darts around in front of him, eager to take in all the sights of the technologically advanced building. What she's most eager to see, however, is the woman who quickly looks up from her work at the sound of the scientist's greeting. Dropping a thin sheaf of papers, she hurries toward the door. When she reaches them the junior researcher explains, "This is Opal. We ran into one another on the street, and she asked if I knew where to find you, Professor. She seemed quite urgent, so I accompanied her back here." He leans forward and adds in a lower tone, "I believe she's looking to receive a starter Pokémon."

The professor nods. "Thank you very much, Matthew. Would you mind finishing up those MSDS I left on the table?" Once her subordinate has scurried off she turns back to Opal with a warm smile. "Welcome to my laboratory. I'm Sequoia Aspen, Pokémon professor!" Opal takes a second to study one of the most famous people in the Ilona region. She's wearing a lavender windbreaker open over a white blouse and gray skirt, along with black Chelsea boots. Her eyes are the same purple as her jacket while above it all is a beehive of rich brown hair. She's not much taller than Opal, but nevertheless she has a presence that fills the area. "What can I help you with, Opal?"

The young Trainer in question stares Professor Aspen straight in the eyes. "I'm here...because I have to go on a journey! I need you to help me become a real Pokémon Trainer! ...I submitted an application electronically several days ago."

For a moment the professor looks sheepish. "It's been a...rough...few days for my lab. I myself just returned here from a trip late last night, and I'm afraid we haven't had the opportunity to do something like look at applications recently. But...'Have to?' 'Need,' you say? Usually when young boys and girls come here to become Trainers it's 'want.' What makes you different?"

Opal hangs her head when she thinks about the answer to that question, and her voice shakes when she speaks it aloud. "My first Pokémon...my partner...was stolen by Team Bullet." Now her whole body is shaking; her eyes are filled with tears and fire. "I have to go on a journey so that I can become stronger: strong enough to find my Wyrmer wherever he might be, and destroy Team Bullet and get him back!!"

Professor Aspen is left momentarily speechless by Opal's passionate outburst, but to the young girl's surprise an unknown voice responds in her stead. "You want to go on a journey to become stronger? The best way to do that, I would think, is by challenging the Pokémon League."

A man Opal's never seen before steps away from his work station in one corner. He doesn't seem like any of the other scientists in the building, what with his wild dark gray hair and large red coat. He waves a hand in apology before continuing, "You must forgive me for interrupting in this manner, but you see I couldn't help overhearing your conversation and being moved by Opal's position. What do you say, Professor? I think we should register this child as a League participant...and let her choose one of our starter Pokémon."

"Well...that would be rather sudden...but your judgment has always been good," Aspen concedes. "What do you think of his plan, Opal?"

"I'll do whatever it takes. You won't regret trusting me," is the terse reply.

"That's...what we'll do, then," the professor acquiesces. "If you'll follow me over here, Opal, I can look for that application you sent and then you can be registered."

Professor Aspen leads the way to another section of the lab and has a seat in front of a sleek laptop. A few strokes of the keys brings up what she's looking for, and she spends a minute or two skimming a document and nodding to herself. "Everything looks good," she announces when she finishes. "So let's make you a Trainer Card! Your name, Opal? Full name, that is."

As clearly as she can Opal states, "Opal Jade Springwell."

"Uhhh-huh." The professor keys in the response. "Says here that you're from Quembar Town...and...do you have any Pokémon on hand?"

Opal finds herself angered by the innocent question. "No, I don't!" Her voice is loud. "I have a Zebrun that I caught just after Wyrmer was stolen from me, but he's at the Pokémon Center because he was injured by those same Team Bullet members!"

"No...Pokémon...on...hand," Aspen says to herself while she types that as well. Then she swivels in her chair to face Opal with a compassionate smile. "I can't imagine how hard it must be. From the way you talk it sounds like you and Wyrmer were really good friends. Come here; there's one last thing we need to do." She has Opal sit in a chair next to hers and face a camera mounted on a stand. "This will be your ID picture, so make it a good one!" After the flash Professor Aspen springs back to her computer. It only takes a few more taps on the keyboard before she removes something docked to a plugin on the side of the laptop and presents it to Opal. "Your very own official Trainer Card."

Opal studies the image on the thin tablet-like device. The same familiar reflection of her own face stares back at her, but it's not quite the same. Her smile looks forced; the happiness doesn't reach her sea blue eyes.

"Of course," the professor prompts, "now that you've got a Trainer Card of your own, you do need a Pokémon to go with it. It's time to make your choice." She nods at something over Opal's shoulder; the girls cranes her neck to see that the same red-coated man from before has returned, now holding a Poké Ball in each hand. He returns Professor Aspen's nod and releases the two Pokémon onto a low bench.

Professor Aspen hastily steps in front of the two Pokémon. "As I'm sure you're aware," she explains quietly, "ordinarily new Trainers are given the choice of three Pokémon. However, the Grass-type Pokémon was given to another young Trainer such as yourself only yesterday and we haven't been able to receive another one yet. I hope you don't mind choosing only between these two. Feel free to have a look at all the information about their species!" She gestures to a poster on the wall, then steps aside to let Opal approach.

"Cygwet on the left...and Fiper on the right, eh?" Opal muses. She gazes at the two Pokémon, and they gaze right back. Fiper remains still but alert, with narrowed eyes as though it's sizing up Opal just as much as the other way around; the girl immediately finds herself more drawn to Cygwet, who's doing all it can to look impressive while maintaining a hopeful expression. Opal flashes a bitter smile, and to herself she mutters, "Cygwet's a Water-type Pokémon. The leader of that Team Bullet Squad used Murclay, who's a Ground-type. With what I know about them so far...if I plan to destroy Team Bullet..." She stands up from a crouch. "My choice is clear. I choose Cygwet!"
Pronounced "SIG-wet" from the combination of cygnet and wet. A Water-type Basic Pokémon.
Cygwet is based on a cygnet, or baby swan, specifically the trumpeter swan species. Its bill fades from nearly black at the tip to marine blue at the base. Its small black eyes are shaped like horizontal teardrops, with the points facing forward. The feathers on Cygwet's head are a pale powder blue shade, but they become more misty gray on its short neck and its body. Its feet and legs are marine blue as well with black claws. Cygwet's body can vary between looking smooth and sleek, or puffy and frizzy; this is because it can fluff up a downy second layer of feathers, which are good at trapping water, from underneath the main ones. By controlling the amount of water retained in its plumage, Cygwet can make itself better at floating or sinking, collect rain, and douse its opponents in battle.
Cygwet is the Water-type starter Pokémon of the Ilona Region, available to beginning Trainers through Professor Aspen. Cygwet make their homes on large lakes with plenty of vegetation. They can fly only very weakly, if at all, and instead are proficient swimmers perfectly at home on the water. Cygwet's moves include Jab, Growl, Peck, Bubble, Gust, Water Sport, Bubble Beam, Fury Attack, Aerial Ace, Water Pulse, Squall, Hyper Voice, Feather Dance, Muddy Water, Sludge Wave, Air Slash, and Storm Press. Its main Ability is Torrent, while it can have Wingbeats as its signature Hidden Ability.
Pronounced "FAI-per" from fire and viper. A Fire-type Basic Pokémon.
Fiper's design draws inspiration from the white-headed Fea viper. Its body is about a meter long, the tail terminates in a smooth, straight four-sided point like a stretched pyramid. Fiper is covered in scales; these are primarily black on its body but the head is fiery red, with jagged rows of red scales also running the length of its body. Fiper's head is slightly flattened horizontally; thick black scales on the top of its head sweep out over its yellow eyes. A few yellow scales are dotted on its face; these include a patch on the tip of Fiper's snout and markings under the back corners of its eyes. A continuation of the red scales runs from Fiper's head along the back of its neck a short way down its body; these are broader than its average scales. While it does have teeth, Fiper lacks the large fangs characteristic of most snakes. Instead, it can blow fire through holes in the roof of its mouth to create fangs of fire; if Fiper is healthy there will be smoke drifting from its pit nostrils. Fiper does well in most environments where it's introduced, but it prefers forested and/or rocky areas where it can put its good climbing abilities to use.
Fiper is the Fire-type starter Pokémon of the Ilona Region, available to beginning Trainers through Professor Aspen. Though it was totally unintentional on my part, here's the snake for the Fire-type starter zodiac. Way back when, I had the Ilona Fire-type starter line be based on tigers, but those concepts were unoriginal and lacked clear designs. Fiper's moves include Tackle, Leer, Ember, Bite, Wrap, Fire Fang, False Swipe, Fire Spin, Firebrand, Poison Fang, Tail Snap, Eerie Impulse, Fire Lash, Rising Lunge, Trance Blow, Inferno, and Heatstroke. Its main Ability is Blaze, while it can have Solenoid as its signature Hidden Ability.
A physical-based Normal-type attack with 40 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Jab does damage and has no secondary effect.
A special-based Water-type attack with 120 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Storm Press damages all adjacent foes and deals recoil damage to the user equal to 25% of the total damage dealt to opponents.
All damaging moves executed by the user gain an effect similar to Flame Burst whereby all opponents adjacent to the target are dealt damage equal to 1/16th of their maximum HP.
A physical-based Fire-type attack with 40 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Firebrand has a 70% chance of lowering the target's evasion by one stage.
A physical-based Dragon-type attack with 70 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Tail Snap has a 20% chance of causing the target to flinch.
A physical-based Normal-type attack with 80 power, 95 accuracy, and variable priority. If the target is about to disappear using a two-turn move, or has already disappeared, Rising Lunge's priority becomes +7 and the target is prevented from using that move. Otherwise, Rising Lunge's priority is 0.
A physical-based Normal-type attack with 85 power, 85 accuracy, and 0 priority. Trance Blow has a 30% chance of causing the target to become Asleep.
A special-based Fire-type one-hit knockout attack. Does not affect Fire-type Pokémon.
Whenever the user is protected from an attack, its Special Attack is raised by one stage.
 

Typhlosion

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The small bird Pokémon leaps into Opal's outstretched arms, looking ecstatic. Opal and Aspen are beaming too, and even Aspen's assistant allows himself a small smile at the happy, once-in-a-lifetime moment. The only one unaffected by the sudden bubbly atmosphere is the Fiper, who keeps up its cool hooded stare while its head sways back and forth.

Professor Aspen picks up Cygwet's Poké Ball. "Now that you're an official Trainer, Opal, you have a duty to use your Trainer Card to keep up with the Pokémon you obtain along your way! May I?" She gestures at Opal's Trainer Card and the girl curiously hands it over. "It's very simple, really: just like this." Professor Aspen swiftly taps a small scanner on one end of the device against the central button of the Poké Ball. After a few seconds to process the information the card lets out a ding and a small image of a Cygwet appears in the bottom right corner. 'Nothing to it. You can do that for all your Pokémon, including ones you may have already had."

Opal sets Cygwet down to receive back with a faint sense of wonder the Trainer Card as well as the Poké Ball. "I'm...a League Trainer." She swivels her gaze meet Cygwet's. "And you're...my starter Pokémon!" She clips the Ball to her belt and slides the card into a secure pocket on her shirt. Picking up her Pokémon once more she holds Cygwet right up to eye level, and whispers a promise. "Cygwet...I'll do my best for you." Thoughts of Wyrmer, always just below the surface, swim to the forefront of Opal's mind. "I hope you'll do your best for me."

Pulling herself back into the moment, Opal remembers that her business in Masolin Town is not finished. "I need to go check on Zebrun at the Pokémon Center!" She hops in front of Professor Aspen. "Is there anything else I need to take care of? Can I go now?"

The older woman crosses her arms. "Opal. The time has come for you to go on a journey. But that doesn't simply mean you're traveling from one place to another. You're traveling from one you to another. You will change along the way, as will your Pokémon, and you will do it together. But along the way you mustn't lose sight of why you're doing this."

Opal stares at the professor with widened eyes. She hadn't expected something quite like that, but she nods anyway. "You can count on me." I'm doing this to get Wyrmer back. In a much less hasty, more contemplative state of mind Opal turns around once more and makes her way out of the lab, clutching Cygwet in her arms.

Even after the girl has disappeared around the corner Professor Aspen continues gazing in the direction Opal left. "And there she goes... So much has happened to us in the last couple of days, and all these events seem to have the fingerprints of this Team Bullet on them. What do you think of it all, Q?"

The tall man appears startled at being addressed out of Aspen's musings. "I think...she'll be one to keep an eye on," he returns flatly. "No one can say what the weeks and months ahead will bring. Although, I must confess I'm a little jealous of her."

The professor's eyebrows go up. "Jealous of her? How so?" The obvious surprise in her voice doesn't go away as she notices something else. "And what is Fiper doing?"

Q follows her pointing finger down to his side. The Fire-type starter Pokémon has worked its way over to where the man is standing next to the bench, and with a rather uncharacteristic look of contentment is curling itself as close as possible around one of the three Poké Balls Q has on hand. Whatever Pokémon is inside can't be seen. Q smiles faintly and reaches down to stroke its head with a finger. "Who can say? This one's always had a mind of its own, right?" He pauses, looking more thoughtful. "As for being jealous...explaining that will require me being more honest with you than I have before, Professor. Your research is fascinating, and I've greatly enjoyed working for you, but the real reason I wanted this position to begin with...is that I hoped eventually it could lead to me acquiring a starter Pokémon. I want to go on a journey as well, to find myself and figure out where I fit into this world.

Bemusement is evident on Professor Aspen's face. "I can empathize with that sentiment," she begins, "but why go to such lengths? Why specifically one of the regional starter Pokémon? You look to be a fair bit older than their usual recipients, and you clearly already have some experience as a Trainer." Q had always been rather tight-lipped about his history but she never would have guessed he was harboring such aspirations throughout the few months they'd worked together.

The man in question nearly laughs out loud at her last remark. "Yes, you could say that. But..." A single flash of memory appears in his mind: a woman's manicured, sharp-nailed hand pressing a Poké Ball into the much smaller hand of a child. "My path to becoming a Trainer was an unconventional one; I've yet to truly raise any Pokémon of my own. If only from a symbolic standpoint, a starter Pokémon seemed like the perfect place to begin: a partner with whom I can gain that experience, from the ground up, and start to grow in totally new ways."

Professor Aspen whistles. "Quite a speech. But I've seen the way you have with Pokémon. If you want a starter, Q, it's yours." The professor rolls her eyes dramatically. "It seems I'm due to contact our breeders anyhow."

Q shows his gratitude with a bow. "That won't be necessary quite yet, Professor. I'd like to choose this Fiper."

"You've already got its Poké Ball. From now on you are Fiper's Trainer! And you know, it does strike me as a good fit for you," Aspen chuckles.

"That may be," Q says coolly, "but also, I...wouldn't want it to be lonely. Limberjax and Cygwet have just left with Trainers of their own, after all." He waves a hand to forestall her next question. "No, I don't need a Trainer Card. Challenging the Pokémon League doesn't interest me."

"In that case what will you do?"

"I suppose I'll begin by heading north, like most anyone else would. From there...well, there are many Pokémon and people to meet in the Ilona Region."

Masolin Town Pokémon Center

Opal watches her new Pokémon, who's still fast asleep, while she gets ready for the day. Cygwet is a good Pokémon. I made the right choice. She thinks back to how, upon her return to Zebrun's side yesterday, she learned from Nurse Joy that its injuries were thankfully more superficial than they had appeared. However, the nurse had also said that Zebrun still wouldn't be ready to travel, so Opal had reluctantly taken her advice and booked a room in the Center for the night. After that, she had spent the rest of the day playing with Cygwet and getting to know him.

After a night of tossing and turning Opal's good mood, bordering on cheery before, has evaporated. Cygwet learns fast and always aims to please, but it's still a very young Pokémon and weak too. Its only attacks seem to be Jab and Growl, is Opal's mental assessment. "Coming to see Professor Aspen and to have Zebrun treated properly was smart, but the fun's over," she says. With a startled honk Cygwet comes awake, flapping his stubby wings until he remembers where he is. "Good to see you this morning!" his Trainer greets him. Opal pushes a bowl of food Cygwet's way, which the Water-type Pokémon eagerly shovels down while the girl double-checks her bag. "I hope you're ready for adventure."

Nurse Joy slams her hands down on the Pokémon Center's front counter and leans in, mirroring Opal's posture across from her. "I've told you already," she articulates in a voice that's still soft but shot through with anger. "I've done what I can to heal your Zebrun, but it is not fully recovered. It needs more time to rest and mend naturally."

Opal, shorter but undaunted, furiously holds Nurse Joy's eyes. "Zebrun has been here for a full day. That's longer than I'd like already! He's tough; he'll be fine. I've trusted your judgment up until now, Nurse Joy, but I demand that you give me my Pokémon immediately!"

"How can you, as a Trainer, do something like this? You need to think of your Pokémon!"

"I am thinking of my Pokémon, Opal hisses. "I'm doing all of this for my Pokémon!" She makes an effort to restrain herself, though her voice remains taut and angry. "You cannot hold Zebrun here against my will, the will of its Trainer. I respect your advice, Nurse Joy, but this is my decision. Please give me back my Pokémon so I can be on my way."

Nurse Joy presses her lips together and says nothing more. She whirls around stiffly, disappears into the back of the Center, and returns a moment later with Zebrun's Ultra Ball. "You are free to go. Thank you for coming to our Pokémon Center," she intones.

Opal bows curtly to the pink-haired woman, then recalls Professor Aspen's instructions and scans Zebrun's Ultra Ball with her Trainer Card. She waits to see a second image appear along the bottom. "Cygwet, and Zebrun. And then, someday soon..."

The girl's expression as she leaves behind the Pokémon Center and then Masolin Town, with her two Pokémon in tow, is the same as when she arrived: stony determination, fired by anger. "The old Opal?" she snarls to herself. "The one who barely knew anything beyond Quembar Town, and was weak, and let her best friend be stolen right in front of her? That Opal is gone!" She catches her breath for a few steps and and then vows, "I will become strong! I'll go as far as I have to, and the whole world won't be able to stand in my way!"
No Index entries for this round! Is anyone still reading?
 

Resolute

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I am! This is really awesome! I love what you're doing with the two protagonists. I can't wait to see how they end up interacting with each other when they meet. and rip wyrmer D:
 
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Typhlosion

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Route 49

"So how 'bout it? Are we gonna battle or what?"

Opal looks over the belligerent, Poké-Ball-clutching kid in front of her with apathy. "Depends," she yawns. "You might just be a waste of my time. Who are you, anyway?"

He scowls at her dismissive attitude. "I'm a Youngster! Youngster Samuel! I'm a Trainer, and you're a Trainer! We locked eyes, so what happens next is a battle."

"Oh, is that how it works?" the girl asks. "My name's Opal. What kind of Pokémon do you have?"

Smugly Samuel wags a finger. "Nuh-uh-uh! Accept my challenge and you'll find out! But I'm warning you it's a tough one! My Pokémon never gives up, just like me!"

Opal rolls her eyes. "That's kind of what I'm afraid of here." She puts a hand to her chin, acting like she's thinking, then waves off her prospective opponent. "No, thanks. I need to be on my way."

The Youngster crosses his arms in a pout as Opal turns her back on him. "Fine, be that way," he huffs. Then his face gets a sly look and he calls after her, "Or maybe you just don't have what it takes! You won't make it very far if you can't stand up to challenges from fellow Trainers!"

That gets Opal's attention. She goes rigid and whirls around, marching right up to Samuel. "FINE! We'll battle, and I'll show you just how far I intend to go! You don't know the meaning of tough." The two young Trainers hop backwards until they've created enough space for a Pokémon battle.

"One on one battle!" Samuel shouts. "On the count of three! One...two...three..."

Tough... Opal thinks to herself in the brief seconds of the countdown. That's neither of my Pokémon. Cygwet is inexperienced and Zebrun still isn't in top form...but that needs to change! Training is one thing, but it's the ability to overcome any hurdle that will carry me through this journey!

"...GO!" finishes Youngster Samuel. "Coulemm, you're up!"

At the same instant Opal grabs for a Poké Ball of her own. "Zebrun, I choose you!"

Both Pokémon explode onto the field looking all business. Samuel's Pokémon is a good bit smaller than Opal's, but his cocky expression doesn't waver when Zebrun suddenly staggers before regaining its footing. "Hey, is there something wrong with your Pokémon?" he shouts. "Maybe you really aren't up to this!"

Opal grits her teeth. "Zebrun can handle it. Agility!" She can see the muscles flexing in her Pokémon's legs and the bandages rippling over them as he executes the move, leaping to one side at blinding speed. A faint blur of afterimages appears around Zebrun. "Now into Double Kick," the Trainer instructs.

"I don't get you at all!" the Youngster whines. "Zebrun's legs are hurt, but you're forcing it to fight with its legs, BUT it's doing a good job!" Thanks to Agility Zebrun reaches Coulemm, spins around, and unleashes two swift kicks before Samuel can issue a command of his own. The small, furry Pokémon tumbles backward while Zebrun plants its hooves with a grunt of satisfaction.

"You are doing a good job..." he continues. Opal's head snaps up at his pedantic tone. "However...look again!" Coulemm is back on its feet and staring down Zebrun, who hasn't moved since its Double Kick.

"So our attack didn't do as much as we thought," Opal scoffs. "We can always fix that. Another Double Kick!" Zebrun twitches, but otherwise doesn't move. A current of static crackles over its fur. "Huh? What are you waiting for, Zebrun?"

"Let me explain," Samuel interrupts. "Coulemm and I have been partners for a long time and we've trained for any situation! Even as Zebrun was attacking too fast for me to see, Coulemm knew to be using its Nuzzle attack! Your Pokémon can't move!"

Horrified, Opal takes a closer look. Zebrun's firm stance isn't readiness for battle; it's doing all it can just to stay on its feet. The Trainer curses, "How could I have been so stupid?! Zebrun, you need to try using Agility again!"

Youngster Samuel flaps his hand in mockery. "While you're working on that, we'll power up too, with Charge!" Opal can only watch as Zebrun writhes in place trying to break the grip of paralysis; he only succeeds in churning the dirt around his hooves. Meanwhile Coulemm's fur becomes saturated with electricity.

"I think that'll do it," Samuel says with a snap of his fingers. "Ready, Coulemm? Let's see your best Thundershock!"

Opal is panicking internally. Boosted by Charge that'll be a huge hit! And there's nothing we can do...Zebrun might as well be stuck to the ground...hang on! The ground? Zebrun can't move, but maybe it can still attack...it's our only hope. Keeping her tone as confident as possible she shouts, "Use Double Kick on the ground!!"

Her ploy works like a charm; Zebrun plunges its back legs deep into the disturbed soil an instant before the Thundershock hits. "Now...to see if my idea is correct..." Opal breathes. The Thundershock is pouring into Zebrun's chest, flowing through its grounded back legs, and then discharging into the earth. "Electricity is energy, Zebrun!" Opal yells at her Pokémon. "Use that to your advantage! Overcome your weakness!" The bandages are beginning to char and fall away from Zebrun's legs; this will be the moment of truth. "Take the entire attack! Keep going!"

Samuel's Coulemm doesn't relent, but eventually its Thundershock is forced to fizzle out. Its Trainer frowns at how little effect the attack seemed to have. "Okay, so you were able to absorb that attack," he concedes. "But see if you can funnel a Headbutt into the ground!"

"Obviously that won't work," Opal mutters. "Zebrun! Can you move?" The wounds on his legs, though still evident, are clean and thin, and only a few small sparks of electricity still dance occasionally over his body. He tosses his head joyfully and Opal grins. "It did work!" But even if he's not paralyzed his legs are still stuck in the ground! He can't use Double Kick and he can't get any momentum for Headbutt. "Remember what you did against the Roundhog! Buy some time with Roar!"

Zebrun lowers its head and lets out a ground-shaking roar, but Coulemm's progress isn't checked at all by the sound waves. "Why isn't it working?" Opal growls. "Hang on, Zebrun!"

The Headbutt isn't particularly powerful, but it strikes Zebrun head-on and Samuel cheers. "You shouldn't underestimate our strength! We gotcha!" Coulemm hops back, chattering triumphantly.

For some reason Opal feels a spurt of anger flare up at his attitude. "Gotcha? I'll show you 'gotcha!' It's your turn to look again!" Zebrun stands proud and free, having used Coulemm's Headbutt to knock itself loose. Its back legs show no signs of weakness. "My Pokémon and I will show you what we're made of! It's time for Headbutt!"

"Dodge it--what?!" Samuel breaks off, astonished by Zebrun's speed. The larger Pokémon streaks across the field in a blur and delivers a crushing hit with its thick skull, rendering Couleem unconscious instantly. "I forgot your Agility was still active..." the Youngster murmurs dejectedly. His emotions cycle from disappointment to acceptance to eagerness as he recalls Coulemm, and once his Pokémon is secure he runs over the battlefield to stand in front of her. "That was great! Even with the Agility you defeated us in, what, two hits? How'd you get that strong?! You must be a new Trainer, after all, if you didn't even know the rules of battle."

Opal makes her way slowly over to Zebrun and begins rubbing his back and sides. She doesn't answer for a while; her hair falls over her face.

Samuel doesn't move a muscle; he stares at the superior Trainer like his life depends on the answer. "Well?"

The girl shakes aside her bangs to look at him; her blue eyes are glittering. "Zebrun and I are bonded through what we've shared together. I wouldn't wish our experiences on anyone else...but it gives us an unbreakable strength." She forces a chuckle and turns back to her Pokémon. "And speaking of unbreakable, look at you now! Putting them through some exercise was all your legs needed to complete their healing; you're in the best shape I've ever seen you, Zebrun! You look like you could carry me all the way to Foria City right now."

A familiar glint appears in the large Normal-type Pokémon's eye. Before Opal quite knows what's going on Zebrun has darted behind her and scooped her onto his sturdy back, and they're off like a shot to the northeast.

"Waaaaaaiiiiit!" Samuel calls after her, but he might as well have shouted at the sun to stop shining. "I didn't even get to ask what she thinks of my cool shorts," he mutters, and kicks a pebble at his feet. It bounces off a larger rock embedded in the ground, and an image comes to his mind of Coulemm colliding with Zebrun. "Those two...they were something else! Weren't they, Coulemm? Even though I don't quite get what she meant at the end...shared experiences lead to unbreakable strength, huh?" The Youngster's mental picture zooms out from where he stands, to Route 49, then to all of Ilona and the entire world, wrapped in cloud. "There are lots of people and Pokémon all over the planet sharing experiences with one another...just like you and me! I hope we'll understand what she was talking about, someday." His philosophizing at an end, the young boy heads for home.

Far away in the frigid north of the Ilona region, a placid sheet of ice rides the swell of a coastal sea. Without warning, the ice cracks.
The Charge Pokémon. Pronounced "KOO-lem," from coulomb and lemming. An Electric-type Basic Pokémon. Coulemm's appearance is taken from the Norway lemming. I have to admit that this design falls more on the unoriginal side; Coulemm looks very similar to the real-world animal, as far as body size, shape, and coloration are concerned. However, the white whiskers on its face are absent, and it has a black semicircular marking on its forehead, opening downward. Coulemm also has a short, gray, pointed tail. It stores electricity primarily in its fur and skin rather than by using internal organs, which helps the power be readily available. When Coulemm gather in groups the air is full of electrical currents leaping among them like a miniature power grid.
This Pokémon is rambunctious by nature. It often lives in close proximity to many others of its species in "neighborhoods" but they don't always get along well with one another. However, Coulemm will always show a unified front in a fight, and they aren't shy about going after those who anger or otherwise disturb them. Someone picking on what appears to be a lone individual will find that he's bitten off more than he can chew. Coulemm's moves include Headbutt, Charge, Whimper, Bide, Substitute, Thunder Shock, Nuzzle, Double Team, Spark, Overrun, Double Hit, Fury Attack, Circuit Break, Wild Charge, Discharge, Electric Terrain, and Power Surge.
'Uniting to Push for Greater Heights!"
Foria City is a settlement located in south-central Ilona; its name comes from the words forest and aria. Though the surrounding countryside is mostly plains and grasslands, Foria City itself is located at the end of an offshoot from the great forests and mountain range to its south. It has a reputation for being the last real city where travelers can stop before the land gets wilder and the towns smaller in Ilona's challenging southwest.
A medium-sized and relatively young locale, Foria City is the the home of Magnolia Rose and of her Gym, which is usually the first that new Trainers challenge on their Pokémon journeys. It's not huge geographically but is known for its tall architecture that blends seamlessly with nature and for being very welcoming to Pokémon. Most people allow vines and other creeping plants to grow on the exteriors of skyscrapers at all levels, creating environments suitable for a wide variety of species such as Oscry and Vineide. Foria City leaves an overall impression of a bustling place on the rise that nevertheless has its priorities straight.
A physical-based Bug-type attack with 30 power, 90 accuracy, and 0 priority. Overrun forces the user to perform this attack five times in a row or until it misses, with the power doubling on each hit. Having previously used Double Team will also double the power.
A physical-based Electric-type move with 50 power, 100 accuracy, and -1 priority. Circuit Break prevents the target from using special-based moves for the remainder of the current turn and the following turn.
A special-based Electric-type move with variable power, 80 accuracy, and 0 priority. Power Surge hits three times, with the first hit having 20 power, the second 40, and the third 60. In a Single or Rotation battle all three hits strike the target. In a Double Battle, the first and third hits strike the target while the second hit strikes their partner. (Allies cannot be targeted.) In a Triple Battle each opponent is hit once. The target receives the first hit, with the second and third hits continuing in a line if the target is on the edge; if the target is in the middle it is randomly decided which of the two remaining hits strikes which target.
The entry for Magic Hold has been updated.
 
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Typhlosion

Tempered Steel
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Rainbow Rocket Executive
Cult Classic
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"So this is Route 50, eh?" Amethyst says to himself as he surveys the wide expanse of land. "It's weird to see so much...flat. Without the mountains or anything. Feels like I can see forever." The puffy green horizons to his right show that he hasn't left the forests behind him entirely, but any trees worth mentioning nevertheless seem a world away.

That's not stopping Limberjax, however, who practically refuses to go back in its Poké Ball and hasn't left Amethyst's side since their journey began. The little Pokémon scampers around investigating anything and everything in its path, while its Trainer snorts in vague disgust. "This isn't the forest, or the mountains, where your species are supposed to like living," Amethyst complains. "Doesn't being in this weird place bother you at all?" Limberjax pauses only long enough to give Amethyst a look from its coal-black eyes and to twitch its nose before resuming its antics. The boy can only sigh and shake his head.

The two lonesome figures continue their trek across the plain while golden, hazy sunlight drifts down from a cloudless sky.

A jostling from his belt distracts Amethyst. "What's going on...?" He flicks aside a corner of his black cargo vest to get a better look at the Poké Ball carefully positioned underneath: the source of the disturbance. "What do you want, Sincle?" he grumbles.

The small blue and pink Pokémon rams against the inside of its Poké Ball petulantly. It zips around the spherical capsule, stopping occasionally to look up at Amethyst with wide eyes.

"What, you want out? That's a terrible idea." Amethyst puts a hand over his eyes to scan the sunny plains. "This is about the least suitable habitat imaginable for a Pokémon like you: hot, dry, bright. I covered up your Poké Ball on my belt for a reason, you know. I don't want you getting overheated or dehydrated. You'd only suffer if I let you out now. Go to sleep or something."

Sincle doesn't seem swayed at all by these arguments, but instead falls into a sullen slump and turns its back.

Amethyst rolls his eyes and covers up Sincle's Poké Ball like it was before. He then flinches and looks around wildly as something brushes against his leg. "Eh?! What was that?!"

The boy relaxes visibly, and a look of supreme irritation steals across his face, as he realizes it was only a blade of grass. "Of all the stupid...but. wait...look at it all!" A sea of the waving grass surrounds him. "I was so caught up arguing with Sincle that I didn't keep track of where my feet were taking me. Well, this is just great." Tracing the path of the sun with his finger, Amethyst tries to figure out the general direction he had been walking before, and sets off again.

He barely takes another step before tripping over something else. A small green-and-gray shape darts in and out of sight. "Okay, that's it!" Amethyst yells. "Limberjax, over here, now!" Amethyst's starter Pokémon is quick to comply, though it appears unperturbed by the tone of its Trainer's voice. "No more of this running around business, especially not here in the grass where I could easily lose you. Return!" Amethyst clips the ball to his belt and takes a deep breath. "Maybe now I'll get a bit of peace."

The height of the grass increases the farther Amethyst walks; soon it's up to his waist or higher. He strides over the crest of a hill and suddenly begins half sliding, half falling down the other side. Blast! I can't see where I'm putting my feet when I can't even see the ground! He lands on his rear with a whump at the bottom of the short incline.

"Ugh, that...hurt," Amethyst groans as he slowly stands up and dusts himself off. He freezes when he reaches his full height and sees the tassels of the grass nodding above his head. "It's taller than I am now! How am I supposed to get anywhere like this!?" Almost hesitantly he crosses his arms.
"I guess I could call Sincle...it can easily float up, over this grass, and help me get my bearings...But no!" He shakes his head emphatically. "I already told Sincle it was staying in its Poké Ball and I explained why. I'm not going to burden it with fixing my mistake. I'll just go...hmm..." He's about to pick a direction heading generally away from the hill when a noise filters into his ears--a kind of rustling, grunting noise. Could that be a Pokémon? In a whisper Amethyst finishes his thought: "Okay, I'll go that way!"

Amethyst glances warily about him as he makes his way through the grass; he's well aware that he could be attacked at any time. An especially loud grunt, almost a snarl, echoes from ahead, along with a thwacking noise. A wave surges through the grass over Amethyst's head and he drops to his hands and knees instinctively. Maybe this wasn't the best idea... he thinks to himself as he peeks ahead. Beyond the close-packed blades, a broken black silhouette is visible. But it's right there!

Just a few crawling steps closer...and with an unexpected burst of vigor the hulking black shape twists 180 degrees. Amethyst's expression is frozen in terror as he comes face to face with a monster.

A Gilabrinth!! The scaly, glowering Pokémon goes on all fours, low to the ground, though its body is every bit as big as Amethyst's. Gilabrinth's jaws gape open and it lets out a massive hiss; the lashing of its broad tail sends the forest of grass into a frenzy over their heads. A Gilabrinth shouldn't live anywhere near here! We're days away from its natural habitat! Amethyst shouts internally. But...I know it's a Ground- and Poison-type Pokémon. I've got the perfect answer...I guess now there's no choice!

The boy yelps and rolls to the side to avoid a spray of Acid, but pops quickly to his feet. With a deft motion he flicks a Poké Ball from his belt, even as his voice quavers with the accompanying words.

"Sincle....I CHOOSE YOU! Bubble Beam!"

The small squishy Pokémon appears in an eager rush; it floats up and rains down the Water-type attack on Gilabrinth from above.

The monster grunts, but appears unfazed. It responds with a volley of purple beads launched from its tail, an attack that completely neutralizes the Bubble Beam.

"Poison Burst??" Amethyst wonders. "Dang, this one is tough...Well...see what it thinks this! Sincle, get down low and use Psywave!"

Sincle swoops down to one side of Gilabrinth and prepares the wave of psychic energy. The big reptilian Pokémon doesn't move, but Amethyst sees its cold beady eyes flick to one side, following the Trainer's Pokémon. "It knows," Amethyst says to himself. "It's obviously a strong, experienced fighter. I have to give Sincle an opening somehow..."

The boy snatches up two fistfuls of long grass stalks and charges at Gilabrinth's head. This isn't its home. It must be confused by what I'm doing! Amethyst takes two swipes at Gilabrinth's face.

The wild Pokémon's eyes lock on Amethyst once more. Rows of spines spring to attention along its sides, and Gilabrinth fires two clusters of Pin Missile just as Sincle launches its Psywave. Half of the Bug-type attack intercepts the Psywave, creating a kind of field that traps the energy of the attack and relentlessly powers through it. The other half, fired from Gilabrinth's left flank, circles around to strike Amethyst.

The young Trainer is thrown into the ground, his fall only slightly softened by the carpet of grass roots. He can see his partner Pokémon off to the side, down for the count. In a flash Gilabrinth is on top of him, pinning him down with its heavy blunt claws and slavering over him with a broad, evil leer.

Am I...going to die like this? My sister...Amber said things could be dangerous, but never like this. Gah! This is all that stupid Limberjax's fault! Dragging me off on a journey...and here we are, three creatures far away from home. Heh, four if you count Gilabrinth. But what's it doing here? That makes no sense. None of this makes any sense! It's not fair! I... "...I REFUSE TO DIE LIKE THIS!"

Try as he might Amethyst is incapable of reaching his belt. Turns out it doesn't matter: right on cue the remaining occupied Poké Ball whooshes open. Limberjax scrapes its bladed tail along the ground, polishing the edge for battle.

Amethyst is amazed at the smoldering he can see in the little Pokémon's normally passive eyes. "You don't have to fight this," he murmurs. "You could have stayed safe. It's my fault...Limberjax."

Characteristically, Limberjax is paying no attention. It flicks its bushy tail into the air; a clear, high tone accompanies the impending Metal Claw. Squeaking as ferociously as it can, Amethyst's starter Pokémon leaps at Gilabrinth, out of it's Trainer's vision.
Pronounced "HEE-la-brinth," from Gila monster and labyrinth. A Ground- and Poison-type Stage 2 Pokémon.
Gilabrinth is based collectively on the genus Heloderma, the beaded lizards. It is a large, stocky reptilian Pokémon: up to two and a half meters long from tip to tip, although it's not more than half a meter tall and typically holds itself very low to the ground. Gilabrinth has a broad, black, almost shovel-shaped head; each of its jaws has a deadly row of small white teeth. Random patches of dusty orangish-yellow cover most of its underside and extend up onto its back. A row of bony dull gray spines runs along each of its sides, ending at the tail, which is still nearly as thick around as Gilabrinth's body, ends in a blunt rounded tip, and is black like its head. Finally, Gilabrinth's back is covered in a lattice of short angular ridges, made of the same material as the spines, erupting from the skin. These appear like a maze when viewed from above and are thought to help provide an armor of sorts against aerial attacks; four distinct patterns have been identified.
Gilabrinth are known for their physical toughness and occasional startling bursts of speed. They make their homes deep in the huge desert comprising Ilona's center. For this reason they don't often come into contact with humans, but are fully capable of wrestling even an adult male into submission. Their venom is potent and injected through the teeth, but usually saved as a last resort. For unknown reasons they will sometimes be encountered in groups of up to four, staring motionless at one another with their snouts put together. It's very rare to find a Gilabrinth's tracks or to see one moving about; this, combined with the patterns of ridges on their back, has led some to suspect that an enormous labyrinth exists deep under central Ilona, which the Pokémon use to get around.
Gilabrinth's moves include Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Spike Cannon, Pin Missile, Poison Fang, Bite, Crunch, and Poison Burst.
A physical-based Poison-type attack with 20 power, 100 accuracy, and 0 priority. Poison Burst strikes 2 to 5 times in a row, with each hit having a 10% chance of poisoning the target.
 
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