Flaming Torch
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
All over the world
Ben, A_T
Time Zone
US Central (GMT -6:00)
I took a break from this to document a challenge run, but I'm back! Hope you're excited!

Flocks of bird Pokémon wheel through the air over Foria City, calling and singing to one another with lively chirps. Rushing tunnels of wind created by the developing metropolis's tall, bright buildings carry them on without so much as a flap of their wings. People throwing open their windows to greet the breezy day smile at their passing, while all the many species of forest-dwelling Pokémon that have climbed or grown that high watch them curiously. An greater variety stroll along the bustling yet cheerful streets below, accompanied by their human partners as they go about the day's business.

The charms of the city which proudly declares itself to be "Uniting to push for greater heights!" are lost on a brown-haired girl near the edge of town. She smiles at the sign on the gate as she pushes her way into a public garden: "Wild Pokémon Habitat. Exercise Caution." Two adjacent high-rises still block the morning sun, while intermittent pine trees throw an extra depth of shadow over the clusters of tangled grass. "Perfect," Opal nods.

"Zebrun, Cygwet, come out!" She throws the Ultra Ball and the Poké Ball in the air together and her two team members appear. They listen attentively as their Trainer lectures, "Strong Pokémon Trainers are the strongest people in the world. They can go anywhere, learn any information, and do anything. People respect that. And there's no greater sign of a Pokémon Trainer's strength than earning Gym Badges. That's why as long as we're here in Foria City, a place with its own Gym, we're going to earn a Gym Badge! Then we can go through that stupid forest no problem, and no one will tell us otherwise." She thinks back to what the group of local kids told her earlier that morning in the Pokémon Center.

"You're just passing through on your way to someplace else? But doesn't that mean you'll have to go through Guardian Forest?" a boy questioned.

"Uh...yeah!" Opal had never heard of "Guardian Forest" but she tossed her hair anyway. "I guess I am."

"But you can't!" another boy wheezed. "Don't you know that it's blocked off? Haven't you heard about the thieves?"

Opal's blue eyes narrowed to glacial shards at those words. She grabbed him by his collar and yanked him close. "What
thieves? she hissed. "There are thieves hiding out in that forest? Do they wear black and blue uniforms?"

The boy only stammered unintelligibly until another of his friends separated him from Opal. She gave Opal a wary look and responded carefully, "Just the opposite, actually. People say they wear white uniforms. Also that they're very precise and stealthy, which is why even the police are having trouble and the area's off-limits to the public for now."

"Doesn't sound like them. Not worth my time," Opal reaffirms to herself back in the present. She claps her hands forcefully to refocus herself and grab her Pokémon's attention. "So let's go!"

The garden proves to be a good training ground, inhabited by Pokémon from city and forest alike. "Zebrun, Stomp! And Cygwet, Bubble!" The Vineide and Oscry they had been targeting collapse to the ground. For the first time in several minutes, no other eager wild Pokémon appear to take their place. Opal wipes her brow. "Good, good. That's been some good training."

Zebrun begins to trot back toward his Trainer, but is distracted halfway. Stretching down his neck to nose at the ground, he begins pawing at something near a large rock. After a moment he looks up at Opal and stomps emphatically.

Slightly concerned, she makes her way over to Zebrun's side. "What's going on?" He nudges something with his hoof and Opal squats for a closer look.

A chunk of stone a little bigger than Opal's fist is lying on the ground. Jagged points stick out at random angles but the main section almost resembles a geode in that dark purple-colored pits are hollowed out from the otherwise sandy stone. The girl picks it up and examines it from all sides; no matter which way she turns it, shadows seem to pool in the center. "I know what this is," she breathes. A picture from a book flashes into her mind: this sort of stone, along with four others. "It's a Hollow Rock! Maybe all your powerful attacking knocked it loose from something," she teases as she stands back up and rubs Zebrun's snout. She goes to deposit the item in her back and finds her vision suddenly obscured by tears. "Wyrmer and I used to find treasure like this all the time. That was what we were doing when we first met you, Zebrun...It's...a good memory. Thank you for this."

The four-legged Pokémon playfully butts Opal with his head. "What do you guys think? Shall we do some more training?" she asks. Zebrun snorts in agreement. "What about you, Cygwet?...Cygwet?" She cranes her neck to peer around the large Normal-type. Opal's starter Pokémon is there, waiting behind Zebrun, but he's paying his Trainer any attention. Cygwet has his back to them, staring into the distance towards a corner of the park. "Huh, you're being just as strange as Zebrun was a minute ago. Did you find something too?" she huffs. The girl once again crouches down, this time to wave her hand in front of Cygwet's beak.

Cygwet recoils slightly, then begins beating his stubby wings and squawking. He jabs his head emphatically a couple times in the direction he had been facing. Unsure what's making the normally cheerful, relaxed Pokémon behave this way, Opal turns to look as well.

Far back under the cover of the pines, against one of the buildings that serves as a boundary to the park, a creature is moving. Opal squints and readjusts the brim of her hat, but all she can make out is a featureless mass. "That must be what's got you so freaked out, eh?" she remarks to Cygwet in a low voice. Her Pokémon nods and hisses. "You think it's a Pokémon?...Ah, who cares?" she answers herself decisively. Opal pops back up to her feet and marches toward the far end of the park. "Hop to it, you two!" Blinking in surprise, Zebrun and Cygwet scramble to follow her.

As Opal gets closer, the whatever-it-is seems to notice her in return. It shivers violently and then begins lurching toward her; the girl stops to see if she can get a better view once it emerges into the light. The tangled mass is about her own height, but broader, and makes a dry raspy sound. Like a pile of leaves, she thinks, before realizing that may be exactly what it is. Large, broad leaves and clusters of vines cover the creature seemingly at random; occasionally Opal catches the flash of a brooding eye. The dark green color, something she'd already seen many times that morning, is what gives it away. She turns to look at her Pokémon on either side of her and explains, "It's like a Vineide! Maybe an evolved form of one! Come on, this will be great to battle against! Zebrun, Headbutt, and then Cygwet, you use Gust!"

Zebrun doesn't hesitate to launch himself at the opponent with neck extended. It makes no attempt to dodge or retaliate, and he scores a massive hit dead-on. He springs back and the creature trembles, collapsing in on itself a bit and shrinking back. It still doesn't have a chance to fight back before Cygwet darts in front of his ally. The Water-type doesn't leave the ground, but is nonetheless capable of whipping up a fierce Gust with its wings. The ivy monster bears the attack for a handful of seconds before being literally blasted apart and scattered into pieces. Opal gapes at the sight, wondering what kind of Pokémon could be hurt like that, as the pieces frantically writhe and twist on the grassy lawn. It's only when all the plants have reoriented themselves, with vines peeping out from under broad, drooping leaves, that understanding dawns on Opal's face. "That wasn't an evolved form at all! Just a whole bunch of Vineide clustered together in a heap! But I've never heard of anything like that before. What were they doing?"

The short Grass-types are mostly separated now, but in the center of the bunch, four or so are still entwined together in a twitching clump. "There must be something up with those ones. Get rid of them with Roar," Opal directs. The move successfully forces apart the Vineide and pushes them all back about 30 feet. To Opal's surprise, a solitary Lotad is revealed, huddling against the ground with its eyes shut. Not a moment passes before the Vineide all begin slithering back toward it as fast as their roots will carry them.

Opal frowns. "I don't know what those pests are up to but I don't like it. Double Kick them all, and don't hold back!" Zebrun again wades forward, bringing his powerful hooves down on any of the creeping Pokémon that get too close. Opal can tell they don't like that one bit, but despite the occasional attempt to hit back with Vine Whip or Slime Lash, they can't stand up to Zebrun's power and soon retreat back into the thick grass and trees where they were first seen.

"And stay there!" Opal spits at the retreating forms. She then hurries to examine the Lotad, which still hasn't moved. When she reaches its side she notices a distinctly pleasant odor in the air, like ripe, juicy Berries. Her Pokémon seem to have noticed it too: they both sniff appreciatively--Opal didn't know Cygwet even had a sense of smell--and make a beeline for Lotad's side. Zebrun flops down to curl itself around the aquatic Pokémon, while Cygwet hops right on top of it, nestling comfortably on the large lily pad. "Hey, not you too!" their Trainer exclaims. She lifts Cygwet up and plops him unceremoniously right back on the grass, then nudges Zebrun's powerful legs out of her way. She scoops up Lotad and rises to her feet; Zebrun immediately springs up too, not taking his eyes off Lotad. Opal turns her back emphatically and sighs, "Oh, give it a rest!"

Lotad, upon feeling itself lifted into the air, finally begins to take some notice of its surroundings. It wiggles around until it can stare into Opal's eyes. She stares back, and as the silence drags out finally gives an awkward smile. "H-hey there, Lotad. How are you feeling?"

The Water Weed Pokémon bursts into a show of joy, smiling hugely and squirming in Opal's arms. "Must be nice to meet someone who isn't trying to sit on you," she quips. "Maybe all these Pokémon are being attracted to you because you smell so good, eh?" The Pokémon stops its display to give her another confused stare. "Hah, you have no idea what I'm saying, do you, Lotad? How'd you get here, anyway? We didn't see any others of your species while we were training." She scans the public garden. Outside it, past a fence at the edge of the city, is a low drainage ditch sprouting with a variety of grasses. "Aha! I bet that's it. There's sure to be water in there."

Opal jogs over and sets down the little Pokémon at the edge of the stone slope leading to the ditch. "All right, off you go." When she releases it, she notices another cloud of the aroma wash over her. "That's a neat trick, but I don't know what you mean by it, Lotad. Anyway, take care." She recalls both Zebrun and Cygwet and turns back into Foria City. "Time to hit up the Pokémon Center." She takes a look over her shoulder to make sure Lotad found its way and notes with satisfaction that it's no longer there. Then she feels something bumping her leg and looks down. To her surprise it's Lotad.

"What? What do you want? Your home is that way," she points. She rolls her eyes, picks it up again, and takes it back to where she left it the first time. "Don't make me chuck you in there." She backs away, facing it this time, and Lotad waddles after her as best it can. A scowl creases Opal's face.

"Look here. I don't know what your deal is but you're not coming with me, see? You belong here, and I'm going to travel all over the world. If you're going to be attracting hordes of Pokémon wherever you go, I can't have that slowing me down, and I don't want a Grass-type slowing me down when I go to challenge the Foria Gym, either! I don't...I don't even have any Poké Balls, see? So give it up! See ya later!" Whatever good mood Opal had been in evaporates as she stomps off, leaving Lotad to turn around and nose its way into the weeds.
A sprawling old-growth forest in southern Ilona, on whose southwestern edge Foria City was built. The forest is said to have a protective, stabilizing influence, but what that means depends on your perspective. Those who live under the forest's shade say it mediates the blazing summers and freezing winters that characterize other parts of the region, while being a barrier to diseases that spread on the central plains. Many citizens of Ilona alternatively believe that the forest acts as a refuge for any monsters that might come down from the mountains, stopping them from traveling any farther.
An item to be held by a Pokémon. You can read a physical description in this round. When held, this item increases the duration of a shadowy sky created by the holder from five turns to eight turns.
A status-based Ghost-type attack. This move creates the "shadowy sky" weather condition for five turns, or eight if the user is holding a Hollow Rock, and otherwise operates with the same mechanics as the other weather-setting moves. As long as the weather is shadowy, Ghost- and Dark-type moves have their power increased by 50%, and any Pokémon which are asleep during this time will always be afflicted with Nightmare. Weather Ball becomes a Ghost-type attack. This move first appeared as a Shadow move in XD: Gale of Darkness, and I wanted to make it a thing for the main series.


Flaming Torch
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
All over the world
Ben, A_T
Time Zone
US Central (GMT -6:00)
Brimming with energy, Opal can't stop herself from running down the tree-lined city street on her way to the Foria City Gym. Of course Nurse Joy had known exactly where that was, and Opal smirks to herself as she recalls barely waiting for the bemused woman to finish her explanation before pelting out of the Pokémon Center. Ultra Ball on my right hip, Poké Ball on my left hip, she reviews mentally, clapping a hand to each of her sides in turn.

The grandiose building soon appears on Opal's left; she skips nimbly across the boulevard separating them, then takes a moment to stare. The Gym, which doubles as its Leader's opera hall, occupies a whole city block. An alabaster plaza leads up to the shining venue: characteristically of Foria City, its graceful, compact arches seem to practically leap into the sky. An image floats into Opal's mind of humble Quembar town. My house could fit in there four times over. So this is what it's like for the people who travel all over Ilona, aiming for the Pokémon League. The day is as bright and sunny as ever, but for some reason the girl shivers. Families, friends, and many other people are strolling across the square, enjoying the day. Opal sees them as from afar. Though some periodically stop to admire the hall, few seem interested in entering. Just as well. They had all better stay back! It's my turn.

Opal weaves her way among them until she reaches the broad, less-crowded stairway unrolled before the main entrance. A few picnickers are lounging with their lunches, but only one person is standing, and Opal's attention is immediately focused on him. He's staring up at the Gym just as she was moments ago, so his back is to her, but he seems about her own age and height, with dark clothes to match his shaggy jet-black hair and hands jammed in his pockets. Also noted are the Poké Balls on his belt. Right before she can say something, the boy looks over his shoulder and notices her.

His purple eyes widen briefly, as if in recognition. "You don't look so angry this time," is his monotone greeting.

As if to prove him wrong, Opal's expression quickly rearranges itself into one of ire. "I'm not angry! Who do you think you are? What a rude thing to say! Do I even know you?!"

The boy slouches around to face her fully. "No, you don't," he continues unperturbed. "And I don't know you either." He holds up a hand to forestall her. "I'm from Masolin Town. The day I left on my journey, on Route 49, I saw you walking the other way. You had this terrifyingly angry expression on your face."

There's practically steam coming out of Opal's ears. "I'LL SHOW YOU TERRIFYING IF YOU DON'T DROP IT! You still haven't even told me who you are. I think that's the least you could do, before you start accusing me over stuff you don't know anything about!"

"Fine, fine," the boy concedes. He's briefly distracted by a rattling from the Poké Balls on his belt. "Hush," he mutters, giving them a firm tap. "Everything's fine." He hastily returns his attention to Opal; the girl is vaguely surprised to see that he almost looks embarrassed. "My name is Amethyst. Yours?"

"The name's Opal!" she announces. "I'm from Quembar Town! I've been training for days to challenge this Gym, so listen up, Amethyst! No one's getting in the way of me challenging it right now!"

The boy glances down at Zebrun and Cygwet, then scoffs and turns back around to stare at the building. "So you're on a journey with Pokémon too, huh? Well be my guest. I've already won the Badge from this Gym."

Opal eagerly hops up a few steps and twirls around to look at Amethyst face-to-face. "Really? No way! Tell me about it! What's it like in there?"

Amethyst doesn't meet her hopeful gaze. He stares past her for a second more, then swings to his right and begins walking away, slanting down the stairs. With a dismissive wave of his hand he calls, "I have no idea."

"Well...well...!" Opal stomps her foot repeatedly in frustration. "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TELL ME THEN FINE! I'll figure it out on my own! Just you wait and see! Go on and leave, to...to wherever it is you're going!"

Though he doesn't turn around, Amethyst does halt, and sighs loudly. "Do I owe you at least that much? Whatever. I'm passing through here to Guardian Forest, and then along Route 51." In a lower voice he grumbles to himself, "And straight through the next city after that without so much as a glance at its Gym." Where Opal can hear he finishes, "And then I'll...spin a Spinda, as they say." With that he resumes his taciturn march towards the eastern edge of Foria City.

Opal glares after him, hands on his hips, before what Amethyst said fully sinks in. "He's already won the Badge from this Gym...and...he's passing through Guardian Forest! That means I was right! And if he can do it so can we!" She turns once more and practically flies up the stairs, passing between the columns that flank the entrance to throw herself against the heavy gilded doors.

The aspiring challenger finds herself in an ornate foyer, a sharp contrast to her athletic Trainer kit, but she either doesn't notice or doesn't care. The only other people in sight are two older men in fancy usher uniforms, positioned near desks beside another massive pair of doors. They're distinguishable only by the color of their hair; Opal bounds over to the closer one, with pale gray hair, who inclines his head at her approach. Stiffly he says, "Good afternoon, madam. I'm afraid you may have arrived for your show at the wrong time: there are no concerts today. Might I direct you to the ticket office, or perhaps--"

"You can direct me to the Gym Leader!" Opal butts in.

The man's clipped nod doesn't miss a beat. "Ah, of course, a Trainer. Pardon me. In that case, my colleague will be able to assist you." He motions to the man who could be taken for his twin if not for the soft brown of the other's hair. Opal zips over and springs to attention in front of him instead.

"I take it you wish to challenge our Gym Leader," the man says in a less rigid but equally friendly tone. "Unfortunately, she is not accepting challengers today. However, many of her pupils are with us in the hall. You are welcome to train with them for the time being. I am sure you will find the experience invaluable."

Opal, who had begun to wilt at the usher's first words, was clenching her fists with excitement by the end. "All right! You bet! Where do I go?!"

"Simply proceed through those doors, madam." The brown-haired man gestures to the doors between the desks. "You'll be announced as a challenger to the Foria City Pokémon Gym, and you will find--" Whatever else he would have said is cut off by the crash of the doors swinging shut behind Opal.

"That was rather rude," he remarks to the other attendant. "Still, she appears to take the challenge seriously, and best of luck to her. Far better mannered than that other fellow, to be sure."

"Hmm, quite so!" snorts the gray-haired man. "You mean that man who was snooping around here without a ticket, spouting all that foolish nonsense and making a nuisance of himself? What did he call himself again, eh, Blue, Drew...?"

"That would be Q," his companion supplies. "That's the one. But if he ever comes back, our Sabird will be waiting for him again."

- - - - - -

The concert hall itself, which occupies most of the building, looks even bigger on the inside than it did from the outside. Opal stares around at the two balcony tiers over her head and the dozens of rows of seats in front of her, arranged in a semi-circle around the center stage. The stage itself is also a sight to behold: from the broad base, several smaller, progressively elevated stages rise, climbing to the highest one in the center. THAT seems like a spot for a Gym Leader, Opal surmises. But first...

A half-dozen people are milling about in front of the stage, gazing at something over Opal's head which a woman in their midst is pointing out. The challenger herself turns around for a look. Over the doors she just entered is a two-part sign; on the left is shown a microphone, now unlit, while the Poké Ball design on the right is beaming brightly. "Good...they know I'm here!" She skips down the gently sloping aisle to meet the Gym Trainers.

A Rich Boy steps forward out of the group to meet her. "I welcome you, challenger, to our illustrious Gym. I came here to receive singing lessons, but you'll find I'm the one who gives the battling lessons!" Quick as a flash he extracts a Poké Ball from his coat pocket. "Get ready, Sabird!"

Opal responds in kind. "You're on, Zebrun!"

"Metal Sound!"

'You want to get fancy, huh? My Pokémon can make noise too! Roar!"

The two attacks crash together, cancelling each other out. The Rich Boy clucks, "A one-on-one battle, so we're not going anywhere. Now try this Gust!"

Metal Sound? That's a Steel-type attack, and it looks like that's what Sabird could be. "You'll have to get through that Gust, Zebrun! Headbutt!"

The attack collides, but isn't very effective. At its Trainer's command Sabird wheels away over the seating area in preparation for Growl. "They want to give us a show, Zebrun," Opal remarks, "but what's a show without an audience? After them with Double Kick!"

To the astonishment of the other Trainers, Zebrun leaps up toward Sabird, balancing one hoof at a time on the backs of the chairs. The first hit is countered by Peck, but the second batters Sabird to the carpeted floor of the aisle where Opal and the Rich Boy are still standing. "A clear shot! Once more!" the girl cheers.

The bird Pokémon is the one to be attacked from the air this time as Zebrun leaps down like a juggernaut. The Rich Boy recalls his fainted Pokémon and hangs his head. "This time, I was on the receiving end of defeat."

The victor looks around with a glint in her eye. "Who's next?!"

A pair of Lasses wave at Opal from the first tier of the stage. In unison they cry, "Trillark, I choose you!"

Opal runs and vaults onto the stage opposite them, with Zebrun right behind her. She hastily summons Cygwet too, and the four battling Pokémon charge at one another, full of fighting spirit.
Pronounced SAY-bird, from saber and bird. A Flying- and Steel-type Basic Pokémon and the basic stage of Falcion.
Sabird is a small, thin-bodied bird Pokémon. Though it is a bird of prey like its evolutionary relatives, in appearance and behavior it somewhat resembles the house sparrow. The underside of its head and belly is primarily a dusty beige color. Its back, head, and wings, however, are a dark dull gray material that's stiffer and heavier than the feathers of other bird Pokémon. The outside leading edge of each wing is a flat, razor-sharp wedge like a knife which curves backward. The trailing edges of the wing feathers end in flat pointed blades. Its legs are the same dark color while its talons, beak, and eyes are a lighter shiny gray. The sturdy beak is about two inches long and curved slightly downward like a sabre. Its toes are essentially the same, except half the size.
Sabird are a pretty common sight in Ilona, never living too far from most human settlements. They get along well with others of their species and often form flocks to roost, hunt, and travel. They're energetic and scrappy, hopping around on the ground and often seeming to fly with a "hopping" motion while fighting or attacking. A Sabird's opening move will often be to barrel into a target from the air, slashing with its razor-like wings. However, neither its metal blades nor its fighting form are fully developed. Sabird's moves include Jab, Leer, Growl, Peck, Metal Sound, Gust, Mirror Shot, Swords Dance, Slash, Feather Dance, Autotomize, Aerial Ace, Steel Wing, Smart Strike, Roost, Sky Attack, and Edge Grind.
Route 51 is a straightforward route that proceeds directly westward from Guardian Forest. It is forested at either end, but the majority of the terrain is broad, grassy savanna that extends downward from the heart of Ilona. One can find a good variety of Trainers here but overall the Route is not heavily populated.
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Flaming Torch
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
All over the world
Ben, A_T
Time Zone
US Central (GMT -6:00)
Every last one of the Foria City Gym Trainers stands together in a clump off to one side of the stage. Those who aren't panting or wiping their brows are staring with a mixture of awe and apprehension at the lone figure in the center of the stage. She's got her arms crossed moodily, a pout simmering on her face, and a pair of proud but weary Pokémon flanking her.

"I beat every last one of you!" Opal whines. "I SQUASHED you. Doesn't that count for anything? Can't one of you just give me a Gym Badge already?!"

An Idol, the most senior of the group, straightens her shoulders. "I'm afraid it doesn't work like that. Only the Gym Leader is authorized to distribute the Gym Badge. That's Pokémon League standard procedure. We're not allowed to be in possession of any Gym Badges, aside from ones we may have earned, even if we wanted to give you one."

"What am I supposed to do, then?!" the frustrated challenger seethes. "How long do I have to wait?"

The Idol hesitates. Before she can formulate a response, the Rich Boy who was the first person to battle approaches her. He whispers something in her ear and the two have a rapid, hushed conversation. He retreats to a corner of the hall, pulling out a Pokégear as he does so, and the Idol faces Opal once more. "We'll contact the Gym Leader for you. If she is willing to grant you an audience, you will be able to battle her today."

"She'd better be willing," Opal glowers. The girl hops nimbly to the velvet-carpeted floor and sprawls into one of the plush theater seats. Her Pokémon duly follow; Zebrun boosts Cygwet into the seat next to Opal before lying down at her feet himself.

This action is met by a surprised blink from the Idol. "You're going to stay here? Don't you want to go to the Pokémon Center and give your Pokémon an opportunity to rest? They look tired, and you can expect to be waiting at least an hour or two."

Opal shoots her a look from under the brim of her cap. "My Pokémon are resting, in case you hadn't noticed. Plus, they're strong. They'll be fine."

The more experienced Trainer opens her mouth as if to retort, apparently thinks better of it, and turns away with only a sigh. She disappears backstage along with her companions; left to her own devices, Opal scrunches down more firmly in her chair and begins to nod off.

Opal rockets upward through the air with wisps of cloud streaming past her. She spreads her arms and legs to halt herself and looks down. Far beneath her, the entire world is laid out, a patchwork of green, blue, and white. No longer moving, she instead begins to fall, being pulled away backward at an impossible rate. She follows the curve of the planet, spiraling gradually inwards towards the center, but when the passes the equator she is greeted by a sprawling black plain, utterly flat and void. Opal gasps at the way an entire planet could be cut in half, leaving only a hemisphere. Still she is pulled in towards the very middle; her feet land with a thump on the underside of the world, a hard yet undetectable surface. She peers down and makes out a Poké Ball beneath her feet: undeniably Wymer's, though it lacks any distinguishing marks. Opal flips upside down to grab for it desperately, but it recedes out of her reach into the black depths. As it slowly gyrates, becoming smaller and smaller with each turn, a slow crushing pulse like the heartbeat of a star sets up in Opal's ears. The pounding noises becomes sharper and more rapid. A ring of faceless men and women dressed in gray rises up out of the darkness in place of the Poké Ball; the noise resolves into their mocking applause.

Opal's eyes fly open with a start but the hideous tapping continues. She hastily pushes herself up from her reclined position in the chair, her gaze riveted on a pair of cream-colored high heels walking across the stage. The staccato beat stops when they do, and Opal only looks up when their owner begins to speak.

"Rouse yourself!" the exquisitely dressed middle-aged woman cries in an operatic tone. "I am here! Welcome to the Foria City Pokémon Gym. I am the Gym Leader here, Magnolia Rose!"

The announcement fires Opal's whole body; she jumps to her feet along with her Pokémon. "About time! Hurry up and let's get started! I have a Gym Badge to win!"

"Tsk tsk," the Rich Boy wags a disapproving finger. "Ms. Aspen has graciously agreed to accept your challenge on one of her rest days. Please try to display whatever manners you possess."

Off to the side, the two Lasses pout as well. One says, "You should be grateful!" In unison the other adds, "Don't be so ungrateful!" Magnolia Rose merely crosses her arms with a thoughtful expression.

Opal sticks her nose in the air. "I get it, yeah." She turns back to finally look her next opponent in the eye. "Let's get this show on the road."

"But of course," the Gym Leader says with a small bow. She flicks her hands at some of her pupils, who hurry to man control booths on either side of the stage. A series of spotlights illuminates a path from the seating up to the second tiered stage on the right-hand side of the stage apron. "Just follow the lights," the Idol indicates.

In the few second that Opal takes to comply, she loses track of the Gym Leader and the woman disappears. Suddenly all the lights in the house go dim, replaced by a single honey-gold spotlight beaming on the highest tier. Magnolia Rose slowly rises into view from underneath the stage, accompanied by the trills and aerial displays of two bird Pokémon. The spotlight tracks them as they step majestically down the successive tiers. When the Gym Leader takes her place opposite Opal, all the lights flare to life once more. "The curtain rises, challenger! I hope you're ready!" She takes out a Poké Ball from a fold of her dress.

"More ready than you'll believe," Opal mutters with gritted teeth.

The Idol takes her place as referee. "Is a three-on-three battle acceptable?"

"No," Opal replies curtly. "I only have two Pokémon."

The Idol can't help rolling her eyes, while Magnolia Rose frowns at the Poké Ball in her hand. "It seems you won't be getting a turn this time after all." She returns it still frowning.

"In that case this will be a 2-on-2 battle," the Idol states. "Please choose your Pokémon."

"Set the tempo, dear Oscry!" The larger, fiercer-looking of the Gym Leader's two Pokémon flaps forward.

"You're up, Zebrun," Opal orders.


The commands fly thick and fast between the two Trainers. Opal's are terse and irritated next to the poise and elegance of Magnolia Rose but neither is backing down.

"Find your range, Oscry," the Gym Leader coos. "Leer!"

Zebrun cowers in the glare from Oscry's eyes, eliciting a snarl from Opal. "That's not like you, Zebrun! Double Kick!"

Oscry deftly counters each hit with well-timed Wing Attacks. Its grounded opponent, at a loss against an airborne target, leaps up repeatedly with futile Headbutts. Oscry's piercing Leer follows Zebrun back to the ground each time.

"You'll have to come down from there and fight us eventually!" Opal rants. "But until you do...Agility!" Zebrun, looking energized by the prospect of finally doing something, races in circles until its muscles are quivering with power. Oapl relaxes slightly into a grin. "Now get up there and let them taste Stomp!"

Zebrun leaps far higher than its previous attempts, but even as it brings down a crushing blow towards Oscry the bird Pokemon darts out of the way with blinding speed. Unfazed, the quadruped follows through and drops firmly to the floor on its front two hooves, the back two raised to strike again.

"Seismic TOOOOSSSSSSSSSS!" Magnolia Rose's voice sharpens into a pure tone so high-pitched it sends shivers down the onlookers' spines.

After dodging Stomp, Oscry had looped around in a circle to its Trainer's side. Still propelled by the speed of its Quick Attack, Oscry sweeps in low right under Zebrun's exposed belly, extending its muscular wings at the last second to knock Zebrun's front legs from under it. The Normal-type's eyes bug out as it collapses squarely onto Oscry's back, who immediately pushes off from the floor to accelerate into the air. Having ascended nearly to the height of the ceiling, Oscry flips backward, throws Zebrun off its back, and immediately whirls in midair to deal its falling opponent a savage kick. Sped along by the blow, Zebrun can do nothing to save itself as it hurtles to the earth with a crunch. Oscry flaps down to stand in front of Magnolia Rose; it's slightly out of breath but otherwise appears unharmed.

"Zebrun is unable to battle! Oscry is the winner!" comes the Idol's ruling.

Opal's face goes blank. Mechanically she extends Zebrun's Poké Ball and recalls him without a word. She looks down at Cygwet on her right and jerks her arm forward to indicate that he should take the field.

"A moment before we resume, please," Magnolia Rose asks of her referee. In her hands she's holding a strange device, one Opal's never seen before, halfway between a laptop comaputer and a Pokégear. The girl's surprise increases when Cygwet honks at the device, seemingly in recognition, and puffs himself up proudly. At a touch from the Gym Leader the thing unfolds on side hinges like a book, and an automated voice emanates from it. "Cygwet, the Feather Pokémon. A Water-type. Cygwet is not capable of flight, instead preferring to spend its time swimming on lakes and feasting on aquatic vegetation."

That thing...knows about my Pokémon! Opal is stunned. Even more than I do! What IS it??

The young Trainer has no time for questions; as quickly as she produced the device, Magnolia Rose is finished with it. "A cruel shame," she murmurs with theatrical despair. "Such a beautiful winged creature, not a Flying-type and unable to leave the land. Not like Fledgwet, its evolved form..." The Gym Leader envisions two silhouettes, one of Cygwet, and next to it a Pokémon similar in shape but larger and with graceful wings fully outstretched. "But in that case..." Oscry is recalled to his Trainer's side and Magnolia Rose's other Pokémon takes its place. "Enter, Trillark!"

Opal sizes up the new opponent. She hadn't expected the Gym Leader to make a substitution, but it appears to the challenger that the older woman may have made a miscalculation. Unlike Oscry, Trillark is certainly no bigger than Cygwet, and perhaps of slimmer build. Opal can already picture her own Pokémon overpowering its less hefty opponent, flight or no flight. "We can take them, Cygwet, easy."

At a nod from her master, the Idol raises her hands again.

"Resume the battle!"
Pronounced FLEJ-wet, from "fledge" or "fledgling" and "wet." A Water-type Stage 1 Pokémon and the evolved form of Cygwet.
Like its pre-evolved form, Fledgwet is based on the trumpeter swan, and represents the juvenile/young adult stage of life. Fledgwet is covered in proper feathers now, rather than downy fuzz; its head and neck are a very pale gray which gradually darkens moving down to its underside and along its body, where they give the impression of a stormcloud formation. From the base of its neck, two long ruffles of dark blue feathers extend over Fledgwet's back on either side of the spine, flaring out to their ends over its tail feathers. Its bill fades from coal black at the tip to marine blue at the base; the irises of its black eyes are also a very dark blue. Fledgwet's wings, pale gray like its head, have developed and lengthened significantly, but they are comparatively slim with short feathers.
This species has gained the capability of flight. However, it's rather awkward in the air and struggles to stay aloft during adverse conditions or fancy maneuvers. It will remain living around the same lake system where it grew up as a Cygwet. Still, Fledgwet are known for their diligence and will practice flying every day. They're also known to cheer on other members of their species during practice with loud honks and calls. Fledgwet'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. Like Cygwet, its only standard Ability is Torrent, while its Hidden Ability is Wingbeats.


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The excitement spreading across Magnolia Rose's face doesn't lessen by one bit her focus on the battle at hand. "You may be down, but only time will tell if you're out!" she encourages her challenger. "In the meantime you will follow...our lead!" She flings out a hand and Trillark launches into the air, heading straight for Cygwet. It pulls up sharply at the last second and unleashes a cry that sounds more like a full-voiced shout right in Cygwet's face; the startled Pokémon almost falls over backward in shock.

"Too close! Hey, stay with me, Cygwet," Opal snaps. "Bubble Beam!" The little gray-and-blue Pokémon, having recovered his balance, nevertheless blanches at his Trainer's command and does nothing. Trillark backpedals through the air, completely at ease. "He...he flinched!"

"What do you think of my Trillark's Astonish?" Magnolia Rose laughs. "Bubble Beam is an impressive move for your Cygwet to know. Maybe you'll get a chance to show it off for us!"

"She was...you were baiting us?!" Just to check what moves we have...judging our strength...she' something else! But sneaky tricks like that won't help her! We'll just power through! "Graaahhh, use Gust!" Cygwet pumps its down, using its stubby wings to direct the churning air currents towards Trillark.

"Crescendo, Trillark!" the Gym Leader orders with a twirl. Her Pokémon extends its wings and gains altitude by riding on the Gust. "And...match pitch...Twister!" The column of air between the two Pokémon begins to swirl even more violently, until the currents slowly reorient themselves to bear down on Cygwet. Crackles of energy complete the Dragon-type attack.

The move scores a direct hit; Cygwet shivers under the impact, but there's a glint in his eye and he doesn't give ground. Countless droplets of water are shaken into the air, creating a misty veil around him.

Magnolia Rose blinks. "Is that...Water Sport?"

"We fought a lot of Flying-types on our way to this moment," Opal crows. "Cygwet's gathered water into his feathers, so he's too heavy for Twister to hurt him."

"Trying to upstage us, eh? Well, perhaps. But after all, Trillark is best known for its voice!"

"And Cygwet is no Flying-type," Opal counters. "Water attacks are his specialty!" From the air and from the ground, an Echoed Voice and another Bubble Beam collide and cancel each other out. Trillark takes the opportunity to fly in low and fast once again. Opal's eyes narrow in concentration and frustration. "No more of that either...Fury Attack!"

It knows that move too?! Trillark rolls to its side at the last second, brushing past Cygwet. The Water-type lunges forward at the same time, sharp beak extended, but it misses its target by a hair. Too slow...I help my sister raise these Pokémon, so I know more about them than most: their strengths, weaknesses, growth patterns. This one is strong; it's level has been raised tremendously. The Trainer herself, on the other hand, not so much...I must finish this properly, but carefully.

On her end of the battlefield Opal is hopping mad at the slipperiness of her opponent. "Bubble Beam! Again! More! Hit it!!" Using the flexibility of his neck to his advantage, Cygwet turns over his shoulder and spits a massive Bubble Beam.

"Up!!" The command from the Gym Leader isn't in time for Trillark, who still had its back to Cygwet, to entirely avoid the move, and Bubble Beam explodes against one of Trillark's wings. The small bird Pokémon spirals with the momentum to recover well, but it looks decidedly disheveled. THIS POKÉMON'S ABILITY IS TORRENT. Magnolia Rose recalls the letter flashing on the Pokédex's screen. Suddenly she claps her hands, decisively, four times, marking out a tempo. "Let us...Sing!"

From the tight circle Trillark makes in the air, its melodious tones drift down toward the battlefield. Cygwet hops about as if to dodge, though its waterlogged fuzz weighs it down, and the effort is futile from the start. Its eyelids droop and it drags to a halt; an impressive snore marks its collapse to the ground.

"The final act!" Magnolia Rose trills. "The voice that echoes across the land...Echoed Voice!"

There's nothing Opal can do to stop it. The incessant, cacophonous waves of sound crash over her Pokémon like an incoming tide. The Trainer herself is not immune to their effects. Each successive Echoed Voice bears down on her until her knees are trembling and it's all she can do not to slide to the floor: they fill her mind with the terrifying, jeering sound of failure. Internally Opal wails.

From far away, a voice. "Cygwet is unable to battle! Trillark is the winner! That means the victory goes to the Gym Leader, Magnolia Rose!"

Finally Opal drops to her knees and slumps forward. "I...lost." Her own face stares back up at her from the highly polished stage: neutral, but with her eyes failing to hide the panic and distress. Something taps gently at her head; it's Cygwet, looking exhausted but peaceful. His Trainer has no words for him, only turning away and recalling him to his Poké Ball without another glance.

"Your Pokémon are superbly trained," a kind voice offers. The Gym Leader has advanced across the stage to stand in front of her defeated challenger.

"Then...why wasn't I able...to win your Badge?"

Magnolia Rose ponders this for a moment. "Is the Badge more important, or the battle that earns it?"

Opal looks up with wide eyes and stammers, "The...the Badge!"

"You and your Pokémon did not fight that battle together," the standing woman declares while emphatically shaking her head. "A victory--a Badge--would be worthless from this. You were arrogant and angry and failed to properly apply your gifts."

In a small voice Opal asks, almost rhetorically, "What am I supposed to do now?"

"Stand up," Magnolia Rose suggests bluntly while tapping her foot. When Opal does, the pose that greets her is strikingly familiar. A short woman little taller than herself, left arm crossed under the right, with the right hand holding out a thin, sleek high-tech device...one she recognizes.

"That's...whatever it is you used to learn about Cygwet!" It's more than that, though. There's something else familiar about this... She forces her memory to recall a similar image. "Just like when I got my Trainer Card!! You're...you're not...do you...know Professor Aspen?"

Magnolia Rose is speechless for a second before breaking into a hearty laugh. "Ahahahahaha! I thought you had guessed already! Sequoia Violet is my twin sister! She is the one who gave me this...the Pokédex!"

"I saw you use it during our battle," Opal reminds her. The girl is grudgingly curious in spite of herself. "But I don't know what a 'Pokédex' is."

The famous professor's sister gives a knowing smile. "It's a scientific marvel, developed, through years of work, by researchers all over the world! It contains detailed information, on every known species of Pokémon, and also, can tell you all about the characteristics of any individual Pokémon!"

Opal's mind is whirring. "So when you used it on Cygwet during our battle, you were gathering extra information about it! That's...cheating!"

The Gym Leader sighs wearily. "I wanted to know more about your Pokémon, yes, to see how you had raised it. That is ultimately how the Pokédex is meant to be used: a tool for Trainers to unite themselves more closely with their Pokémon, to be able to work together better, and to achieve greater things as equals. What does this mean...to YOU?"

Opal isn't even surprised that Magnolia Rose seemed to know to ask that question; she's too concerned with how it did, in fact, touch something inside her. "I want...more than anything...to be united with Pokémon. That's the whole point of me going on this journey, so that I can unite myself with my partner."

"That's exactly it. It gives me joy to hear you say so," is the warm response. Magnolia Rose's almost jovial tone belies the weight of her words. "Regardless of whether or not I used the Pokédex, I'm afraid, you would not have won that battle. Once it is yours, however, you will win many more: not only for the knowledge it gives, you understand, but for the lessons you will be able to take away from it." Once more she holds the Pokédex towards Opal.

The novice Trainer takes a step backward. "You're...giving your Pokédex to me? Why??"

This elicits another peal of laughter. "It's not my Pokédex, dear, but being the twin of a renowned professor lets you, get your hands on things sometimes! Sequoia Violet, as I'm sure you know, is responsible for Pokémon League registrations and starter Pokémon distribution as well as her own research. As of now only two Pokédexes have been produced for use in the Ilona region! One was already given to a boy who began his journey with a Limberjax. My sister gave me this Pokédex and told me to be on the lookout for a young girl who had a Cygwet with her. When my pupils contacted me with news of a strong challenger who had such a Pokémon, I was sure it must be you. You can be sure I wouldn't have been so quick to accept your challenge otherwise! I value my days off!"

Opal nods slowly, taking some time to adjust to the idea. "So really it's my Pokédex? Doubt creeps onto her face. "Truthfully I'm still really new to being a Trainer. I know I don't have everything figured out yet. What am I supposed to do with it?"

"Why, only continue what you've been doing. The journey of being a Trainer will go as far as you do. The Pokédex is meant for adventure. Goodness knows with my concerts and Gym battles and helping my sister, I don't have time for that anymore. You have to go and make it your own!"

A tool...to achieve greater things. The words are lodged in Opal's mind. With this...I can do it. This is really my answer! Full of new confidence she accepts the Pokédex from Magnolia Rose, flips it open as she saw the woman do during their battle, and grabs the Ultra Ball from her belt. "Let's try it on you, then!"

"Please, let it rest after its hard work," Magnolia Rose chides. She reaches around Opal's shoulder to press a button on the Pokédex's screen. An additional flat tray with a shallow round depression in its center slides out from the bottom. Opal sees that it's the size of a Poké Ball and places Zebrun's Ultra Ball there.

After a faint click and a hum, information begins scrolling over the main screen. "Zebrun, the Running Pokémon. A Normal-type. Running every day is what keeps this docile, dependable Pokémon both happy and healthy. It does not tolerate cold conditions well."

"Incredible," breathes Opal, and she isn't only talking about the device's functionality. "I never knew that about you, Zebrun," the fainted Pokémon's Trainer admits. She fondly tosses his Ultra Ball in her hand a couple times. She puts away the Pokédex inside her jacket and turns to face Magnolia Rose earnestly. "Thanks...thanks for the battle. And the Pokédex. I never expected that, but I really know what you mean about it. And" --she's truly beaming now--"I'm going to do it! Really!" Waving goodbye, she bounds off the stage and makes for the exit. A call from behind checks her progress, however.

The Rich Boy calls to Opal with a chuckle, "We'll expect you back here tomorrow, then? We all heard you say how important it is to win a Badge. Care for another shot?"

This innocent question momentarily puts the brakes on Opal's newfound energy. "Well...I, uh...I've got the Pokédex now, don't I?"

By this time the Gym Leader has made her way, at a more serene pace, off the stage. "The Pokédex by itself won't do you much good at Carnelian Plateau. That's why most Trainers seek to earn Badges, no?"

"Not exactly," Opal is forced to explain. "I just wanted it because I thought...well...that it might somehow help me get through Guardian Forest.
I know, I KNOW it's blocked off, but it's really important to me that I can get through and keep moving!"

Magnolia Rose has got her head cocked to one side. "Is that all you want? To get through the forest? But you have a Cygwet with you, one that even knows Fury Attack."

It's Opal's turn to look very confused. "What does that have anything to do with it?"

"Why, it means that your Cygwet, is close to evolving! When it does, its wings will grow, and with a good effort it will be able to carry you, clean over the forest and wherever you wish beyond that! I will help the two of you to train. Cygwet and its evolution are not Flying-types, but I can teach you both what you need to know. I'm sure my sister would appreciate it."

Excitement wipes away Opal's confusion. "Then what are we waiting for?! Let's practice some more battling right now!" She begins to sprint back in the direction of the stage. Magnolia Rose innocently slides out one foot, tripping the enthusiastic girl and sending her sprawling. "Ughhh...why'd you do that," Opal mumbles in a daze. The sight of the Gym Leader looming over her snaps her back to her senses. She's obviously passionate about her own sort of work, but now...even in these differently-colored eyes belonging to someone on a very different path...I see the same kind of passion that Professor Aspen had for Pokémon research. No doubt they're sisters.

"You," Magnolia Rose orders imperiously, "are going straight to the Pokémon Center to allow your valiant Pokémon to be healed. Come back tomorrow morning; some of my assistants will meet you in the plaza."

The next day breaks clear and balmy, just like all the others during Opal's time in Foria City. The streets are still swathed in the shadows of the tall buildings when she arrives outside the Gym. The two Lasses wave her over; when Opal approaches them they squeal as one, "You're so lucky to be able to train personally with the Gym Leader!" They lead her around the side of the building and down another vibrant city street, one that's new to Opal.

"Here we are!" they announce not too much later. Opal cranes her neck to take in the sight of one of the tallest buildings in the city.

Moments later, she's instead peering down from the roof of the very same building. It's been converted into a small open-air garden, complete with a fountain and open grassy lawns. Magnolia Rose is waiting for them when they arrive.

"Isn't it grand?" she trills while throwing her arms wide. "So close to the sky! The playful breezes that blow through Foria City are at their freest in this spot. So, bring out your Pokémon, and we shall begin!" She herself summons Oscry.

Opal doesn't hesitate to fling a Poké Ball of her own. "Up and at 'em, Cygwet!" As soon as he appears, the eager little Pokémon waddles as fast as he can to the circular stone fountain. Finding himself too short to hop onto the ledge that rings the water feature, he alternates between honking in frustration and shooting pleading looks in Opal's direction. His Trainer can't hold down laughter in spite of herself. "We're here to focus on flying," she informs him while waving him over to her side. "You're already plenty good at swimming!"

"Oscry is a species known for its powerful flight muscles," Magnolia Rose begins once the two Trainers and their Pokémon are gathered together. "Cygwet, please, pay close attention and observe how she holds her wings!" Oscry plants her taloned feet and settles down into a ready position, wings raised. Cygwet hops about diligently, observing from every angle. A large gust of wind rolls over the building and Oscry's eyes narrow. The wind ruffles her feathers and lifts at her wings, as if trying to tease her into the sky. With a screech Oscry runs forward several paces before lofting effortlessly into the air. The skilled bird Pokémon pulls a tight loop and lands back on the grass by her Trainer.

"Pretty cool, huh, Cygwet?" Opal applauds. "Ready to try it for yourse--"

Nearly bursting with excitement, Cygwet doesn't need any encouragement to try for himself. Before Opal is finished speaking he's adopted the same stance as Oscry. His small fuzzy wings are hardly impressive next to Oscry's, but he runs into the wind with the same determination and jumps into the air. Cygwet promptly crashes in a heap, coming up with several grass stains for his trouble.

"A little off pitch," Magnolia Rose winces, "but the melody, is there! Again, from the top!"

Several more attempts, however, yield only the same painful result. Cygwet looks totally disheveled by this point, with a downcast expression to match. "It's okay, Cygwet," Opal murmurs while reaching down to lift him into her arms. "You'll get it sooner or later. But hey, all the wind up here must be drying out your feathers." She ruffles his down with a hand to make sure. "There's hardly any moisture in there at all! How about you take a break?" She jogs a few paces to deposit him in the fountain he couldn't reach earlier.

"Look at that--better already!" Opal chuckles. Cygwet gives himself a shake to fluff up his down, which has taken on a more refreshed, vibrant hue.
His Trainer remarks, "I can practically see you absorbing the water. Now you're just the way you're supposed to be." It's true: each individual, tiny tuft seems coated with its own thin film of water, giving Cygwet's whole body a shimmery appearance. The Water-type swims a few circular laps around the fountain, going faster and faster with each one. "Pace yourself, Cygwet, you've still got lots of flight practice to do!" Opal cautions.

Cygwet gives her a funny look. He glides smoothly to a stop in front of her and hops out of the fountain to stand on the stone bench. Another breath of wind whips at Opal's loose brown hair. Cygwet lifts his wings and jumps as high as he can, once, then twice.

Over Opal's shoulder, Magnolia Rose gasps. The girl turns and begins to question, "What's the m--"


Opal whips back around just in time to see. Both the luminous veil around Cygwet and the water itself that coats him surge outward, drowning the Pokémon in the depths of a fierce blue light. It contracts suddenly, bending itself around a new form, before dissipating in one last painfully bright flare and a rushing noise like breaking glass. A new Pokémon stands where Cygwet just stood.

"You must be..."

"Fledgwet!" Magnolia Rose interjects. "Marvelous! Perfect! You did it!"

"Hah!" Opal cheers. "Who can't fly now, eh, Fledgwet!" As if to prove it, the newly-evolved Pokémon extends his broad gray wings and explodes into the air. "Woo-hoo!!" his Trainer whoops from the ground. With her running to follow his progress as best she can, Fledgwet soars out over the edge of the building, borne up by the warm air rising from the city, and makes a wide turn back. When he lands, Opal is at his side in an instant. "You must be twice as tall now as you were before!"

"Thank you, Oscry, you may return," Magnolia Rose says to her Pokémon. She crosses her arms in satisfaction. "I told you Cygwet was close to evolving, did I not? Fledgwet may not be a Flying-type Pokémon but it can fly all the same. No forest will stand in your way! But please, be careful," she continues. "You are both still young, and growing, with many things left to learn. Don't be foolish...and look after your Trainer," she quips, scratching Fledgwet on the crown of his head.

"I trust my Pokémon, and they trust me," Opal asserts. "Ask anyone back home in Quembar Town and they'll tell you I don't always play it safe. Still, in my eyes there's a fine line between being foolish..and taking life head on! Ready?"

While she was talking, Fledgwet lofted up to the peak of the fountain. At his Trainer's signal he takes off, following a path that will take him directly over Opal's head. The girl runs for the railing that surrounds the edge of the tall building. "There's no time like the present! There's not a second to lose, so we won't lose any at all! HERE...WE...COME!"

Without breaking stride Opal leaps with one foot onto the metal fence. Fledgwet passes by overhead at that exact moment. Opal wraps her hands firmly around his thin black legs. Fledgwet can handle this, no doubt. He's still got the power of evolution buzzing through him, and the Gym Leader practically said so herself that there's no better place in the city...to fly! Fledgwet wobbles just a moment in the air but soon levels out, gliding as swift and sure as an arrow toward the northeast, and the lands beyond Guardian Forest.

Magnolia Rose remains behind in the garden, speechless and with shock painted on her face. While she stares blankly over the city in the direction taken by airborne traveler, a faint call drifts to her on the wind. "THAAAAANK YOUUUUUU!"
Nothing new for the Index!