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Thread: The Eon Academy [S.S. Wishmaker Side-Story]

  1. #11
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
    Oh holy crap, that was amazing! Seriously, dude, the reunion with Jon and Cassandra was awesome and you did a great job capturing their personalities and characters. And I love the way you handled Victini's one-liners, that's totally spot on with his character! XD

    Jon as an Altaria is epic. Just the thought of a tough guy like him becoming a fluffy dragon bird Pokemon is priceless, and the random unexpected dragonbreath attacks were a great addition. XD

    Definitely great work and impressive that you wrote all that in such a short amount of time.
    Really glad to hear you approve of how I portrayed them haha I had a lot of fun writing it, though I did deprive myself of sleep to do it haha

  2. #12
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Episode 2: The Wager
    Spoiler:

    As Charlotte sat in the front row of the makeshift classroom next to Abbee, as Jon explained different Pokemon moves that affect allies on the battlefield, she thanked her lucky stars that the classroom was air conditioned, having spent some of the hotter spring afternoons in her school classrooms, barely able to stay awake in the heat. Behind them sat Dylan, who seemed to be in his own world, with Chris and Justin in the seats at the back of the room, murmuring over videos they had playing on their phones on mute. Whilst they had been talking since about ten minutes into the session, Jon had only intervened when it became loud enough that it was disrupting the others in the room, true to his philosophy of them only getting out what they wanted to put in.

    It was Thursday of the first week at the Eon Academy, and it was their second morning session, Tactics and Strategy, which had proven to be Charlotte’s favorite class so far, though second to the one on one training they received from Jon, whilst Abbee had been enjoying the class they had in the morning, Trainer Career, which Alyssa had taken as a guest tutor on that particular day. The focus of that was less on battling but more on logistical things and public relations such as insurance, taxes and interviews, the latter of which Alyssa held no punches regarding Jon’s knack for screwing up, particularly with swearing.

    The first few days of Tactics and Strategy had mostly consisted of making sure that each trainer was aware of the majority of type advantages. With Pokemon being made up of eighteen types, with three-hundred and twenty-four possible attacker/defender combinations, everyone knew it was imperative that they were aware of any and all advantages, disadvantages and especially immunities, well and truly before coming here. That being said, with around fifty of those combinations being advantageous, even more being disadvantageous and seven having no effect, there were some combinations for all students that fell through the cracks, particularly on odd combinations such as a Bug type attack against a Fairy Type Pokemon, and especially on Dual-Type Pokemon with conflicting resistances, such as an Electric or Grass attack against a Kingdra, which just hits normally due to the advantages and disadvantages cancelling out.

    Abbee had mostly learnt through private training with her father, and whilst she had a strong understanding of this, it was mostly of combinations relevant to her Pokemon, so there were some combinations which were new to her. Even Charlotte, who was by far the most studious of the group had a few hypotheticals posted that she was stumped on. So all the students were glad when Jon had let them know he was content with the time they had already spent on that, and was ready to move onto the next module.

    Double Battles.

    Whilst Charlotte had asked why they were having that be a major theme, seeing as 90% of competitive matches were one on one battles, Jon raised a few points. Firstly, that he was wanting to break the predispositions they had to battling, and get them thinking outside the box, battling with their entire team, not just the Pokemon on the field, and double battles were a good start to that. Once they understood how to come up with tactics based on two Pokemon on the field, they could then start thinking about how their Pokemon on and off the field can work together at their best. The other point he raised was that with most competitive matches, outside of Gym Battles and Elite Four Challenges, there was no hard and fast single battle rule, and if both trainers consented to it, a double battle could be conducted instead, and because they were so rare and dynamic, audiences loved them. All it takes is someone to propose a double battle for the crowd to go wild, and if someone cares too much about saving face, they might accept the challenge, giving themself a disadvantage if they weren’t practised in them, though Jon didn’t recommend using that tactic too often. Jon also mentioned that he tries to teach skills that are used outside of the competitive scene, and should the young trainers ever find themselves in a life-or-death situation, knowing how to battle well with multiple Pokemon, or alongside another trainer, could be the difference between seeing next Christmas and not…

    Satisfied with his answer, Charlotte had begun to furiously take notes, as Jon explained what moves can damage allies, such as Earthquake or Surf, and those that defend allies, such as Wide Guard. As they neared the end of the session, Jon was interrupted by a loud laugh from the back of the room, as Justin had accidentally let his amusement at the video they were watching on his phone slip. Whilst the video had started as Highlights from the second High Sea’s Tournament, it had slipped into Top 10 Battling Fails.

    “Do you mind?” Charlotte asked loudly and irritably, beating Jon to the point of calling them out, slightly surprising him.

    “You two reckon you have this all under control?” Jon asked. “Know how to handle yourselves in a double battle?”

    “Should be easy enough!” Justin replied casually. “Two Pokemon in and of itself is easier. One can set up buffs and arena traps while the other one protects it and deals damage.”

    “So you reckon you can divide your attention well enough to command two Pokemon?” Jon asked, curious to see how much further of a hole Justin would dig himself into. He hadn’t known his students long, but already had an idea for what made them tick, and more importantly, what grinds their gears. In Charlotte’s case, Justin’s lack of consideration for the people or circumstances around him was one of those, and he knew she wasn’t going to let this slide.

    “Because you already do so well focusing in class.” Charlotte retorted, rolling her eyes, as Abbee’s jaw dropped at the pointed comment. Jon contained a chuckle, whilst Chris couldn’t hide his amusement at the exchange between the pair, though Dylan kept silent, looking back and forth between the table in front of and behind him.

    “Don’t laugh, you’re lucky you have been able to get by without giving a damn this far,” Charlotte said to Chris. “But one day you will realize you peaked early, and not know how hard you really have to work to make it anywhere…”

    Chris chuckled to himself, before looking Charlotte dead in the eye.

    “You seriously think I’ve already peaked? What makes you say that?” Chris asked.

    “Maybe the fact I handed your a** to you on the first day here…” Charlotte said seriously, not letting her gaze drop. Chris had been a rival to her for the last four years, but now they were living and training together, tension was at an all time high, especially since he walked around the place as if he was blessing it by being there, paired with Justin who was unable to take anything seriously, it made for a slightly irritating situation.

    Abbee snorted with laughter at Charlotte’s call, as Chris’ pride took a hit.

    Jon watched in silence. Whilst he planned on intervening if the comments became more hostile, he figured this could be a good chance to get Chris and Justin to take class time more seriously. Whilst Chris excelled during their private practises, and seemed able to put new concepts into play with little difficulty managing to just catch up, there was a lot he missed purely because he didn’t pay enough attention during class time, and that was letting him down. Justin on the other hand just seemed to think of this all as a game, when really, he was slipping behind everyone else, with Dylan who seemed the least experienced with battling Pokemon, being on the same level as him.

    “I’ll give you credit, you used my tactics from our last match against me, but you were a little too obvious with it. All I have to do is throw something new at you, and things will be the way they were…” Chris responded.

    “Something new hey?” Charlotte asked with a determined grin. “We have never had a double battle before? What do you say? This Saturday, you and chuckles over there take on Abbee and myself, if you’re cool with that Abbee?”

    “Oh definitely.” Abbee said with a smile, “I’d love to get in on this…”

    “Name a time and place, I’ll be there," Chris replied, before turning to Justin. “You’re in too right?”

    “Sure,” Justin said casually. “I might have lost on our first day, but I doubt anyone would have been able to do much better if they drew the short straw…”

    “Well, because you two are so great, let’s make this interesting…” Charlotte said, her smile widening, as Jon and Dylan both watched, curious to see how this would progress. “What do you want from us if you two legendary trainers win this?”

    The two trainers began discussing quietly, before reaching a conclusion.

    When we win, the two of you will be on the side of the freeway with signs declaring our praises,” Justin called out before Jon cut in.

    “I’m not going to be having two female students, both underage, standing on the side of a freeway," Jon interjected. “I’m willing to let you have this match, even this bet, because I think it could light a fire under your a** more than I can on my own, but I am not going to allow that. Think of something else.”

    “Fine,” Chris replied. “When we win, it will be Twitter Takeover. We will have control of your twitter accounts for a full twenty-four hours…”

    Charlotte and Abbee both grimaced at the thought. Abbee, being the daughter of a famous battler, wound up with followers in the tens of thousands from the odd post her dad made involving her, and Charlotte had a following in the thousands from her years in junior tournaments. A lot could be done with that kind of power…

    “If you get that, then this is what we get should you lose…” Charlotte said. “You two are going to have a nice romantic date-”

    “We get dinner?” Justin asked with a laugh. “Sounds like a win-win situation.”

    “I haven’t finished…” Charlotte replied with a smile. “A nice romantic date planned by Abbee and myself. We will even pay for it, so you two just have to enjoy yourselves.”

    Jon grinned to himself as Charlotte turned to Abbee.

    “Justin’s about your size. Reckon you have a dress that would suit him?” Charlotte asked.

    “He’s a little taller than me, so it wouldn’t leave much to the imagination…” Abbee laughed. “But I think if he shaved his legs, maybe he could rock it. Might have to ask Alyssa about borrowing a wig…”

    Jon burst into laughter hearing the girls plans, knowing that the only thing that would embarrass Chris more than being the person in the dress and wig, is being seen with the person in the dress and wig.

    “Wait, no-”

    “You have a deal…” Chris said, cutting off Justin’s objections, leaving him horrified.

    The clock struck 11, which meant that the class was over, and whilst Jon would have liked to have covered more in the amount of time they had allocated, he wasn’t exactly annoyed. This experience could be a better learning opportunity, particularly for Justin and Chris if his intuition was correct, then classroom time was going to be.

    Jon quickly regained order, as they moved to the next class, Raising Pokemon, noting Dylan’s focus becoming much sharper when the subject changed, as both Abbee and Charlotte, and Chris and Justin began murmuring to each other about how they were going to win, and what they’d do to the losing team when they got the chance.

    The class was spent going over determining what food Pokemon eat based on their typing, but also determining what food in the wilderness is good for them based on their anatomical traits such as the shape of their teeth, if they have any. Once it reached noon, Jon dismissed everyone to lunch, with Chris having a training session that afternoon, followed by Charlotte. As everyone left, Jon noticed Abbee and Charlotte staying behind. Figuring they wanted to speak to him, he made his way over.

    “Everything okay?” Jon asked.

    “Yeah, everything’s fine,” Abbee replied.

    “We were just wondering if Abbee could join in on today’s session?” Charlotte asked. “We really want to see Justin in that dress, and figure having some training on double battles specifically would be helpful.”

    Whilst Jon had planned to be training them in double battles during their one on one training, he was more thinking of one trainer commanding two Pokemon, as that took more skill and awareness, however he knew that Charlotte in particular was studious enough that one session deviating from the plan wouldn’t put her behind. And he did think that the boys losing this match could be the wake up call they need to realize they can’t just coast through…

    “Sure,” Jon explained. “But I am allowing this because from what I have seen so far, this little bet isn’t going to interfere with your progress. If we get to the next session and you are behind where you would have been otherwise, there will be extra work to catch up.”

    “Deal,” Charlotte said with a grin, before the pair rushed out of the room.

    Jon spent a few minutes gathering the resources he had used in class, before making his way back to the cottage he and Alyssa lived in on the edge of the property. There was a lot left-over from last night’s dinner, so Jon and Alyssa had made plans to have it reheated for lunch together, especially since Jon would be having his weekly training match with Steven in the evening, so wouldn’t be home for dinner. As he made his way to the cottage, he was thinking about his students, and their progress. Whilst he had a good understanding of what made most of them tick, Dylan was the enigma of the group, with Jon not having heard a word from him that wasn’t in response to a direct question or statement, and even then it was hardly much. Whilst he had paid for the summer in full the week before, having reserved a spot very early on, he had little idea about why Dylan was attending the Eon Academy, especially since his interests seemed more towards breeding and raising Pokemon than battling them. He was concerned however that he spent most of his time there alone. Justin and Chris didn’t really seem interested in talking to him, and Charlotte was friendly enough, however tended to have her focus elsewhere. Whilst Abbee would make a point of including him, it was near impossible to tell whether he actually wanted that, and it didn’t take a genius to see that Abbee was equally confused.

    As he walked to the cottage, he noticed Dylan on the grass next to the battling pitch. He held a sponge and a bucket of water, as his Flygon lay in the sun, enjoying the bath it was receiving.

    “He looks really happy,” Jon said as he walked over, Dylan near jumping out of his skin. “How long have you had him for?”

    “About three years,” Dylan said quietly.

    “You surely didn’t catch him around here?” Jon asked, knowing Dylan was a local of Mossdeep.

    “I went on a summer camp when I was fifteen or so, in Lavaridge Town," Dylan explained. “Part of it was a hike to the Desert Ruins, and I caught him on the way...”

    “Was it a good camp?” Jon asked.

    “Great, one of the best," Dylan said quietly, as he continued to wash off sand from under the Dragon type’s wings.

    “So you’ve been on a few?” Jon asked. “Where else?”

    “When I was sixteen, I went on a camp in Fortree City, and we did a day trip to Mt. Pyre to learn about the Hoenn Legendary Pokemon, Groudon and Kyogre,” Dylan explained. “I caught my Duskull there. Most of my Pokemon I caught during the summers, except Walrein, I caught near home.”

    As Jon watched Dylan care for his Pokemon, he was quickly trying to think of how to include him. Whilst the other students would be able to find things to do in their spare time, the only time Dylan left his room of his own accord was to care for his Pokemon, and usually he’d do that trying to avoid others. If Charlotte and Abbee hadn’t have held Jon back after class, he’d have missed this chance to talk to Dylan.

    “Are you doing anything tonight?” Jon asked. Dylan shook his head, kind of confused.

    “Thursdays I train with Steven Stone, and he has been badgering me to introduce him to you guys," Jon explained. “I was thinking of having him here this week, but this bet the others have might get in the way of that, and I want them focused when they meet him. So how about you come along tonight and sit in? I’m sure he’d love to talk about what you learnt at Mt. Pyre.”

    Dylan was quiet, but surprisingly ended up agreeing to come. Jon let him know when they’d be leaving the academy, before saying goodbye and making his way to the cottage, where he found Alyssa in their bedroom, going through the closet in there.

    “Looking for something?” Jon asked, knowing if Amelia wasn’t with her, she was most likely napping.

    “This," Alyssa explained, pulling out the black wig she wore on the S.S. Wishmaker. “Charlotte and Abbee came by and explained their little bet to me.”

    Jon chuckled to himself.

    “I thought they were kidding when they mentioned the wig, but I guess knowing Charlotte, I should have known otherwise…”

    “You’re okay with this?” Alyssa asked. “I think it’s hilarious, but I told them I’d only go along if you weren’t against it.”

    “Look, it’s probably a little questionable, and I will intervene if it gets out of hand, but for now I want to see how this plays out," Jon explained. “Chris and Justin do need a bit of a reality check, and this could be a good way of doing that, especially for Chris since he tends to look down on the others a little.”

    “If you say so,” Alyssa explained. “But I don’t think that this on its own is going to do anything drastic. You will have to make sure that the right point is made if they’re going to get anything out of this. And what if Chris and Justin win.”

    “Then maybe I am wrong about them and what they need," Jon explained. “And if that is the case, I might go and make a few fake reports on Charlotte and Abbee’s twitter accounts to get them banned before Chris and Justin can do too much damage…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    When lunch was over, Jon made his way to the battling pitch to find Dylan had gone, and Chris was waiting for him. Whilst he had been early on the first day, he had been late half the time to classes and sessions since, so Jon was slightly surprised.

    “So I take it you’ve got a bit more motivation now that this bet is in place…” Jon asked Chris with a grin.

    “When I get Charlotte’s phone, I am going to do an Ask me anything on twitter, and make sure to answer every single question...” Chris said with a grin.

    “Well I hope that you and Justin work well together,” Jon said, before sending out his first Pokemon. “Because Charlotte and Abbee asked if they could both train with me this afternoon to practise.”

    “Wait, what?” Chris asked. “We can do that?”

    “You can ask," Jon explained. “I said yes to them because I know that taking a slight deviation from the plans for these sessions won’t cause them to fall behind. They will do what it takes to stay ahead.”

    “What about myself and Justin?” Chris asked. “It would take too long to track Justin down now, but he has a session tomorrow, could I join in that?”

    “If you can show me that me allowing it, and this bet in general won’t cause the two of you to fall behind, I will consider it,” Jon said. “But I will take a bit of convincing…”

    The pair began their training session which mostly consisted of a double battle, with Jon paying close attention to Chris. Whilst Chris’ natural talent and instinct caused him to do better at a double battle than Jon had expected, that wasn’t what his focus was on. Instead, Jon spent the battle creating opportunities for Chris to put to work the content they had covered in the week's classes in order to give him the upper hand, such as some of the more unusual type advantages that most trainers tend to forget. However, whilst Chris had done well for someone with little experience in double battles, he didn’t show much comprehension of what they had covered in classes, which Jon had to then make a point of reiterating after the match. As they called their Pokemon back, Chris spoke up.

    “So can I join in on Justin’s training?” Chris asked, causing Jon to frown a little.

    “Look, you do have a solid talent and instinct for battling, but you can’t get by on that, you need to put in the work, and where you are all at now, Justin needs that more,” Jon explained. "I spent the last ten minutes of this session repeating what I had told you in class this week when you weren’t paying attention, which isn’t ideal. Charlotte and Abbee on the other hand work hard and that never happens with them. So for the long term benefit of you and Justin, you are welcome to come tomorrow, watch, and try and learn what you can, but yours and Justin’s focus needs to be on what is being taught, not this battle and the bet. You won’t be allowed to train together against me for this battle during Justin’s session.”

    Chris scowled, turning and leaving, as Jon watched, hoping that he would realize what he needs to do going forward. It wasn’t long before Abbee and Charlotte arrived, and the trio began a double battle, with the girls having spent the last few hours strategizing, coming up with tactics that suited both Pokemon, and to Jon’s surprise, were much more creative than most would tend to be on their first attempt. Whilst Jon’s experience and own ability to pull miracles out of nowhere helped him take the match without too much hassle, the main point he wanted them to take going forward was to view their tactics and plans less like a line and more like a constantly forking branch, giving themselves plenty of options to account for different scenarios, particularly those they don’t see coming. However, he was confident in who the winner would be, come Saturday morning…


    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    “That’s bulls**t!” Justin exclaimed as Chris told him about what Jon had said. The pair were in Justin’s room, and Chris had told him about Charlotte and Abbee getting to train together with Jon. “How come they can do that and you’re only allowed to watch?”

    “‘Cause Jon’s got a stick up his a**...” Chris muttered, as he tossed his Pokeball in the air over and over, trying to think of how best to move forward.

    “Will you come and watch our session?” Justin asked.

    “Do you think you will have this week’s content memorized before tomorrow afternoon?” Chris asked.

    “Probably not?” Justin replied. “I know most of the advantages, just one or two that confuse me a bit, but the disadvantages are a lot harder to remember.”

    “Then I will train by myself somewhere else,” Chris explained. “Unless he is convinced you are where he wants you to be, chances are the session will not be anything that can help with this double battle, so I’ll go train on my own tomorrow afternoon…”

    “We aren’t allowed to leave here on our own?” Justin asked.

    “Yeah, well he shouldn’t be playing favorites, so screw it,” Chris replied irritably. “I’d rather be grounded than be getting dinner with Justine.”

    Justin shuddered at the thought, not bringing it up anymore.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    It was 5:55 when Abbee returned to the lodge. Charlotte’s session with Jon ended at three, but the pair spent another hour practising, before Charlotte went inside to shower, leaving Abbee to go over some of the plans they had come up with. Whilst she did want to see Chris and Justin go on their date, she was more terrified of what Justin would do with her twitter account, and was willing to stay out all night if she had to.

    As she returned to the lodge, she was surprised to see Dylan waiting out the front, looking as though he felt really out of place. It was especially odd seeing as every time he needed to be somewhere such as dinner, Abbee would usually be the one to knock on his room door, before they’d walk there in silence.

    “Keen for dinner?” Abbee asked, as she approached the lodge, getting Dylan’s attention.

    “I’m not here for dinner,” Dylan replied awkwardly. “Jon wants me to come along to his training session, and meet Steven…”

    “What?!” Abbee asked. “That’s so cool, but why don’t the rest of us?”

    “He thinks you’ve all got a bit going on at the moment…”

    Abbee laughed at the fact that Jon, who was supposed to be the serious teacher/principal was changing his own plans to let their silly wager go ahead.

    “Look, he isn’t wrong, but seriously, that’s awesome,” Abbee replied before her attention was called to someone calling out her name. She turned to see Jon and Alyssa walking towards them, Jon holding a large casserole dish with everyone’s dinner, and Alyssa holding Amelia, who was resting against her torso.

    “Abbee, you mind taking this in?” Jon asked, gesturing to the dish. “Dylan and I are heading out, and I am already running late.”

    “I heard!” Abbee said, taking the dish. “I better be next to tag along to your little meet up with the Champion!”

    “Your father is more famous in the battling circles than Steven is, surely you’ve met the odd champion before?”

    “Dad didn’t want to disrupt schooling, so I only ever went to events outside of Johto during holidays. Only champion I ever met was…”

    “Yeah…” Jon said, figuring where she was going with that. "Anyway, Dylan, I pester Steven whenever he is late, so he will tear me a new one if we are late. Let’s get going.”

    Dylan nodded, as Jon kissed Alyssa goodbye, before the two groups went in their separate directions.

    Jon and Dylan made their way back to Jon and Alyssa’s cottage, climbing into Jon’s car before leaving the property, making their way to the Mossdeep City Gym.

    “Since Steven is the champion, he has no issue getting a key for us to use the city gym after hours,” Jon explained. “He can’t really practise anywhere public without being swarmed, so is restricted to doing this. Another reason I wouldn’t want his position, though in the weeks after the High Seas Tournament, mine wasn’t much better…”

    Before too long, they arrived at the Gym, where the door was unlocked. Jon led Dylan through the dark and empty reception area, making his way to the arena, where Steven was already waiting, dressed in casual clothes, much different to his semi formal attire he wore for public appearances.

    “You kept me waiting Jon,” Steven said. “But I see you brought company.”

    “Steven, this is Dylan,” Jon said, as the pair walked over, Steven reaching out to shake Dylan’s hand. “He is one of my Eon Academy students.”

    “Fantastic,” Steven replied as he shook Dylan’s hand. “I have been waiting for you to invite me to come along.”

    “I was originally thinking of having you come tomorrow but some stuff came up," Jon explained, as he put his gym bag down, removing his Pokeballs.

    “Trouble?”

    “I hope not,” Jon laughed. “You remember being in high school? You have those who are willing to put in the work, and those who wanna cruise by?”

    “I’m struggling to pick which you’d be.”

    “The feeling’s mutual,” Jon said. “Anyway, the other four students are divided up evenly in that. The two girls are there wanting to get all they can, and the two guys think their natural talent will get them by without any hard work.”

    “They’re in for a rude awakening,” Steven replied.

    “And that’s what’s happening. A bit of s**t talking happened in a class today, that resulted in a double battle between the pairs with a wager.”

    “What’s at stake?” Steven asked with a grin appearing on his face.

    “If the guys win, they get twenty-four hours of control over the girls twitter accounts,” Jon said as Steven began to laugh. “And if the girls win, the guys will be going on a date together, planned by the girls, with one of them wearing a dress and a wig…”

    Steven burst out into laughter as a grin appeared on Dylan’s face. The mood was almost contagious, and Dylan found it amusing hearing about his classmate’s petty squabbles from the point of view of two professionals.

    “So how do you see this playing out?” Steven asked.

    “I’d bet $1000 here and now that those boys are going on a date,” Jon said. “The girls have been working their a**es off, and are already pulling ahead of them. Really, the reason I am letting it play out is because I think this might be the kick in the a** those two boys need to take this summer a bit more seriously. We are already nearly a week in.”

    “What about you?” Steven asked, turning to Dylan. “Where do you fit into this?”

    “I still have a lot to learn about battling,” Dylan said quietly. “The other guys would probably be able to beat me.”

    “I think you should give yourself more credit. Nerves played a big role in that first battle,” Jon said. “Besides, Dylan here has probably the best instinct for raising Pokemon, and knowing what they need at what time that I have seen in anyone his age.”

    “Really?” Steven said, looking over towards Dylan again. “Jon isn’t usually one to give much praise, so make sure to take that seriously.”

    Dylan nodded awkwardly, as Steven turned to Jon.

    “So are you ready for this match?” Steven asked.

    “Of course,” Jon said. “A few more wins and the split will become 70/30 my way…”

    “Keep dreaming…”

    Dylan watched from the sidelines as Jon and Steven battled. He had a front row seat, watching probably one of the most intense battles he had ever seen. In the end, Steven won, which he made sure to let Jon know of as much as he could, however Jon took that with a laugh, telling him next week would be his. Dylan however couldn’t help but feel like Jon was holding back.

    The pair left the arena to use the showers in the locker room, leaving Dylan on his own for a few minutes. As they showered, Jon called out from one cubicle to another.

    “So when I met Dylan, I could have sworn I had seen him before, but I can’t remember where,” Jon explained. “He said he lives in Mossdeep, but barely says a word more than he has to. Any idea where he might fit in?”

    “No clue,” Steven replied. “He is familiar, but I couldn’t tell you where I have seen him.”

    “I was hoping figuring that out might help me figure out why he is so damn quiet,” Jon said. “I want to figure out what makes him tick, but he doesn’t make it easy…”

    “Did you mean what you said, about his instinct for raising Pokemon?” Steven asked.

    “Am I the sort to make that sort of s**t up?” Jon asked.

    “Just double checking. He might actually be good help to me,” Steven explained.

    As the pair dried themselves and got dressed, they went back to the arena, where Dylan was waiting, before Steven turned off the lights, and the trio made their way back outside the gym, as Steven locked the door.

    “We getting a beer tonight?” Steven asked.

    “You and I can, Dylan can have a lemonade,” Jon replied.

    “Good. I will be five minutes late to the bar. Gotta stop by home,” Steven explained.

    “What, did you leave your ID at home?” Jon asked. “I don’t think you’re young enough for that to be an issue any more…”

    “You’ll see when I get there, smarta**...” Steven retorted as he climbed into his car, Dylan surprised at how humble it was. It looked new, however wasn’t a fancy make or model, one that a lot of people in Mossdeep drove.

    As Jon and Dylan drove to the bar, Jon began to speak up.

    “Anything from that battle stick out to you?” Jon asked. “No right or wrong answers, just curious. Alyssa occasionally would come, before Amelia was born, but she would always analyse it like a reporter.”

    Dylan thought for a second, and considered saying no, before remembering something.

    “Were you holding back at all?” Dylan asked. “With Nidoking and Latios?”

    Jon began to laugh, as he continued driving, turning down a side street.

    “Good pick. I was, but I had to. Steven’s win was a legitimate win regardless,” Jon explained. “Since Latios did a bunch of damage to the S.S. Wishmaker, my insurance company is most likely keeping a really close eye on me. Even though I paid that damage out in full, if I end up causing too much damage and have to make a claim with them, they will probably cancel my policy. So with these two Pokemon in particular, I really need to be careful. Give the insurance company a bit of time to think Latios has gotten better, maybe even a publicity stunt or two.”

    The pair arrived at the bar, where Jon bought himself and Steven a beer, and a lemonade for Dylan, before finding themselves a booth, with Steven arriving a few minutes later.

    “About time,” Jon said jokingly, passing him a beer. “What was so important you had to duck home?”

    “This,” Steven said, pulling a Pokeball out of his pocket, handing it to Dylan, who took it, seeming a little confused. “I had to deregister the Pokeball from my name.”

    Dylan looked at the Pokeball, as Steven gestured to him to open it. As he pressed the button a light appeared, as a two foot tall Pokemon with a silver body, and three gold claws on the bottom of it materialized, hovering above the table. It had a singular red eye that looked around the room in confusion.

    “Goddamn…” Jon said, moving around the table to look at the Pokemon, though Dylan wasn’t sure what it was.

    “This is a Beldum, one of my favorite Pokemon, but also, this Beldum is a shiny variant. A Pokemon with different coloring,” Steven explained. “A bit above one in eight thousand born are shiny.”

    “And you want me to have it?” Dylan asked, equally surprised as Jon. “Why?”

    “Beldum are an endangered species. They struggle to breed in the wild, and are one of the few that find it easier to reproduce in captivity, so I am involved with a group who breed them to release to the wild,” Steven explained. “Unfortunately they are also somewhat difficult Pokemon to raise, being so unique. My worry with this one is that if I release it into the wild, a trainer will catch it for no other reason than it is shiny, and therefore rare, and it will not be raised right. But Jon has spoken highly of your ability to raise Pokemon, and I have been trying to find the right trainer to take Beldum on.”

    “Goddamn…” Jon said again, shocked at Steven’s generosity, and at the fact that one somewhat offhand comment was enough to have him do this.

    “Thank you,” Dylan said, as he returned Beldum to its Pokeball. “I will do my best.”

    “I have got some documents I wrote up based on my own research on how to best raise Beldum,” Steven explained. “I will bring it by when Jon finally invites me to come meet everyone else…”

    “Hint taken,” Jon retorted. “I will make a point of getting you in soon, once this bet is out of the way…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    The next day, all the students were in their Pokemon knowledge class where Jon was discussing different Pokemon families, their typing and their abilities. He had mentioned there were three hundred and seventy six evolutionary families, with each class trying to cover ten or so each. Jon would only really gloss over these Pokemon, with the expectation that the students would be doing more in depth research before and after classes. This session was a group of Pokemon native to Kanto, however a fair few of these families had regional variants in Alola and Galar, meaning Jon had to glaze over them even more to keep up to schedule, with there being more reading for the students after class.

    Charlotte, Abbee and Dylan were paying attention, whilst Chris and Justin were in their usual back seat, doing their own thing. Justin was watching video replays of double battles on his phone, whilst Chris had his guide to Hoenn inside his Pokemon Encyclopedia, reading about the areas nearby, trying to find somewhere close where he could train.

    The classes for the day ended, giving lunch break before Jon’s private sessions with Dylan, then Justin. Dylan and Justin stood outside the lodge, Dylan having been reading inside the common room, before coming out for fresh air, as they discussed the battle that awaited tomorrow.

    “So you won’t watch over the practise?” Justin asked Chris. “You might pick something up?”

    “No, I will go train on my own,” Chris replied. “I found a place nearby where it would be good to train before tomorrow. Actually really good for my team.”

    “Where?” Justin asked.

    “Shoal Cave,” Chris explained. “It’s about a hundred meters from the beach of Mossdeep and has lots of ice types, which most of my team struggles to deal with. If I can get my Pokemon a little more resistant to them, that’s one less thing they can use against us…”

    “So what should I do?”

    “Keep Jon off my back,” Chris explained. “He will be p**sed if he finds out I left on my own…”

    “Easy,” Justin replied. “He shouldn’t have any reason to think anything’s happening during training anyway. When will you be back?”

    “In time for dinner,” Chris said. “If I don’t get caught and this works out well, it could be a good spot to train long term.”

    They were interrupted as Dylan made his way over.

    “Jon’s ready for you now,” He said to Justin.

    “What, are you his secretary?” Chris asked, though Dylan didn’t seem to care too much.

    “Do what you want. It’s you going on the date…” Dylan retorted, shocking both of them, seeing as he had hardly said a word outside of answering questions the entire time. He walked into the lodge, leaving the pair of them in disbelief before Justin made his way towards the arena, and Chris made his way towards the gate.

    Dylan made his way into the lounge, noticing Chris’ Hoenn Guidebook on the coffee table there. He peeked at the page it was open to, noticing it was Shoal Cave, before heading upstairs to his room. As he looked out the window, he noticed a lone figure heading down the path towards the front gate. Chris…

    Remembering what Jon had told them, about not leaving the Academy on their own, he quickly left the room, making his way downstairs and back out of the lodge, running towards the battling pitch, where he found Jon and Justin, both with Pokemon on the field.

    Jon noticed Dylan running over, before holding up his hand, gesturing to halt the battle, as Dylan spoke up.

    “I don’t know if it’s a huge deal, but Chris just left on his own,” Dylan said, causing Justin to scowl.

    “Goddamn snitch,” Justin thought to himself.

    “Any idea where he is going?” Jon asked, irritably.

    “I have a hunch…” Dylan said. “But it’s not good...”

    “Where?” Jon asked.

    “Shoal Cave,” Dylan said solemnly. “He has been reading this Hoenn Guidebook all week, and I found it open in the common area on the page for Shoal Cave.”

    “F**king hell!” Jon shouted, as he called back his Pokemon. “What was he wearing?”

    “Shorts and a singlet…” Dylan said. “I think he was going to swim there…”

    “Then we’d better hope the timing is right…”

    “What’s so bad about Shoal Cave?” Justin asked, though his curious tone was not convincing enough.

    “Justin, if you know something, you need to tell me right now,” Jon explained. “Shoal Cave is dangerous, so if I think he might be going there, I’ll go try and find him, but if you can confirm he isn’t, that saves me taking a pretty massive risk…”

    “What’s so dangerous about Shoal Cave?” Justin asked.

    “You can only get in when the tide is low, but it changes nearly randomly. When it goes up, it traps you in,” Dylan explained. “Everybody who lives here knows to only go there if you really have to, and to be prepared for cold. Fire types and warm clothes. Otherwise, when the tide is high, all the cold from the ice-types gets trapped in there by the water. His clothes will be wet from the swim there, and his Charizard’s flame won’t survive the cold for too long when the tide comes in, even in summer…”

    “If he gets stuck in there by the tide, he has hours if he is lucky before he will freeze to death,” Jon said. “So you need to tell me right now, do you know where he is going? Because if he is there, and I don’t get to him soon, I will be bringing back a corpse...”

    Justin froze at the thought of Chris dying in that cave, cold and alone.

    “He went there,” Justin said. “He thought if he could help get his Pokemon more resistant to the cold, it could help us tomorrow...”

    “F**k…” Jon muttered, as he began running towards his cottage. “Dylan, Justin, get everyone in the lodge, and don’t let them leave until I return. For the love of God, don’t let them try and follow me.”

    Jon ran to the house, grabbing as many jumpers and winter jackets as he could fit in his gym bag, before changing into warm clothes and gumboots, and sending Steven a message. The house was empty, with Alyssa bringing Amelia with her to visit a friend that afternoon in Lilycove.

    “One of the boys snuck off to Shoal Cave on his own without letting me know. I’m going to go get him, but if I am not back by sunset, send a search party for us.”

    Jon pocketed his phone, before making one last stop. In his bedroom, he pried up a loose floorboard, revealing a cavity, inside of which sat a jet-black Pokeball. Rayquaza was contained in that Pokeball, and whilst Jon wasn’t ready to release it yet, he had enough faith that if he needed a Pokemon to blow the roof off of the cave to let them out, Rayquaza could do it.

    Once he was ready, he went into the yard, letting out Latios.

    “No time to explain, just fly west and read my thoughts,” Jon said, as Latios sensed his panic. He climbed onto the Eon Pokemon’s back, who flew east as fast as he could without injuring Jon from the G-Forces, as they made their way to Shoal Cave.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    The Eon Academy had a quick trail that led to the Mossdeep beach, where Chris had let out his Kingdra. He waded into the water, before holding onto Kindra, and directing it where to pull him. It didn’t take long for the cave to appear, as Kingdra led him into the mouth of the cave. Once he was in the entrance and on solid ground, he had Charizard come out, and light a fire to dry his clothes with, knowing the ice types in here would probably make the cave a little chilly. Once he was satisfied, he found a nearby rock, before making his way into the cave with Charizard, whose flaming tail was lighting the way. When they made it to the first intersection, Chris used the rock to scratch an arrow on the wall, pointing towards the exit, as they continued in. After a few minutes, they found themselves in a large open room, with frozen stalagmites, and various ice type Pokemon, all looking at Chris with curiosity. A pool of icy water circled the edge of the cavern, seeming to surround them.

    Knowing his Gabite had the most weakness to ice, he sent it out, before commanding it to attack a nearby Snorut. Whilst he didn’t want to do any permanent harm, he knew wild Pokemon tended to heal from basic injuries quickly, and were capable of defending themselves, so figured this practise battle would be beneficial for the Dragon and Ground type Pokemon.

    Gabite quickly had the Pokemon fleeing, before turning to the next Pokemon, a Spheal, and engaging that Pokemon.

    It wasn’t long before the cavern was empty of Pokemon, and Gabite was starting to show signs of fatigue, but was still willing to keep battling. And Chris was ready to move out, before feeling a cold sensation in his feet.

    As they had battled, the water level from the entrance had risen slowly, starting to submerge Chris’ bare feet. He darted forward, realizing that the water level had risen, before making his way to higher ground, closer to the half-circle of water on the edge of the cavern.

    “S**t…” Chris muttered, seeing the water slowly rise. Charizard looked at Chris in concern, as they both felt the temperature start to drop significantly. It would take a lot more energy for Charizard to keep his tail-flame burning in this cold, and if that went out, Charizard would die. Chris quickly called it back to its Pokeball, now finding himself in darkness. He pulled his phone from his pocket, finding it had no signal, but using it for light, the pitiful torch on it hardly doing anything beyond reflecting off the rising water.

    Gabite looked at him concerned, as Chris readied its Pokeball to return it, before they heard a noise from the water surrounding them. A Pokemon cry.

    They hesitated for a second, before there was a crash of water, and a large Pokemon leapt from the nearby pool. Whilst it was too dark for Chris to identify it on sight, he recognized the sound from Dylan and Abbee’s battle earlier that week. Walrein.

    The Walrein leapt at him, being caught at the last moment by Gabite, and thrown away, though the attack itself took a lot from Gabite. Gabite lunged forward, trying to get the advantage on the Pokemon, landing a hit, before taking one even worse from the wild Pokemon. Gabite launched another slash attack, luckily landing a critical strike, however couldn’t keep it up for long. All the moves that made Gabite a powerhouse in battle did little to deter these wild Pokemon.

    As Gabite forced the Walrein back again, there was another crash as another emerged from the water to the right, with Gabite grabbing the first as it launched another attack, and attempting to ram it into the second, with little reward. It rushed forward, using all its strength to attempt to pin both Pokemon to the wall, keeping them away from its trainer, taking attacks from the both of them in the process. Chris held out Gabite’s Pokeball, calling out. Gabite roared out in response, seeming to tell Chris to stop, knowing if it got called back, there would be nothing to stop the two wild Pokemon from attacking its trainer…

    Gabite took another attack, before roaring again, this time more determined. There was suddenly a flash of blinding light from the Pokemon, as it began to glow…

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    “F**king hell!” Jon yelled, as he and Latios found the small entrance to Shoal Cave, seeing it submerged. Whilst he could attempt to swim through, there were little to no spots to surface for air, and the cold water inside the cave would kill him before the lack of air would.

    “Latios, I hate to ask this, but I need you to listen very carefully,” Jon said.

    “We’re going in, aren’t we?” Latios asked.

    “We are,” Jon said. “I have a plan, but it is asking a lot from you.”

    Jon explained what he had in mind, as they descended to near the cave. Whilst the entrance had a little bit of water in it when Chris arrived, it actually sat on a sandbar, and when the tide was at its lowest, one could walk through on solid ground into the cave.

    Latios used its telekinesis to part the water near the entrance, creating a space just large enough for himself and Jon to descend into, before adjusting the barriers, keeping the duo in a bubble, as they walked along the sandbar. Once they were on solid ground, Jon let out Blaziken, who readied a fire punch, for the sole purpose of keeping flames nearby to warm the trio. Whilst the cold air was bearable for Jon the way he was dressed, Latios was feeling the cold the most, and Blaziken needed to focus on keeping him warm if they were going to make it out alive.

    The trio quickly but carefully made their way through the cold water, with Latios focusing on keeping them dry. As they walked, Jon hoped and prayed they weren’t too late. If they got stuck in there, Jon could probably survive until the tide goes down, however if Chris had started to succumb to the cold already, it may be too late...

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    Gabite was encased in light, as it began to grow. Chris stood in awe as the struggle it faced to hold the two Pokemon back began to dwindle, and it found its second wind. The two Pokemon cried out, however Garchomp held the jaw of the one closest to it away from it, and positioned it to block the other.

    “Great jo-” Chris began to say, before finding it difficult to find the words. Suddenly his vision began to blur, as he felt light on his feet.

    Garchomp looked back to see what was going on, as the two Pokemon it held back took the opportunity to force themselves out of its grip. Chris fell to the ground, slowly feeling the call of sleep as a third Walrein leapt out of the water to join in the battle, while Chris’ vision went black…

    Jon could hear the sounds of a fight faintly through the water that encased them, causing Latios to pick up the pace, with the rush now letting the odd drop of cold water hit them. When they finally emerged, they saw Chris lying unconscious on the ground, as his newly evolved Garchomp was fending off three wild Walrein. Jon could hear what they said amongst their cries, one of the perks of being turned to and from a Pokemon.

    “Invader! How dare you enter our home and attack us!”

    “Go help Garchomp!” Jon shouted at Latios, as Blaziken began holding its flames near Chris, trying to warm him up, as Jon began putting warm clothes on him. There was a boom as Latios let off a telekinetic blast, pushing two away, before his eyes glowed, and the third was lifted by its neck into the air.

    “I know he is an invader, but we want to leave!” Jon shouted. “If you don’t let me speak, Latios will snap your friends neck!”

    The Pokemon halted, shocked that Jon had understood, with Garchomp seeming the most shocked.

    “You can understand us?” Garchomp asked.

    “I have my secrets,” Jon said, before turning to the two Walrein, that growled at him for holding their friend hostage.

    “How dare you come here and threaten us!” The two Pokemon shouted back.

    “I have come to take this one home,” Jon replied. “I want this to end with nobody being hurt, but you need to give me that chance. If I came here only wanting a fight, your friend would already be dead…”

    The two Pokemon were silent, as the one being held by Latios spoke up with a choked cry.

    “Do what he says. Return to the water and give them the chance to leave,” It said. “If they don’t then we are just as damned as if they decide to kill us now…”

    The two Pokemon growled, before returning to the pool of water, once they were gone, Latios dropped the one it was holding in place, which quickly rushed to the pool, leaving them in silence.

    “Garchomp, if I am going to get him out of here, I need to put you in the Pokeball,” Jon said, grabbing the Pokeball that lay on the ground next to Chris, barely illuminated by Blaziken’s flames.

    “If you must,” Garchomp responded with a solemn nod. “Just save him.”

    Jon pressed the button on the Pokeball calling Garchomp back, before placing his hand over Chris’ forehead. Whilst he was starting to stir a little, he was still not awake, and Blaziken couldn’t keep them warm much longer.

    “Latios, keep us from being crushed by debris,” Jon said. “Blaziken, just keep warming him up.”

    Jon grabbed the black Pokeball from his belt, before pressing the button. There was a bright light as a giant green serpentine Pokemon emerged, staring down the two trainers, barely fitting in the cavern.

    “Why do you summon me in such a small, cold space?” Rayquaza asked. “Why not that quiet island you usually take me to?”

    “Because we are stuck in here, and the only way he will live, is if you can create an exit for us,” Jon pleaded, hoping that Rayquaza would not object to being used as a demolition tool.

    “This human is in danger?”

    “If nothing changes soon, he will die here!”

    Rayquaza locked eyes with Jon, before speaking again.

    “What must I do?”

    “The ceiling,” Jon explained. “I need you to create an exit.”

    Rayquaza nodded, before positioning itself so it was facing the ceiling, as it opened its jaws. A familiar white light sparked to life between them, growing to the size of an exercise ball, before being launched into an even wider beam of light, blasting through the ceiling, revealing the twilight sky. Debris fell from above, being stopped only by Latios’ barriers, and the cold air began to rush out of the cave.

    Chris began to stir, his vision blurred as he opened his eyes to see a flash of Pokeball light, bigger than any Pokemon he had ever seen in person, quickly returning to a Pokeball Jon held that was jet-black. There was crashing as debris fell around them, stopped by invisible walls, as Jon called Blaziken back to its Pokeball. He looked down and saw Chris was drifting in and out of consciousness.

    “Come on, we gotta get out of here…” Jon said, helping Chris up, and placing him on Latios’ back.

    “I’m sorry,” Chris murmured groggily, as Jon climbed onto Latios’ back.

    “Save it,” Jon said. “You aren’t out of the woods yet. Latios, get us home, now!”

    Latios cried out, as Jon’s grip around Chris tightened, and they were nearly thrown back by the force of Latios accelerating. It was a matter of minutes before they found themselves in front of the lodge. Jon opened the door, helping to carry Chris up the stairs, who was still shivering uncontrollably. The other students rushed out of the common room, before calling out.

    “Dylan, give me a hand! Charlotte, get him a warm drink, Abbee, get me as many blankets as you can find!” Jon shouted, as Dylan rushed forward, getting on Chris’ other side.

    As Jon and Dylan got to Chris’ room, they put him in his bed, with Abbee entering the room with blankets. Jon quickly did his best to remove the wet clothes Chris was wearing, placing as many blankets as he could over him, as Charlotte arrived soon after with a warm drink, that Jon started feeding Chris.

    “I’m sorry,” Chris said, as Jon cut him off.

    “Save it for when you’re better,” Jon said. “Right now, focus on drinking this, and let me know when you are starting to feel normal again.”

    Jon turned to the other three.

    “Can you guys organize dinner for yourselves tonight?” Jon asked. “I’ll stay here for the time being and keep an eye on him.”

    “Will he be alright?” Charlotte asked.

    “He should be, he just needs to warm up, but I will stay here just in case…” Jon said. “You three did well. Go get something to eat.”

    The three trainers left the room, finding Justin outside the door.

    “Is he okay?” Justin asked.

    “Jon says he should be fine, but wants to stay there just in case…” Abbee replied.

    “I can’t believe he went there…” Charlotte muttered in disbelief. “If he had read the guidebook properly, he would have seen all the danger warnings about that place...”

    “I shouldn’t have let him go,” Justin muttered to himself, as Abbee surprisingly stood forward to give him a hug.

    “It’s not your fault. You did the right thing by telling Jon,” Abbee said quietly.

    “Only when Dylan had already told him everything, and they already thought he was going there…” Justin murmured. “If Dylan hadn’t have seen him leave, he’d be dead.”

    “Don’t beat yourself up over it,” Charlotte said. “I have known him for years, and if you had told him not to go, he would have been that much more intent on going…”

    Justin was quiet, as Abbee looked at her watch.

    “Look, I can’t be a**ed cooking dinner,” Abbee said. “Should we just get a pizza? My treat.”

    “Sounds great,” Charlotte replied. Dylan was silent, though it was no surprise, it was just a change how involved he was with everyone else at the moment. Justin on the other hand nodded silently, as the four trainers went downstairs.

    After about half an hour, Abbee got the call from the delivery driver that he was at the gate. As she got up to leave, Dylan got up as well, not wanting her to walk to the gate at night by herself. As the pair walked in silence, Abbee was the first to speak.

    “Was this our fault?” Abbee asked. “Charlotte and I wound them up so much with that bet, that he went and did something dangerous to try and give himself an edge. If we had just kept our mouths shut, would things have been different?”

    Dylan was quiet for a few seconds, with Abbee thinking he had ignored her, until he finally spoke up.

    “I can’t answer that,” Dylan said. “Maybe he would have still gone there at some point to train. For some reason, he mostly has dragons, and that cave isn’t going anywhere. It could have been just a matter of time…”

    “I don’t know…” Abbee replied.

    “Look, I don’t mean to be harsh, but at the end of the day, that was his decision to go there alone and not ask Jon about it,” Dylan said, surprising Abbee with the amount he was actually talking. “I am glad he is alright, and am not saying he deserved to die for what happened, but you two didn’t force him to do anything.”

    Abbee was silent, as Dylan continued.

    “The point you were trying to make was that him and Justin needed to actually give a damn about being here and take it seriously right? They knew what you were trying to tell them, and could have done that, and stood a chance at beating you guys tomorrow, but weren’t willing to. Instead, they wanted to take shortcuts, and it bit them on the ass,” Dylan said. “Don’t blame yourself for any of this. It is not your fault in any way…”

    The pair continued to walk to the gate in silence, before Abbee finally spoke up again.

    “Thanks...”

    The pair met with the delivery driver, taking the pizza, before heading back. As they sat around the table in the dining room, quietly eating their meal, they heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Jon entered the room, looking exhausted from the rescue he had to do earlier, noticing the pizza.

    “Mind saving me a slice or two?” Jon asked, looking at the pizza hungrily.

    “Sure thing,” Abbee said, pulling the seat out next to her. “How’s he doing?”

    “A lot better. Still a bit on the cold side, but he will warm up,” Jon explained. “He is hungry so I’m gonna grab some chocolate from the kitchen. Google says that’s good for dealing with hypothermia. I’ll join you guys in a bit.”

    Jon grabbed a few chocolate bars, heading back upstairs, and entering Chris’ room, where Chris sat up, covered in blankets, and stared blankly at the wall.

    “Here, I got you some food,” Jon said, passing him a chocolate bar. “Do you feel up to feeding yourself?”

    “Yeah, I think so,” Chris said quietly, accepting the food from Jon, before opening the wrapping.

    “I’m sorry,” Chris said again. “I thought by training there I could have a better chance of winning tomorrow…”

    Jon chuckled to himself, as he sat in the chair by the desk.

    “I’ve had this place open less than a week and already nearly had a student die,” he muttered. “Twitter would love that.”

    “Well, I’m really hoping this is kept on the down-low as well,” Chris said solemnly. “My family would crucify me if this got out.”

    Somewhat confused by why they’d be worried, Jon asked.

    “Shouldn’t they be more worried about the fact you nearly died?”

    “I have a few relatives who are Gym Leaders,” Chris explained. “They don’t want bad publicity.”

    “Sounds like a loving family,” Jon retorted sarcastically, as Chris chuckled quietly.

    “Look, I will keep this between us,” Jon explained. “You will be yourself again by Sunday at the latest, and I know you aren’t stupid enough to make this mistake twice. Telling your family would raise problems when really, we have most of it sorted. You just have to convince the others to keep quiet, though I think they are too worried about you to be tweeting about it…”

    “Before I go, I’m just curious,” Jon began. “When did you wake up?”

    Chris was slightly surprised at Jon’s seemingly inconsequential question, before remembering the giant Pokemon he saw for a brief second being returned to a jetblack Pokeball. He wondered if Jon was hiding something?

    “When I was on Latios’ back, before we took off, I think,” Chris lied. “I can’t remember anything before that…”

    As Jon handed Chris the second chocolate bar, he made his way to the door.

    “I’m gonna have something to eat and head to sleep,” Jon explained. “Today’s little adventure took it out of me, so I think an early night would do me good. If you need anything, give me a call, but try and get some sleep.”

    As Jon made his way to the door, Chris called out.

    “What about the battle?” Chris asked. “Given all that’s happened are we still allowed to do it?”

    “I’ll think about it and let you know in the morning…” Jon said, as he left the room, leaving Chris to think over everything.

    Jon made his way downstairs, where the other four trainers sat around a near empty pizza box, with two slices left.

    “Thanks,” he said tiredly, before sitting down at the empty seat, digging in to what was left of the pizza.

    “So what happened after you left?” Charlotte asked, the other three curious as well, though too anxious to be the first to say it.

    “I packed a heap of warm clothes, and got changed into warm clothes myself, before having Latios fly me there,” Jon explained. “The tide had come in and the entrance was submerged, so I had Latios part the water, Exodus-style, and we walked in, with Blaziken keeping Latios warm.”

    Jon continued to eat as he explained, trying to think of a fabrication for part of the story.

    “We arrived and found Chris unconscious and his Gabite fighting off three Walrein,” Jon explained. “I think they were protecting their territory, and Gabite was barely able to stand.”

    “Goddamn…” Charlotte muttered.

    “Latios scared off the Pokemon, before Mega-Evolving and blasting a hole in the roof…” Jon lied.

    “Wait, you have a keystone and mega stone?” Abbee asked.

    “I don’t,” Jon replied. “They are simply catalysts that make Mega-Evolution easier to attain, but Pokemon can Mega-Evolve without them. It is just extremely difficult, and shouldn’t be relied on.”

    “So what would you have done if Latios wasn’t able to Mega evolve?” Justin asked.

    “Had Blaziken and Jolteon try and keep Chris warm, while Latios and Nidoking try and make an exit, or wait out the tide, but there was no guarantee it would have worked…” Jon said. Whilst he wasn’t a huge fan of lying, Rayquaza had to remain a secret, and he had only used Rayquaza because Chris would have most likely died if he didn’t. That in and of itself was a risk, though apparently Chris didn’t see anything.

    As Jon finished his pizza, he made sure that the other students weren’t too shaken up, before making his way back to the cottage to wait up for Alyssa and Amelia to return, before getting to sleep. The four trainers remained at the dinner table for the next hour, quietly talking about what had transpired, before one by one, going to their rooms, with Charlotte being the last one left.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    The next morning, Charlotte awoke at 8am, heading downstairs and was surprised to find Chris in the kitchen, standing by the bench and eating a bowl of cereal.

    “You look a heck of a lot better than last night,” Charlotte said, as she grabbed some bread from the pantry.

    “I feel it too,” Chris replied. “Never doing that again…”

    As Charlotte placed the bread in the toaster, there was an awkward silence, lingering in the room, until she finally had to speak up.

    “Look, if you want to scrap the battle and the bet, we can do that,” Charlotte explained. “I pushed for it to try and teach you a lesson, but didn’t want it to go like this…”

    “No, I made a deal, and I’ll stick to it,” Chris said quietly. “Besides, Jon may think this whole bet is more trouble than it's worth and intervene.”

    “I wouldn’t blame him…” Charlotte said, surprised to find herself in agreement.

    As the morning progressed, the others got up and came down for breakfast, including Dylan to everyone else's surprise. It was the first time he had breakfast with the others, and when questioned about it, replied quietly that he wanted to see the battle.

    At 10am, Jon arrived.

    “I had a think about the battle and the bet, and whether I should just cancel the whole damn thing,” Jon said. “Given what’s happened in the last twenty-four hours, it wouldn’t be unreasonable.”

    The students sighed, fearing the worst.

    “Luckily, I think after the last twenty four hours, we could use something a little less serious and depressing, and I am curious to see what you come out with,” Jon explained. “So the battle and the bet will go ahead!”

    Charlotte and Abbee grinned, as Justin sighed half heartedly. Once they were ready, they were walked out to the battling pitch, where Jon had each of the pairs stand on one side of the field each.

    “Each trainer gets a single Pokemon, meaning that once a Pokemon is out, that trainer is eliminated,” Jon explained. “Once a team has no Pokemon left, they have lost. Get creative, and make sure to learn something from this, if nothing else.”

    All the trainers selected a Pokeball, however waited for the signal to let the Pokemon out, as was customary in the Eon Academy. When Jon gave the signal, all four Pokemon were let out of their Pokeballs. Charlotte had opened with her Roserade, with Abbee sending out a Typhlosion. Meanwhile Justin had sent out his Lucario, and the real shock for everyone was when Chris sent out Garchomp.

    “Oh, did I forget to tell you Chris’ Gabite evolved?” Jon called out, feigning ignorance. “My bad! Now begin!”

    Charlotte called out for Roserade to use Grassy Terrain, causing long glowing green grass to bloom all over the battlefield, whilst Abbee called Typhlosion to use Smokescreen, spewing black smoke onto the field making it near impossible to see. Both Lucario and Garchomp launched attacks, missing in the dense cloud of smoke.

    “Now use Swagger!” Abbee called out, as Typhlosion cried out antagonistically. Jon watched as the two trainers waited to hear which Pokemon would respond to it, indicating it was affected, and were shocked to hear the response come from Roserade…

    “Abbee! What did you do that for?” Charlotte said angrily, before trying to call out to Roserade amongst the black smoke.

    During the moment of chaos, both Garchomp and Lucario leapt into action, taking aim at Typhlosion whilst Roserade was more or less incapacitated. Lucario landed a Force Palm, whilst Garchomp just missed landing a Dragon Claw on Typhlosion, who retaliated with a Flame Charge on Garchomp, hitting it directly, before gaining speed, ducking behind the two Pokemon to try and avoid another onslaught of attacks.

    “Goddamn it Abbee!” Charlotte called out. “I told you not to use moves like that when it could hit Roserade!”

    “I’m sorry!” Abbee replied. “Typhlosion, use Double Team!”

    Typhlosion began to separate into multiple copies, with only one being the real one, making it even harder to hit, as both the boys Pokemon failed to land another hit, whilst Roserade didn’t make any sort of move from the smoke, still seemingly incapacitated.

    As Typhlosion landed a hit on Lucario, Garchomp took the opportunity to launch itself at it, managing to hit it Typhlosion who got knocked back.

    “Protect!” Abbee shouted desperately.

    “I can’t believe we are going to lose this…” Charlotte said to herself.

    Jon found himself quite shocked at the scene he saw in front of him. He had thought Chris and Justin stood no chance, however one mistake in teamwork early on in Abbee and Charlotte’s plan had left the whole battle as a scene of chaos, with no rhyme or reason. Typhlosion took another hit, being knocked back to its starting position, before standing up again weakly as the smoke cleared, revealing Roserade, still confused, teetering around on the spot.

    “Goddamn it…” Charlotte muttered, as Chris saw the opening.

    “Hit it with Dragon Claw!”

    Garchomp rushed forward, launching itself into Roserade with its claws raised. However, right as Garchomp made contact, Roserade vanished, revealing itself to be a substitute, as there was a burst of green light from underneath, and a leech seed placed there earlier erupted into thorny vines, grabbing Garchomp. Lucario began looking around for Roserade, seeing the long grass they were in moving to Garchomp’s left, before rushing towards that. There was a loud crack as a powerful vine smacked into Lucario, knocking it back, just in time for Typhlosion to land a powerful Flare Blitz attack on Lucario, knocking it down and out.

    “I think we deserve an Oscar for that performance,” Charlotte called out happily, as Jon realized what had happened. Roserade stood the best chance out of the two of them of beating Garchomp but needed time to power up, however if it had used Sword’s Dance, it would have had a massive target on its back. The girls intentionally had Typhlosion use Swagger on it, not to confuse it, though that was the cost, but to give it a power boost without tipping off their opponents. Meanwhile Typhlosion was buying time, and letting them think they could leave Roserade alone whilst Roserade set up the traps. The smokescreen served the double purpose of taking the attention off Roserade, and making Typhlosion harder to hit. This whole plan was one they only decided to enact at a moment’s notice. Jon was impressed.

    “Power Whip!” Charlotte called out, as the buffed Grass Type launched thick vines towards the restrained Dragon, hitting it hard and knocking it out.

    “Garchomp and Lucario are unable to battle!” Jon called out. “Charlotte and Abbee win the match.”

    Abbee cheered, as she and Charlotte returned their Pokemon, Charlotte unable to hide the grin from her face.

    “I gotta admit, you sending out a Garchomp was the one thing we hadn’t planned for…” Charlotte said. “Silly really, it’s been a Gabite as long as I remember. Only a matter of time before it evolved.”

    “You guys earnt the win,” Chris replied. “I gotta get my act together if I want to catch up. But don’t worry, I will…”

    “Now I believe there was a bet arranged…” Charlotte retorted mischievously, which caused Justin to groan in response.

    “Let’s get this over with, just give me the damn dress already,” Justin said half-jokingly.

    “Hey, don’t get it all out of the way now!” Abbee called out, feigning sadness. “We have a nice romantic evening planned for the two of you, don’t we Charlotte?”

    “Oh definitely!” Charlotte said. “First, dinner one of the fanciest places in Mossdeep, then a trip to the rollerblading rink.”

    Chris rolled his eyes at the duo as Abbee continued.

    “But that’s not all, because Justin is a classy lady, and isn’t easy,” Abbee continued, struggling not to laugh. “After that, a salsa dance class, and finishing off the night with a nice romantic walk down the pier…”

    Chris groaned, as Justin had a realization.

    “You’ve prepaid all this haven’t you?”

    “Yeah,” Charlotte said. “We figured we won’t get this opportunity again, so decided to go all out…”

    “And how fancy is this restaurant?” Justin asked.

    “Fancier than anywhere you’ve ever eaten…” Charlotte replied.

    “So what you’re telling me is that Chris and I get a free night on the town, and all I have to do is wear a dress and a wig…”

    “Yeah…” Abbee said, starting to realize how shameless Justin really was.

    “This sounds like a win…” Justin replied happily, as Chris realized just how badly this bet had turned out.

    “Justin, you’re making me wish Jon had left me in the goddamn cave...”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; Yesterday at 08:01 AM.

  3. #13
    Hidden in Shadows Neo Emolga's Avatar
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    Ha ha, that last line is the perfect finisher to that chapter. XD

    Very good stuff, it's hard to predict how these bets and engagements are going to go, but it does make it great for a very interesting read. One minute, I think things are going to go one way and they end up going another the next.

  4. #14
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    A shorter episode!

    Episode 3: Blood Ties
    Spoiler:

    “Check this one out…” Abbee said to Charlotte, before swiping across on her phone, and gesturing to Dylan. “You check it out too!”

    Dylan made his way to the front table of the classroom where the two girls sat, looking at Abbee’s phone. On it was a photo of Chris dancing with Justin, who wore a short dress and black wig, with everyone else in the dance class staring at them. Chris wore a scowl, as Justin just tried to enjoy himself, before Abbee flicked to the next photo, where Chris was holding up his middle finger to the camera.

    Charlotte burst into laughter. Whilst she really wanted to follow them for the date, she had been exhausted from the days prior, training to win the battle, and when Abbee volunteered to tail them and get photos, Charlotte was willing to give it a miss and get some sleep.

    It was the Monday of the second week, and so far they had already had one class for the day. Whilst their tactics and strategy class was supposed to last until 10am, Jon had cut it short at 9:45, saying that their Raising Pokemon Class would begin at 10. He left the room, saying they had a guest tutor, and he needed to fetch him from the gate. As soon as he left, Chris and Justin, who had both been early for that morning's class, much to everyone's shock, had run back to the lodge to get some food, leaving Charlotte and Abbee, who tried to include Dylan, betting on whether they would make it back on time.

    “We’re back!” called out Justin, as he panted into the room, hunched over. The clock on the wall read 9:57am, as Charlotte looked at Justin, and Chris who had also just entered the room, surprised.

    “Who are you and what have you done with Chris?” Charlotte asked, as the pair found their seats, and Dylan made his way back to his own.

    “I am sick of you beating me,” Chris said with a grin. “No more. If you’re gonna beat me again, I’m gonna make sure you work your a** off to do it.”

    “Don’t flatter yourself yet,” Charlotte retorted. “You still have catching up to do…”

    Before they could go any further, Jon entered the room, followed by someone that all of the trainers recognized.

    Steven Stone.

    Jon and Steven made their way to the front of the room, as Steven noticed Dylan.

    “Dylan! I’m glad to see you,” Steven said, making his way to Dylan’s desk, producing a flash drive from his pocket. “I compiled all my resources on taking care of Beldum for you.”

    “Wait, you two know each other?” Justin asked.

    “You have a Beldum?” Chris asked, knowing that its final form, Metagross was on the same level of power as most Pseudo-Legendary Dragon Types.

    “Jon let me come along to his training session with Steven last week,” Dylan mumbled, before thanking Steven for the flashdrive.

    “Mad invite,” Justin said sarcastically, causing Jon to laugh.

    “The rest of you were otherwise occupied, if you don’t remember, or do I need to get those pictures from Abbee?” Jon asked, as Abbee chuckled at the implication while the other three students all started to see. “Steven had a Beldum that wouldn’t have done too well in the wild, and thought Dylan might be a good fit.”

    “Do you have Beldum with you?” Steven asked enthusiastically.

    “Yeah, do you want to see it?” Dylan replied.

    Steven nodded enthusiastically, as Dylan looked on his belt for the right Pokeball, and let out Beldum, who began levitating about the table, humming happily.

    “Wait, that’s not a normal Beldum,” Chris said.

    “That’s why you didn’t release it to the wild?” Charlotte asked. “You didn’t want any shiny hunters targeting it?”

    “Exactly,” Steven said, as he looked over Beldum. “You’ve had it half a week, and it is already looking shinier than ever. How did you do that?”

    “I noticed the odd bit of powdered steel falling from it, kind of like Pokemon that shed their skin,” Dylan explained. “So I got a very mild cut and polish compound, and tested it on a small area on its back. It didn’t seem to mind, so I used it all over him, and he seems pretty happy.”

    “That’s exactly how you do it,” Steven said happily. “It took me weeks to figure that out. You really do have a knack for this.”

    “Anyway…” Jon said loudly from the front, conscious of time.

    “Sorry,” Steven said with a grin, before making his way next to Jon.

    “Introductions seem redundant, but for good measure, this is Steven Stone, Champion of Hoenn, and Interim Champion of Kanto,” Jon explained. “He has been pestering me since you arrived to introduce you all to him, so figured instead of today's plan, we will do a bit of a Q&A session.”

    “Feel free to ask anything,” Steven explained. “I’m just glad to be here.”

    A smirk emerged on Justin’s face as his hand shot up.

    “No Justin,” Jon interjected.

    “I didn’t even-”

    “You don’t need to,” Jon replied. “I know what that look means, and it means nothing good.”

    Chris began laughing, as Charlotte put her hand up.

    “Jon mentioned you’re a local here, but how does that work with the Elite Four in Ever Grande City?” Charlotte asked. “Don’t you need to be on site to face challengers?”

    “Good question,” Steven replied. “What’s your name?”

    “Charlotte. Charlotte Jones.”

    “So there are a lot of misconceptions about the Elite Four and Champion Challenges. The first is that by simply beating the Elite Four and then myself one takes my title, but it isn’t like that. The role of Regional Champion is more than just a title, and has implications in government. Someone can come beat me and be a Hoenn Champion, but I will remain the Hoenn Champion until I am stood down or decide to retire. That’s why the Diamond Ladies didn’t ever have the authority I held, even after they supposedly beat me,” Steven explained. “Another misconception is how frequently people actually challenge me in a title match. Travelling Hoenn for the eight badges needed is an endeavour that usually takes weeks, if not months to do, and reaching Ever Grande City, and crossing through Victory Road is a feat on its own.”

    “The League monitors how many badges trainers have, and once a trainer has eight badges, I get notified, and at that point, I try to make sure I keep my schedule free in case I need to get to Ever Grande City for a challenge. Once I hear they have reached Victory Road, that’s when I made a point of heading there, but even then, that happens two to four times a year at most,” Steven explained.

    “Wait, Jon told us that when you and him train, there is a 60/40 split his way for wins. But the reason he doesn’t formally challenge you is because he doesn’t want the responsibility of being Champion,” Abbee piped up. “Was he under a misconception? Abbee Strauss, by the way.”

    “You’re Richard’s daughter aren’t you? I’m surprised you're spending your summer here. And did Jon really say that?” Steven asked with a grin.

    “He is somewhat right, but he left out a bit of bureaucracy,” Steven explained. “Should I step down as champion, I be stood down, or something happens to me, the first people the League will consider as my replacement will be current Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and also those who have beaten me in recent years. If I am standing down of my own accord, I could recommend someone as well, and they would stand a decent chance.”

    “I don’t even want to be considered at this point,” Jon explained. “Steven has a knack for pulling me into situations I didn’t necessarily want to be in, and I figure if beating him on the books makes me officially eligible, I don’t want him to have the option to recommend me.”

    “That being said, my recommendation may not be enough for Jon anyway,” Steven laughed. “He definitely has what it takes in terms of his battling abilities and the work he has helped the League do, but there is a bit of finesse in the public relations department that is needed for the role, that Jon tends to lack.”

    “Alyssa made that very clear when she taught us,” Justin called out, causing most people in the room to laugh, whilst Jon proceeded to flip Steven off.

    “In all seriousness, I do hope Jon has a change of heart about it,” Steven said. “I met him about seven or eight years ago when I recruited him to help with an operation I was running in a tournament, and since then he has proven his worth to the League, even during the incident on the S.S. Wishmaker last year. If he wanted the job, I think he could be a great Champion.”

    “Maybe when I’ve grown up a bit,” Jon retorted.

    “So what does the Champion do if they only have a few official challenges a year?” Chris asked, curious to see how Steven would answer this question. “Chris Kingswood.”

    There was a flash of recognition in Steven’s eyes as he answered.

    “Nice to meet you Chris,” Steven replied. “A lot really. Generally speaking, it is my role to oversee any affairs of a region that affects the Pokemon Battling Industry. That can be anything from making sure Gym Leaders are difficult enough to pose a challenge, but not too difficult that they are creating a bottleneck in the League Challenge, making sure that wild Pokemon are not being mistreated in the name of battling, or even trying to make sure that contraband like performance enhancing drugs, or bootleg Pokeballs are not being spread, tracking them down and stamping the production of them out. The champion needs to be a jack of all trades, and master of all as well.”

    The class continued, with people sticking their hand up to ask questions, even Dylan asking the odd one here and there, and Jon occasionally chiming in, until Charlotte asked a question that shifted the tone of the discussion.

    “Is it challenging, now overseeing another region under such circumstances?”

    Steven’s expression shifted, as he thought for a moment on what to say, before finally speaking up.

    “I guess that there is no harm in being open about this, since Lance was tried and put in prison, and the Ladies have been gone for a while…” Steven explained, as Jon nodded.

    “I have been Hoenn Champion for nearly ten years now. I got the role when I was twenty-two, and at that point, Lance had been champion for three years already, and back then, Lance honestly was a good Champion. A little rash at times, but he did care about what he stood for,” Steven explained. “But over time, he changed. He was probably one of the hardest Champions to beat, and had challengers from two separate regions coming for him, where he managed to remain undefeated for years. It was an impressive feat, but that sort of pressure isn’t healthy.”

    Chris’ stomach sunk a little, hearing this story from someone who was probably in the closest position.

    “At some point, Lance started to care more about keeping his legendary image intact, than his responsibilities as a Champion, and began neglecting them,” Steven explained. “So coming into his role in an interim position is tricky, especially given there is years of neglect in Kanto that we weren’t aware of, and are now having to fix, in a region that doesn’t want to change because they were ignorantly happy with the way things were. And now I have come in, not even as a permanent replacement, which is really difficult to find given not many people have defeated Lance during his time as Champion, and a lot of the Gyms in Kanto and Johto do need a lot of work, and people don’t want me to change what they are so comfortable with.”

    “So you think it was the pressure that Lance put on himself that caused him to snap?” Justin asked. “To maintain the image he had?”

    “It was a pretty massive factor in it, but his pride was what really did it,” Steven explained.

    “How so?”

    “Think of it this way,” Jon said interjecting, “What do you base your self worth off?”

    The class murmured slightly, confused by the sudden philosophical question.

    “I’ve heard it discussed in religious circumstances. If you place your self worth in things such as your own skills, abilities, reputation, and those things are shaken, so is your self worth. I’m not religious myself, so I won’t go and start preaching, but I do think that needs to be considered,” Jon explained. “Lance was a proud person, and sure, with his record over not just one, but two regions, he had earned that. But he placed his own self image in this record and reputation that he held, and when he was beaten by a nineteen year old girl out of nowhere, and his reputation was shaken, so was his self image.”

    “But instead of taking this as a chance to try and reassess things, he became bitter and fixated on it,” Steven explained. “I take it you all saw the video of Jon and Lance on the S.S. Wishmaker?”

    The class nodded quietly. The video footage had down the rounds in the months earlier, however most copies online had the audio stripped from it, and even they got taken down during Lance’s trial and in the aftermath of the Diamond Ladies being killed in an arson attack.

    “Jon was one of the operatives who apprehended the Diamond Ladies, however, he proposed a plan to myself, Cynthia and Lance who were overseeing the operation that Lance didn’t agree with…”

    “What sort of plan?” Chris asked, only hearing this for the first time.

    “How many of you have competed since this incident in an official tournament?” Jon asked, as Chris, Abbee and Charlotte put their hands up.

    “What has changed since then, in the wake of witchcraft being made public?”

    Charlotte took a few seconds to think.

    “We are now searched like in the airport as we enter the arena, and by signing up for a tournament, we have to allow the League to request our internet providers to flag any searches that may indicate we are researching Witchcraft,” Charlotte explained. “There are now cameras on all angles facing outward from the field, trying to catch out spectators interfering.”

    “By the time I proposed this plan, people had seen Violet and Jarena turn each other into Pokemon, but it being witchcraft still seemed unbelievable at the time. So I wanted to take advantage of that,” Jon said. “I knew that if it became public that witchcraft was real, and the Diamond Ladies had used it to cheat their way into all the fame and fortune they could ever want, copycats would show up, and the League would have to act in extreme ways to prevent it. So I had an idea to cover it up.”

    “I was going to make sure to battle Cassandra in the final round, and during that, send out a Zoroark, who would accidentally create an illusion of what everyone saw Violet and Jarena do that afternoon.”

    The class was silent, until Chris realized where Jon was going with it.

    “You were going to take the hit…” Chris said.

    “Yes. I was going to create a story that was more believable than there being witchcraft involved, to make it an open and shut case, and try and limit anyone else trying to do the same thing,” Jon said.

    “But that would have destroyed your reputation?” Abbee explained. “You wouldn’t have ever been able to compete again, or open the Eon Academy.”

    “I was aware of that, and had a contingency plan,” Jon said. “Besides, I made sure the League would reimburse me fairly for the hit I was going to take…”

    “Cynthia and I were on board with it, but Lance wasn’t. He wanted to make an example of the Diamond Ladies, even if it meant risking this happening again, or something even worse,” Steven explained. “He was outvoted, and he told us we could do what we wanted but he wasn’t going to take the fall if this blew up in our faces.”

    “I don’t blame him, that is a pretty massive risk…” Justin said.

    “At that point though, as long as I didn’t mess up my performance with the Zoroark, the risks were pretty low. Even if it wasn’t too believable, people would still be more likely to believe that than the fact the Diamond Ladies were real witches at the time,” Jon said. “And if Lance didn’t take matters into his own hands, it might have worked. You three might not be treated like potential criminals every time you try and compete…”

    “We took Lance at his word that he wouldn’t interfere, but really he coerced a group of operatives into supporting him,” Steven explained. “He then went to the booth that Violet and Jarena were in during Cassandra’s match against Avery Miller.”

    “There was an operative near me with their radio, when Lance gave the order to tap into the surveillance of the booth. He was going to have his Dragonite kill Violet and Jarena, then frame me and Latios for it…” Jon explained. The room went silent, hearing the story first hand.

    “I sent Latios ahead to restrain the Dragonite, before dealing with Lance myself, though I did take it too far, as you all saw,” Jon explained. “The plan was to still go ahead with the cover-up, however things just got worse. Lance’s guys ended up leaking the evidence we had of the witchcraft to the media, and Cassandra wound up with someone stalking her, sending her threatening messages, when at that point, they had been cooperating with us and trying to help undo the damage they did. I even was there when Lance went on this insane tirade about killing them, and enjoying it. It got to the point where Steven and I said to them that we would like to try and cover it up, but at that point, it was putting a target on their back, so if they wanted to just cut their losses and scrap the cover up, we would respect that.”

    “And they did,” Steven explained. “They came clean, and let the truth stay out there, tried to live normal lives…”

    “And now they’re all dead…” Abbee said solemnly. “He might not have killed them himself, but considering the circumstance, he was responsible…”

    Steven nodded as Jon remained silent.

    “Hey Jon,” Chris said. “I’m still feeling a bit unwell from what happened last week… Do you mind if I go a few minutes early and get some water?”

    Jon looked at his watch, seeing it was nearly 10:50am.

    “That’s fine, it’s been a pretty heavy session,” Jon said, as Chris quickly got up and left the room.

    “Unless there are any burning questions left for Steven, we might take a break for now,” Jon said. “We have another class, before lunch, then Charlotte and Abbee have one on one training with me this afternoon.”

    Everyone seemed content, as they thanked Steven for coming, and he and Jon left. Chris returned before too long, though Charlotte noticed he didn’t seem himself. He seemed quiet, and even a little pale. While she wanted to ask him what was going on after the next class finished, he didn’t stick around long enough.

    Charlotte had lunch, before going to her one on one training with Jon, not seeing Chris again until she returned to the lodge, finding him in the common area, watching a battle highlight on his phone.

    As she walked over, she noticed the battle was one of Lance’s most recent official battles, before his imprisonment.

    “What’s up with you?” Charlotte asked. “You have hardly talked any s**t since Steven got here, and look like you’re about to lose your lunch…”

    “It’s nothing,” Chris replied irritably.

    “Bulls**t it’s nothing,” Charlotte retorted. “You look worse than when you came out of that cave last week. Don’t tell me nothing is going on. What, was Lance like your idol or something? Is that why you have so many dragon types?”

    “No.”

    “Then what?” Charlotte asked, before Chris swore to himself.

    “Not here,” Chris said, before getting up and moving towards the staircase, gesturing at Charlotte to follow her.

    He made his way down the hallway to his bedroom door, before Charlotte spoke up.

    “Jon said first day guys aren’t allowed in girls rooms, and vice versa.”

    “Do you want to know or not?” Chris barked back. “I don’t want people listening in…”

    Charlotte sighed, before following Chris in. He turned on the light, before opening one of his draws, searching through it, finally finding what he was after. A photo album.

    “I didn’t pick you as the sentimental type,” Charlotte said, as he flicked through the album.

    “Check this out. Christmas ten years ago,” Chris said. “Anyone familiar there?”

    Charlotte looked at the photo, quickly spotting a young Chris.

    “Well I see you…” She began as she looked over the other unfamiliar faces. “Is that your sister next to you? The gym lead-”

    Charlotte had known that Chris’ sister was a Gym Leader, though wasn’t really close enough to care which one she was. However after a few moments, she recognized the girl standing next to him as a young Clair of Blackthorn City.

    “Wait-” Charlotte said, scanning the photo and seeing who she was looking for.

    It was well known that Clair was the cousin of the Indigo Champion Lance, and once Charlotte saw a young Lance on the other side of the photo, she finally understood why Chris seemed to be so on edge.

    “Lance is your cousin?” Charlotte asked. “Does anybody else here know?”

    “If they do, they haven’t said anything, but I don’t think so,” Chris explained. “I think Steven recognized my name, but he didn’t say anything…”

    “Truth is, my family has been torn since last summer. Some of us, Clair included, believed Lance was in the right, and others wanted to cut all ties with him,” Chris explained. “I just never knew where to sit on it, since my family had been told all of this by Lance first hand, and it was a hell of a lot different…”

    “That’s part of the reason I came here,” Chris explained. “There are other summer camps that do something like this, but I guess I wanted to see what Jon was like, whether he was the piece of s**t that Lance had made him out to be. But given what he just said, and the fact he saved me from getting myself killed last week, it just makes this all even more confusing…”

    “So what do you think of all of this?” Charlotte asked.

    “I don’t know…” Chris replied. “Before all this, I wanted to be like Lance. And now I have family, my own sister, who want nothing to do with me unless I vouch for him, and would disown me if they knew I was here. But the more I hear about it, the less reason I have to believe that Lance is anything but what Jon and Steven said he was…”

    Charlotte handed Chris back the photo, feeling a sense of pity over him. She didn’t envy him, feeling like he was in the middle of a conflict that wasn’t even his own.

    “Look, you aren’t Lance, and you don’t have to pick one side or another. Your sister is an idiot for telling you that,” Charlotte explained. “We don’t get to choose our families, so blood doesn’t mean s**t.”

    “I wish it were that simple…” Chris said. “But once this summer is over, I still gotta go back home, and things will probably be worse at that point.”

    “Just please, don’t tell anyone,” Chris asked Charlotte, surprising her with how vulnerable he was being. “I don’t want people treating me differently because of who my family is. Least of all Jon. I only told you because I know you’ll treat me the exact same anyway.”

    “I’ll keep it between us," Charlotte said. “But really, I don’t think anyone here is that petty to treat you differently because of who your cousin is.”

    “I really hope so…”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; Yesterday at 08:17 AM.

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  6. #15
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Not my best, but was a plot point I really wanted to include, without going overboard on technicalities that probably irritate me the most, and sending the wordcount over 9000. But here is Episode 4.

    Episode 4: Retribution
    Spoiler:

    Charlotte and Dylan both sat in the classroom at 8:50am, with class due to start in the next ten minutes. Whilst the pair had no reason to be on bad terms, the room was silent. Neither of them were the sort to engage in small talk, and whilst Abbee tended to be the social butterfly who could get either of them to chat, without her there, they waited in silence.

    It was Tuesday of the second week at the Academy, didn’t take long for Abbee to arrive, saying hello to those already in the room, making her way to her usual seat with Charlotte.

    “So what did you think of what I sent you last night?” Charlotte asked Abbee. “Are you interested?”

    Abbee sighed, leaving Charlotte confused. Jon had offered for her to tag along during his next training match with Steven, as she was ahead of the class and wasn’t needing to be as direct about studying, and when she had asked if Abbee could come as well, Jon had pitched they do a double battle, one student with him and one with Steven. She thought Abbee would have loved that.

    “I’ll need you to fill me in in person,” Abbee said. “My phone has gone missing.”

    “Missing?” Charlotte asked. “How, it’s nearly glued to you…”

    “Honestly, I think Justin took it as some immature joke,” Abbee explained. “He was saying the same thing yesterday.”

    “So why don’t you go get it back?” Charlotte said.

    “I tried, but he just gave me that stupid grin and denied the whole thing,” Abbee replied, rolling her eyes. “In all honesty, it isn’t a big deal. My watch has an alarm, and if I leave it alone, the joke will get old quickly, and he will be the idiot with someone else’s phone keeping him awake all night. He can’t turn it off without the passcode, so I think I will get it back soon enough.”

    Charlotte shrugged, not the sort to let something like that play out, but also noting Abbee didn’t seem too annoyed, just a little inconvenienced, however she seemed to have a solid idea of how to go about it. Charlotte proceeded to tell Abbee about Jon’s offer for Thursday evening. As she did, Chris and Justin entered the room, with a few minutes before class was due to start, Charlotte shooting Justin a glare as he entered, and Justin grinning, feigning ignorance.

    The clock struck nine, however, to everyone’s surprise, Jon was late. This had never happened before. When it reached ten past, Chris spoke up.

    “Should we maybe go to his place?” Chris asked. “Maybe his alarm didn’t go off?”

    “Even if it didn’t, he has something more effective at waking people up than an alarm,” Abbee replied. “A newborn. I don’t think he is just sleeping in.”

    “Even so…” Chris said, as he got up from his seat, making his way to the door, before Jon entered the room, seeming a little agitated, while Chris went back to his seat.

    “Sorry I’m late,” Jon said. “Some stuff came up, and we gotta talk about that.”

    “Everything alright?” Abbee asked.

    “Not really, no,” Jon said. “I just spent the last hour on the phone to the League and the police.”

    “Wait what-” Charlotte began, not expecting this morning to take this sort of turn.

    “What happened?” Chris asked. “Did someone break in?”

    “Remember how I have worked a few League Operations in the past with Steven?” Jon asked. “We use a few different encrypted apps to communicate on missions, and last night, one of those was receiving messages from a few different contacts. They were all threats.”

    The class went silent hearing those words come from Jon.

    “It’s pretty clear the threats are from Lance, or at least in his name, but he is in prison, which means that for someone to send these threats, or for him to get the means to send them himself, he has outside help, which is what concerns me. When we were on the S.S. Wishmaker, he had operatives loyal to him more so than the League, which is why I am concerned,” Jon explained. “The League wants me to not tell you this, but the fact is that the threats involved you.”

    Jon plugged his phone into the projector mounted on the roof, and showed a couple of photos that had been sent of the gates to the Eon Academy. However as Jon scrolled through, the photos became more and more concerning. The first to raise alarm bells was a photo of Charlotte and Abbee as they sat outside a cafe in Mossdeep. Another showed Dylan through the fence, playing a game with his Duskull. The final one showed Chris and Justin on the beach, doing a workout together.

    “These photos have been sent through with the threats, alongside photos of Alyssa and Amelia. Normally I wouldn’t be concerned since if someone did want to try and hurt us, getting us on high alert would be stupid, however because it’s Lance, I am a little more worried,” Jon explained solemnly, as Chris felt his stomach drop. He knew that Lance wouldn’t be directly sending those images, as he would recognize Chris, so it was someone else, potentially one of the operatives Jon mentioned. That being said, if what Jon and Steven had said was true, and Lance was as deranged as they made him out to be, would that family tie be broken in his eyes for going to Jon’s school?

    “Why did the League want you to keep this from us?” Justin asked. “Have you told our parents?”

    “I haven’t, at the forced request of the League and the Police,” Jon explained. “Alongside the threats was information about the Eon Academy known only to the League. Stuff like grant application numbers and such. They want me to know that we can’t hide anything from them. So Steven plans on only putting on the records false information, like a false evacuation plan, and fake protective measures, to try and catch out whoever is doing this.”

    “Shouldn’t they know?” Charlotte asked.

    “I agree with you that they should, especially now that I am a parent myself,” Jon said. “And if you were anywhere else, they would be told, but for Steven’s plan to work, we can’t have information leaving this room that conflicts with what Steven is telling the league, otherwise it won’t work. Steven thinks that the safest place for you is right here, and trusts me to be able to keep you safe if anyone does attempt anything. If I had objected further, it would have been an official choke order placed on me, and I wouldn’t even be able to tell you this much, just made changes and expected you to go along blindly.”

    “So because of this, we have to change a few things about how this all runs,” Jon explained. “Firstly, nobody but me is to leave the Eon Academy Property, period.”

    “What’s the point of you leaving if the reason we are apparently safe is because you’re here?” Chris asked.

    “Steven will be staying in the spare room in the lodge for the time being,” Jon explained. “He is currently arranging a way for him to get here unnoticed, and maintain appearances in the league. Most likely using a Zoroark and Gardevoir to teleport here and trick people into thinking he is still working from home.”

    “The reason I am going to be leaving is that Steven will be putting some real information through the league pipeline to give the bait some credibility. Things like when I go out to get supplies,” Jon explained. “I am capable of protecting myself when I go out, and if they don’t know he’s here, Steven will be able to protect you should anything happen.”

    “Secondly, you are to remain in the lodge until I arrive to escort you elsewhere,” Jon explained. “I will escort you here in the morning, then back to the lodge for lunch. Afterwards, I will escort people to and from, their training sessions with me. There is no leaving the lodge on your own.”

    “Lastly, for your safety, the lodge will be locked at all times, only unlocking to let you in and out.”

    “Goddamn, it is starting to feel like a prison camp,” Justin muttered.

    “Well we are hoping by acting now, we can make sure this is dealt with quickly,” Jon explained. “Better to be inconvenienced than hurt, or worse.”

    The days classes passed, and whilst Jon tried to cover as much of the content as he could, the trainers minds were understandably elsewhere, given the bombshell they had just heard, particularly Chris, as the discussion he had with Charlotte the evening prior was in the front of his mind.

    Once the morning’s classes were over, Jon escorted the trainers back to the lodge, where all windows and curtains were shut. The door itself had electronic locks installed that morning, which Jon punched in a code for to allow it to open, leading in the trainers, ensuring the door locked behind them.

    “All of your windows have been lockable from day one, however we have locked them this morning,” Jon said. “You are allowed to unlock them and open them only when you are in the room. If you are asleep, or somewhere else in the lodge make sure it remains locked. You have also been given a panic button, which if pressed, will notify myself and Steven’s phones immediately.”

    The group murmured about the new additions to their living situation before they spoke up.

    “Steven is in the spare room at the end of the hall, next to Chris’ room,” Jon explained. “He is working his a** off trying to figure out who is behind this, and how to catch them out, so try and give him some peace, but if anything does happen, don’t act anymore than you have to. If the door does get knocked in, only do what you need to to buy time for someone to get Steven. Let him do the rest, and focus on staying safe…”

    Jon left the room, leaving the group who silently processed all that was going on. Dylan went straight upstairs to his room, as Justin made his way into the kitchen.

    “Hey, Abbee, I found your phone…” Justin called out as Abbee rolled her eyes.

    “Told you…” Abbee said to Charlotte, as she went to the kitchen as well, leaving Chris and Charlotte alone in the lounge.

    “So how are you going…” Charlotte asked cautiously. “Yesterday was a lot, but this…”

    “I don’t know…” Chris said quietly. “I want to believe that because I was in those pictures, it either isn’t him behind it, or if it is, he just doesn’t know I am being targeted. But if what Jon and Steven said is true, it could be he doesn’t care if I get caught up in this.”

    “I’m sorry,” Charlotte said awkwardly. She had known Chris for years, but only ever as a rival. Most of the time, the way he presented himself was that nothing phased him, and that he was above everyone else. Now he seemed scared and confused, just like any other person, and it was different to anything she was used to.

    “Don’t be,” Chris said. “Not your family.”

    Chris stood up, before Charlotte could respond, and made his way upstairs.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    After dinner, which Steven emerged from his temporary room to join in for, all of the students were quick to return to their rooms. After the day they had, none of them felt like doing extra training together, or even just watching a movie. They all wanted their own space to process it.

    Latios and Jolteon remained at Jon and Alyssa’s cottage with Alyssa and Amelia, with Jon having to trust Latios again to keep her safe. He and Steven sat at the dining table, going over Steven’s work during the day, trying to get a better idea of what’s going on.

    “I have been going over the footage from the records, and the Mossdeep Coast Guard over the course of the day, creating profiles for any and all people entering the island, which this time of year, there are a lot of tourists. Next I cross referenced it with traffic cameras and other security systems to wipe off as many names from that list as possible. Additionally, the space station needs to know exactly what is in their airspace, so only those who live on the island with registered flying Pokemon can use them to travel,” Steven explained. “From there I have come to the following conclusions.”

    “Firstly, there is a single beach that one can enter Mossdeep from with private boats and Pokemon, which Coast Guard have a good eye on and nobody for weeks who has entered the island that way has gone more than a few streets into the City before leaving, certainly not deep enough into the island to be able to get the photos they got of the Academy. Secondly, because of how strict the flight rules are around the Space Station, very few have arrived via Pokemon that aren’t already registered as living on the island, and even then, the few that have, we were able to determine are not our guys,” Steven continued. “This means that whoever took these images came via the ferry, either on foot, or by car. It would be near impossible to hide from the security recordings if you entered on foot, which leads me to believe that the person taking the photos entered the island in a car on the ferry. Whilst their registration wouldn’t be hidden, it would be difficult to identify people in a car, particularly those in the back seats.”

    “And how many cars are we talking about?” Jon asked.

    “The ferry can carry forty cars at a time, and takes two hours to travel from Lilycove City, arriving every fourth hour between 6am and 10pm. So an estimated 200 cars will enter Mossdeep City a day,” Steven explained. “The tricky thing is that we don’t know how long this has been in the works for. If the people taking these photos came on the ferry last week, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find them, but if they have been here six weeks…”

    “We just have to work backwards,” Jon explained. “Start at the day before the pictures arrived, and note which cars entered the island over the last three weeks, then work forward again. Note which cars have left the island, and it should give you hopefully a somewhat accurate list of which cars from outside of Mossdeep are still on the island.”

    “Think I don’t know that?” Steven asked. “I have noted all cars that entered the island over the last four weeks, and which ones have left in the last three weeks, and already flagged one.”

    Steven passed a tablet over, showing a black sedan with two men sitting in the front seats departing the ferry.

    “This car was seen on traffic cameras in all the areas the photos were taken, which no other car was, so I am pretty certain it’s them. It was even seen tailing you when you left the academy today to buy groceries,” Steven explained. “However I can’t guarantee that they are alone, and if we intercept them now, we might potentially miss others who are in on this.”

    “Well where do you draw the line?” Jon asked. “You can’t surely be planning on doing this sort of monitoring all the way back to when Alyssa and I moved here?”

    “Believe me, I have no intention of doing that,” Steven retorted. “Lance isn’t a patient person. I will go back another four weeks tomorrow, and see what we can come up with. Beyond that, I doubt there is any risk.”

    Jon’s watch read 10pm, as Steven yawned loudly. Jon had woken him up with the phone call at 5am, and he had been working most of the time since trying to narrow down who to expect. He had even offered to take one of the watches this evening.

    “Go get some sleep,” Jon explained. “I’ll take the first watch, and come get you at two.”

    “Shouldn’t we both patrol?” Steven asked. “This is a huge property, too big for only one at a time.”

    “You need sleep, and tomorrow I gotta run classes, which means I gotta sleep at some point too,” Jon explained. “I need you to keep doing your analysis tomorrow and try and figure out if there is more than just these two. If we do the watch together, we don’t sleep, and that ends well for nobody.”

    Steven nodded, before yawning again and closing his laptop and tablet.

    “If you need anything, give me a call,” Steven said. “Don’t try and do anything alone.”

    “I have Latios by the house, but I’ll keep that in mind…”

    Once Steven was gone, Jon quickly grabbed his coat, and strapped his Pokeballs to his belt, before making his way out of the lodge.

    The grounds were quiet, save for the odd wild Pokemon cry that pierced the night. Jon patrolled the grounds, occasionally exchanging words with Latios when he would reach out to Jon telepathically, from the spot above the cottage where he was acting as a sentry. The night air was warm, as the sound of the ocean waves hitting the cliffside behind the property quietly filled the air.

    As Jon walked the grounds, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of regret towards his last encounter with Lance. Not for any sort of sympathy for Lance, but for antagonizing him the way he did, knowing those choice words that he used for the sake of hurting an already deranged man’s pride were probably the fuel behind this dumpster fire of a situation they were in.

    It was near midnight when Jon heard Latios’ voice in his head.

    “Jon, someone is coming. They are close…” Latios said.

    “What?” Jon replied with his thoughts. “How did you not see them sooner?”

    “They must have used the cliff for cover. My emotion-sense is mostly linked to my sight. It can permeate through wood or glass, but not the ground, bricks or stone.”

    “Protect Alyssa and Amelia, no half measures,” Jon replied as he started to run towards the cottage. Latios began sharing his sight with Jon, as Jon saw a Salamence and Dragonite ascend into view from behind the drop off of the clip, with trainers on their back. There were flashes of light, as Pokeballs were activated and a half dozen dragon Pokemon materialized, however one concerned Jon the most…

    There was a deafening shriek as a three headed, black and purple Pokemon materialized. Jon recognized it as Hydreigon, a Pokemon native to Unova, but known for its extremely violent and volatile nature. One that when Pokeballs registered them, would notify the League to keep the trainer on watch lists. Jon had encountered a handful before at tournaments, and was appalled at how savage they were with their attacks.

    “I’ll be there soon!” Jon said as he started running, grabbing the black Pokeball off his belt.

    ”Behind you!” Latios shouted, as Jon swung around to find himself staring down the barrel of a handgun.

    “No matter what happens, protect Alyssa and Amelia,” Jon said. “Even if you have to get them somewhere safe. I’ll try and handle this…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    After dinner, Chris had tried to get an early night, however lay in bed, unable to sleep, still torn about Lance, and whether or not he was involved in this situation. At about 11pm, he gave up sleeping, instead pulling his chair by the window, leaving the light off, and sitting there, looking out past the gates of the Eon Academy at the lights of Mossdeep City. Occasionally he would see Jon, mostly as a shadow between the lights of the property, patrolling.

    As Chris looked out over the property, he thought he noticed something. A shadow that was out of place for a brief second, behind the monastery which had acted as their school for the summer. As he looked back at where he thought he saw the shadow, there was nothing there. Just the shadow of the building. Looking back to where Jon was, on the path between the lodge and his own house, Chris finally saw it. Two figures, dressed in back, creeping past the front of the lodge. Chris saw one of them twitch for a moment, before he pulled away from the window, just avoiding being seen by one of the figures looking up at the one open window.

    When he thought he wouldn’t be noticed, Chris looked out again, seeing they had now passed the other side of the lodge, and were moving towards Jon. There was the sound of Pokeballs activating, as light erupted from the blindspot of Chris’ vantage point, reflecting off of something metallic in one of the figure’s hands, as Jon began to run.

    ”He has a gun…” Chris thought to himself. He considered pressing the panic button, however realized that if Jon’s phone starts going off and he returns to the lodge, he might be in danger. If he left to get Steven now, by the time Steven got there, it could be too late. If he sent out one of his own Pokemon, the light and sound of the Pokeball would give him away before he could even give them an instruction…

    Chris darted to his cupboard, opening it and finding a heavy aluminium flashlight, before making his way towards the window, grimacing at what would come next.

    The drop to the ground was roughly twelve feet, however the ground beneath his window was soft grass. Jon was out of view from the window, however so were the figures. The only indicator that he wasn’t too late was that the sound of the Pokemon battling hadn’t been interrupted by a gunshot.

    He bashed on the wall to his left, hoping it would be enough to get Steven’s attention, before climbing out the window, and turning around, letting himself hang from the windowsill, before dropping, his bare feet stinging from the shock of hitting the ground, but thankfully, not breaking his ankles. As he composed himself, he gripped the flashlight tightly, before creeping in the direction he saw the two figures moving…

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    “You’ve made the wrong enemies Jon,” Said a voice that Jon recognized from S.S. Wishmaker. Behind the gun stood one figure dressed in black with their face covered, only their eyes visible. The voice itself, Jon couldn’t name, however had heard it before during the briefing before the mission. Next to him was another figure, dressed the same, though this one unarmed.

    “Lance put you up to this?” Jon asked, trying to buy time, hoping Steven wasn’t able to sleep through the sounds of the fight Latios and Jolteon were putting up behind him. The battle itself raged hard, with blasts of electricity piercing the air, and loud bangs as Latios accelerated into his foes at near full speed. “I’m surprised he can do that from where he is now.”

    “Being Champion tends to have its perks,” Said the other figure, with another familiar, but unnamable voice. “It wasn’t that hard for him to get a message out. “When you did what you did to him, and some of our friends, it doesn’t tend to be too difficult to get a few like-minded people together to deal with a problem like this.”

    “If you’re here to just deal with me, why go for the theatrics?” Jon asked. “Why have your friends over there attack my home, then come out with the gun? You could have shot me dead by now and be gone.”

    As Jon said this, he noticed something behind the figures. For a second he thought it was another person with these guys, until he realized their height was more that of a teenager. As they got closer, Jon recognized the figure as Chris, wielding a flashlight.

    “Lance didn’t want that. You remember what you said to him? About burning everything he loves to the ground?” the figure in front of him said, as Jon made sure to make eye contact with him, not wanting to give away Chris’ presence by looking past them. “Lance tends to feel the same, so when he heard about this little Hogwarts that you have here, he figured that would be the best place to start, right after that little house you and your family have becomes a pile of rubble…”

    As Chris edged closer to the pair, holding the torch up, preparing to hit the one with the gun over the head, Jon made a slight grunt of confusion, looking towards the gates.

    Confused, the two men looked in the same direction, as Jon grabbed the forearm of the man with the gun with his left hand, shoving it away from him, as he instinctively pulled the trigger. The gunshot rang through the air, before a sharp crack and a cry of pain as Chris slammed the flashlight over the gunman's head, causing his grip of the weapon to loosen.

    “Jon!” Latios said.

    “Don’t worry about me!” Jon shouted in his thoughts. “You know what you have to do!”

    The other assailant pulled a knife from his pocket, pressing a button as a blade flicked out, before moving towards Chris. Jon grabbed the gun from the hand of the assailant in front of him, before pulling the trigger, firing a shot into the gunman’s shoulder, then turning it on the man with the knife, firing another two rounds, hitting him in the hand, knocking the blade away as the man screamed in pain, and the second in the shin, causing him to crumple down.

    “F**k…” Chris said shocked, as Jon pistol whipped the pair, knocking them out, before he turned to him.

    “Why the hell did you sneak out?!” Jon shouted, as Jon noticed a Pokemon flying above him. The Pokemon landed, revealing itself to be a Skarmory, as Steven climbed off its back, whilst Jon flicked the safety and placed the gun in the waistband of his pants.

    “Are either of you hurt?” Steven asked.

    “I’ll deal with you later,” Jon said to Chris, as Chris noticed him pocket the same jet black Pokeball that he saw in Shoal Cave. Jon turned to Steven. “I’m going to back up Latios. Make sure these two haven’t got any other weapons or Pokeballs, then come help me. Chris, get a Pokemon out, and have it keep these two here. Don’t fight them yourself if they wake up, let your Pokemon do it.”

    Steven nodded, as Jon ran towards the cottage. Steven quickly frisked the pair, removing another few blades, and extra magazines, before Chris let out his Garchomp, to watch the pair of unconscious attackers and Steven joined the fray.

    From where he stood, Chris could see over a dozen Pokemon involved in the fighting. There were two trainers riding a Dragonite and Salamence, and under their command, a Hydreigon, Noivern, Flygon, Altaria and another pair of Dragonite, that Chris recognized as Lance’s own. Meanwhile, Jon commanded Latios, Blaziken and Jolteon, with Steven commanding Skarmory, Claydol and Metagross, the two trainers fighting back the dozen attackers. For a moment, Chris wondered why Jon didn’t send out Absol, Nidoking and Scizor, however it didn’t take long for Chris to see the three Pokemon, rushing towards him, surrounding Alyssa, who carried their infant daughter.

    “Chris!” She called out, trying her hardest to stay calm, however the panic was still seeping through.

    “Are you alright?” Chris called out as the group got closer.

    “We’re fine,” Alyssa said, somewhat frantically over Amelia’s cries. “Jon said they have them on the ropes, and has given me the code to get into the lodge. He wants us to wait in there, and let Nidoking keep an eye on these two.”

    Chris nodded, as he called back Garchomp, leaving Nidoking to watch the two prisoners, as Absol and Scizor escorted himself and Alyssa to the lodge, Alyssa quickly opening the door, and letting the pair of them in.

    “What the hell is going on?” Charlotte asked, as they shut the door behind them. “I heard gunshots?”

    Everyone else was on the bottom floor of the lodge, watching out the windows from the dining area at the battle that unfolded, dressed in their pyjamas and dressing gowns.

    “We’re under attack,” Chris said, as Abbee looked in shock. “There were four guys, but Jon and I took down two, and now Jon and Steven are fighting back the other two by the cottage.”

    “Wait, what the hell were you doing out there?” Abbee asked.

    “I saw two of them about to get the jump on him, and one had a gun,” Chris replied, looking out at the battle that was raging. “If I had tried to warn him, I thought they would shoot him before he could do anything, and I didn’t think there was time for me to get Steven to help him, so I climbed out the window and jumped the guy.”

    “Idiot!” Charlotte shouted. “You tried to jump a guy with a gun, unarmed?!”

    “I had my flashlight…” Chris muttered, as Charlotte scoffed.

    “Don’t worry guys, Chris will fight off all these guys, with only a flashlight,” Charlotte said mockingly, angry that he had been so reckless.

    “Look, let’s just calm down,” Alyssa said to the group. “Jon and Steven have got this.”

    “Are you sure?” Justin asked. “Those are some strong Pokemon, and there are lots of them…”

    “Jon has beaten much stronger,” Alyssa said. “He told me before that they have them on the ropes. I called the police before when the fighting began, so they will be here soon. Just try and stay calm.”

    The group watched as the fighting continued through the window. The Noivern, Flygon and Altaria had already been knocked out, as Steven battled the Dragonite and Salamence that carried trainers, with Jon fighting off Lance’s dragonites and the psychotic Hydreigon that seemed the worst of all.

    Blaziken and Latios had been fighting off a Dragonite each, whilst Jolteon attempted to whittle down Hydreigon’s health. When Jolteon landed a good hit with a Thunder attack, Jon called out, as Latios and Blaziken darted towards one another, as Jolteon began fighting the Dragonites instead. Latios grabbed Blaziken under the arms, lifting him directly into the air, before twisting around and facing the ground directly, and dropping Blaziken, before returning to battle the Dragonites. Blaziken fell into Hydreigon, hitting it with a Close Combat attack, as it cried out in pain, falling to the ground unconscious. Latios disappeared from sight with a boom, launching itself into one Dragonite, throwing it into the second as Jolteon unleashed another Thunder attack, before Latios followed up with an Outrage attack, tearing into the two Pokemon. The remaining two Pokemon that carried the trainers dodged another attack from Steven’s Metagross, before calling the Pokemon back, and finally fleeing.

    It was another twenty minutes before the lodge door opened, and Jon entered the room, seeing it full with all the young trainers and Alyssa.

    “Is everybody okay?” Jon asked. “The cowards have run off, but Steven is meeting the police at the gate.”

    “I’m fine,” Abbee replied. “Just a bit shaken up…”

    “Are we really safe here?” Justin asked. “What’s to stop this happening again?”

    “We injured and caught two of them, who the police are going to arrest now. The two that got away, Steven already has a pretty good idea on who they are,” Jon explained. “We aren’t going to be slack about it, but I think that they won’t be trying this again anytime soon. Only one of them had a gun, probably because it was all they could get, and now we have that. We have fought off their Pokemon, and two of the guys are now out of the picture, with the other two probably having warrants out by dawn. I think this is the worst they could do.”

    The group were silent, as they weren’t overly convinced.

    “We can talk about it more in the morning,” Jon said. “Go get some sleep, you guys were in here, so I doubt the police will want statements.”

    The trainers nodded, before starting to make their way up the stairs, though Jon spoke up again.

    “Chris, you got a second?” Jon asked, as Chris stopped in his tracks, before making his way back.

    “Because you were directly involved, the police might want to talk to you…” Jon said, as he went and sat at the dining table. “So don’t go back to sleep yet.”

    “I was struggling to sleep before all of this, so that won’t be a problem…” Chris said quietly.

    Jon was silent for a moment before speaking.

    “Look, if we ever find ourselves in a situation like this again, don’t put yourself at risk like that again,” Jon said. “But, I do appreciate your help tonight.”

    Chris was silent, thinking about what he heard the attackers say to Jon.

    “Call us even for the whole Shoal Cave incident,” Chris began. “That and…”

    He stopped, unsure if he should say anything else, however Jon looked at him curiously.

    “That and what?” Jon asked, not sure where he was going with this, as Chris sighed.

    “You know how I said my family won’t want the publicity about what happened to me last week? About how I am related to a few Gym Leaders?” Chris asked.

    “Yes…”

    “Well I wasn’t completely honest. My sister is a Gym Leader in Johto, and my cousin was a member of the Indigo Elite Four, before becoming the Indigo Champion…”

    Jon was silent as Chris revealed this.

    “So seeing as my egomaniac cousin is the one sending hit squads after you, I kind of owe it to you to try and help…” Chris muttered.

    “Look, Chris, you don’t owe me anything,” Jon said. “If Lance is your cousin, that’s a shock, but really, his decisions have nothing to do with you. He did some terrible things and went down a dark path, but that is no reason for you to feel guilty.”

    “Right…” Chris said, not entirely convinced, before remembering something. “What is in the black Pokeball you had? When I woke up in Shoal Cave, you had it then as well…”

    “S**t!” Jon said loudly, realizing he still had it. “You didn’t tell anyone did you?”

    Chris shook his head, as Jon got up frantically.

    “Keep an eye out for the cops and let me know when they’re here,” Jon explained. “This Pokeball contains my absolute last resort, and when I had the gun pointed in my face, I thought I was going to have to use it. But outside of those sorts of situations, nobody can know I have it.”

    Jon quickly looked around the dining room, finding the cupboard containing all of the plastic drinking cups, as Chris watched out the window, seeing flashing lights driving up the property.

    “They’ll be here in a minute…” Chris said, now more curious as to what was in there, as Jon stashed the Pokeball in the cupboard.

    “If they search the place, I am in trouble, but they shouldn’t need to search the lodge,” Jon explained. “If you keep this a secret, one day I will tell you the whole story…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    The police arrived shortly after, detaining the two captured assailants, before getting statements from Steven, Jon, Alyssa and Chris. The two captured were not the two that Steven had shown Jon the security camera footage of, and whilst Steven had means of identifying who they were and arresting them, Chris identifying the Dragonites as Lance’s own made it much simpler to track down the two assailants that fled, especially since they were kept in standard Pokeballs that were easy to track. Between having the registration details of the car they were in, a rough idea of where in Mossdeep they were staying, and now having the Trainer IDs based on when Lance’s Dragonite were last healed in a Pokemon Center, by noon the next day, the two remaining assailants had been taken into custody, with Lance being transferred to a more secure facility, with details not even being available to the League outside of Steven and Cynthia. Police patrolled the grounds of the Eon Academy over the next few days, as Steven remained on site, continuing his investigation to make sure the four who attacked were the only ones involved.

    By the time Thursday came, Steven had managed to go through the list of operatives Lance recruited for the mission on the S.S. Wishmaker, as well as some names of other associates, and was confident that none were near Mossdeep or posed any threat, thought stayed at the Academy just in case.

    On Thursday afternoon, Jon and Chris had their one on one training, where Chris was battling more intently than usual, yet somehow at the same time, didn’t seem to be completely there.

    “Let’s take five,” Jon said, holding up his hand before walking over to Chris. “Is something wrong?”

    “It’s nothing,” Chris said. “I can keep battling.”

    “If it were nothing, I wouldn’t be noticing it,” Jon laughed. “You can ask Alyssa just how dense I can tend to be about what’s going through people’s heads. Something’s up.”

    Chris took a moment to try and put what he was thinking to words.

    “It’s about Lance…” Chris said. “A mixture of things. Part of it being the whole Don’t meet your heroes thing, but even a bit more than that.”

    “I always looked up to him as a kid, and when I started battling, and my family started to see I had potential, Lance became a goal for me. To be like him,” Chris explained. “That’s part of the reason why I train Dragon Types. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it, but if I wasn’t part of his family, and didn’t have that expectation and drive, I don’t know that I would be the trainer that I am now.”

    “But now, I don’t know,” Chris said. “All bulls**t aside, Lance is a strong trainer and has done a lot as Champion, and sure, I’d want to be like that. But I don’t want to aspire to be like him given the things he has done. Sure, I want to be a Dragon Tamer, and want to be strong, but…”

    “Then don’t aspire to be like him,” Jon said. “Aspire to be better. Aspire to have the strengths he has, and to learn from his weakness and mistakes.”

    “That’s easier said than done,” Chris muttered. “You and Steven said it yourself, the fact he was as good a trainer as he was was part of the reason why he snapped. Even if I can be a better trainer than him, will that skill, and then that expectation and pressure just do the same thing to me, if not worse?”

    “Only if you let it,” Jon said. “I didn’t know Lance before he had his title and reputation, you’ve known him longer than I have, but I would bet anything that he was proud to a fault before all of that. The fact you’re even thinking about this tells me that you’ve got more humility than he could ever have.”

    “Still, Lance wasn’t much older than me when he became Champion,” Chris said. “I’ve won a few tournaments in the last few years, but I still haven’t even won a practise match here. Some Dragon Tamer I am…”

    Jon thought over what Chris was saying, before speaking up.

    “How about this?” Jon asked. “What if you got to do something better than Lance ever did…”

    “And what would that be?” Chris asked.

    “I can’t tell you just yet. But it has something to do with that Pokeball,” Jon explained. “Every third weekend, I usually make a trip to an island in the south of Hoenn to do some training there. That would be this weekend, and if Steven thinks it's safe for me to leave, I still plan on going. If anyone asks, you’re coming with me for remedial training…”

    “What sort of training?” Chris asked.

    “Let’s say I have a Pokemon that I can’t use near civilization, that needs a lot of training,” Jon explained. “One that Dragon Master Lance would give anything to meet, let alone train alongside. And you can help me train it. Deal?”

    Chris thought over the offer for a minute. Whilst he knew Charlotte wouldn’t let him hear the end of remedial training, the idea of this mystery Pokemon that Jon claimed to possess, one that Lance himself hadn’t even seen or trained did interest him…

    “You’ve got a deal…”

    Friday morning Steven gave the all clear for the Eon Academy to mostly resume its activities. When Jon mentioned going off-site, Steven didn’t object, knowing why he was going and how important it was that he went, however decided to remain at the Eon Academy for a few more days, with the police keeping a car parked by the front, and coast guard monitoring the area of water that the assailants came from the night before. Latios remained at the Eon Academy as well, with Steven loaning Jon his Skarmory for Jon to fly on, and once classes finished at 3pm, Jon and Chris left the Eon Academy on Skarmory and Charizard for remedial training elsewhere, much to the confusion of the other students.

    They flew into the night, arriving on Southern Island at midnight, with Jon telling Chris to set up camp, and they’d begin training in the morning. Chris struggled to sleep, both given what had happened that week, and also the excitement of what Jon was going to show him, however fatigue soon caught up with him, causing him to sleep.

    He awoke shortly after sunrise, as Jon called him over to the edge of the island, looking out over the sea.

    “Are you ready to see something most people will go their entire lives never seeing?” Jon asked.

    “If most people go their entire lives never seeing this, how did you wind up with it?”

    “The military antagonized it, and it responded by bringing down commercial planes,” Jon explained. “The military were going to try and kill it, so Steven gave me some unregistered Pokeballs and asked me to try and sneak in and catch it before they could do anything. Gave me the fight of my life, but training is going well.”

    Chris watched as Jon unclipped the black Pokeball.

    “Chris, meet…” Jon began as he pressed the button on the Pokeball, light erupting from it, and forming in the shape of a giant serpent floating above the ocean. As the light dissipated, the Pokemon’s emerald green hide became visible, as it's dangerous looking eyes stared daggers into Chris.

    “Rayquaza…”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; Yesterday at 08:51 AM.

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  8. #16
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    And snuck in a more chill episode for a few laughs

    Episode 5: Hypotheticals
    Spoiler:

    It had been two weeks since the attack on the Eon Academy, and to Jon’s relief, outside of the phone calls to angry parents he had to make, those two weeks could not have been any more uneventful. Classes happened on time, the students behaved themselves (mostly) and progress was being made with the students. Whilst the pecking order in terms of their skill was mostly unchanged, they were all progressing at a similar rate, though Justin and Dylan took a little more work from Jon to be able to get them to improve at the same rate as the others.

    It was the Saturday of the fourth week, when Abbee suggested the five trainers do something together. The fact that three of them would finish at noon on a given day, whilst two would have afternoon training sessions made it difficult enough for them to do anything as a group. By the time Charlotte would finish her Monday training session at four in the afternoon, Abbee would be starting hers, and by the time she returned, Charlotte wouldn’t want to leave the Academy to have to be back in less than an hour for dinner. Throw in how exhausted people tended to be on the days they had one on one training, Chris and Justin tending to disappear and head into Mossdeep whenever they both had an afternoon free, Charlotte’s myriad of extra training by herself, and Dylan’s tendency to just spend every free moment by himself in his room, Abbee was shocked at how difficult it was to get everyone together outside of classes.

    So when she realized on Saturday afternoon that Chris and Justin were not heading into Mossdeep, and Charlotte had finished training for the day, she pounced on the opportunity, suggesting the group watch a movie. After a lot of convincing (and the four of them knocking on Dylan’s door until he realized he would probably save time by just watching the movie with them, compared to waiting for them to give up and leave him alone), they sat in the lounge of the common area, booting up Netflix on the TV, before proceeding to debate over which movie to watch.

    Chris wanted to put on a slasher flick, which Abbee was deathly opposed to, and whilst he didn’t say anything, Dylan went pale at the suggestion. In response, she suggested a romantic-comedy, which Justin was dead against, though Chris was oddly quiet, given how opinionated he was. Justin then proposed a sci-fi movie, which caused Charlotte to roll her eyes, before she herself suggested a post-apocalyptic film. Dylan remained silent the entire time, wishing one of them would just pick a movie. It got to the point where they got the deck of cards Jon used on the first day, removing the Queens of Hearts and Diamonds, and the Kings of Spades and Clubs, the queens representing Abbee and Charlotte respectively, and the kinds representing Chris and Justin, shuffling the four cards, before having Dylan, who hated being the center of attention, draw one.

    When Dylan drew, revealing the King of Clubs, everyone groaned as Justin cheered, before starting the Science-Fiction movie. As the movie was starting, Abbee ducked out of the room, going to the kitchen to make up a bowl of popcorn, before returning shortly after the opening scene, placing herself on the couch close to Dylan. Charlotte turned from her spot on the floor, looking back, as Abbee earned a slightly intrigued glance from Charlotte, before her attention returned to the screen. Justin seemed captivated by the film, whilst Chris sat on the couch in a manner that must have been detrimental to his spine, seeming to struggle to be interested.

    The film itself was about a lone-extraterrestrial being, with technology beyond what was real, whose ship crash-landed on earth, and was unable to return home. The alien used the technology it had to blend in with the humans, trying to figure out if there was a way to send a message out to its own kind, and realizing that the technology it needed didn’t exist in the possession of the common people, however world governments did have access to this. The alien then began using its technology to move itself up the chain of command, earning itself more and more authority and power, all with the goal of being able to get access to what it needed to send out a message and be picked up by its own kind. However, by the time it was in a position to send the message out to its own people, the power and authority it held had changed it, causing it to continue to use its advanced technology to gain more power, setting its sights on ruling earth. It eventually succeeded, becoming the leader of a united earth, however the power and authority put it under a spotlight, making it increasingly difficult to keep its true identity hidden. Eventually it was caught out, and despite its advanced technology, was captured and experimented on, leaving earth without a leader, and the fallout of the revelation causing devastation to earth's inhabitants. As the credits rolled, Justin was the first to speak.

    “So what did you think?”

    “So unrealistic,” Chris said, before opening his phone.

    “It’s science fiction Chris…” Charlotte muttered, as she turned around to face Chris and Justin. “You know what fiction means right?”

    “I know it’s not meant to be but come on,” Chris retorted. “Anyone with half a brain could have been able to see that he wasn’t human. If this were real, he wouldn’t have lasted a week before being caught, let alone become the leader of earth. Makes it even more stupid, because if he played his cards right, he could have, without being caught...”

    Dylan watched the exchange awkwardly from the other couch, though most of the awkwardness coming from Abbee falling asleep halfway during the movie, head resting on his shoulder, and not knowing whether to wake her or not.

    “Okay then, if you were the alien in the movie, how would you do it? How would you take over earth?” Charlotte asked, before muttering. “This will be good…”

    Dylan breathed a sigh of relief as Abbee started to stir, noticing where she was resting, before quickly sitting up straight, looking slightly embarrassed.

    “In all honesty, I don’t know why he bothered about the secrecy,” Chris explained. “Think about it, you look at movies where the bad guys are pirates, and the ships usually have cannons on them to defend from other ships.”

    “Your point…”

    “Well, if his race were travelling in space, it’s pretty likely other races were as well, and you aren’t going to fly across the galaxy unarmed. Surely his ship had space age weapons on it to defend against attacks, like the ships in the pirate movies have cannons,” Chris explained. “Blow up enough cities, make your demands, and they will be bowing at your feet in seconds.”

    The door to the lodge closed as Jon walked in with a slightly concerned look on his face, carrying a few dishes containing that evening’s dinner.

    “You lot aren’t planning terrorist attacks are you?” Jon asked, half jokingly.

    “We just watched a movie about an alien trying to take over earth, and Chris reckons he could have done it better,” Justin explained, as Charlotte piped up.

    “Yeah that could work, except for one little thing…” Charlotte explained. “The whole reason he was on earth was because his ship crashed and couldn’t fly…”

    “Well the supercomputer on it worked, right?” Chris asked. “He was able to hack into the birth registry and create a file for his human disguise with no issue. Surely hacking into the government's nuclear missile programs would be a cakewalk for him?”

    “So what I am hearing is that Chris only enjoys Michael Bay movies, and that’s because he needs the explosion to keep his attention…” Charlotte retorted.

    “Well how would you, oh genius of world domination, take over the world if you were him?” Chris asked sarcastically, as Jon went into the kitchen to get the oven heating up that night's dinner.

    Charlotte was silent for a moment before speaking.

    “I would find a safe way to reveal myself,” Charlotte explained. “Maybe using the supercomputer to put out a broadcast for the world to see.”

    “So you become public enemy number one?” Justin asked.

    “No, I’d get footage from the attack that left my ship damaged and caused me to crash into Earth and show that. Tell everyone that the attack happened close to earth, and that I was a messenger sent to warn earth of the impending attack from this other race of aliens.”

    “Then I’d offer their leaders my own knowledge in creating weapons on earth to defend against the attack, in return for my own safety,” Charlotte explained. “Little do they know, I’m just building a personal armoury, and once I believe they have no way of defending against me, then I’d start extorting power from them. Let them know the only reason I am not turning the weapons on them is my own good graces.”

    “S**t…” Justin muttered as Jon entered the room again, leaning by the doorway, looking amused.

    “How is that any different to what I said?” Chris asked irritably. “I talked about using alien weapons and you used that to make a Michael Bay dig against me…”

    “The difference is that my core idea didn’t have a gaping plot hole, or involve nuclear fallout,” Charlotte retorted.

    “Eh, I still think there are better ways…” Justin explained. “You get power by force, and you just put a giant target on your back. They find a way to kill you, and everything is good. You wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”

    “So what would you do?” Abbee asked, curious by the conversation.

    “Like Charlotte, I’d reveal myself pretty quickly, but in a safe way,” Justin explained. “But I would use my technology to help people. Sure enough these aliens have the cure for cancer, or some miracle antibiotic that can kill any bacteria or something?”

    “Sure…” Charlotte said, more so to hear where Justin was going with this.

    “First I’d help just out of the goodness of my heart-” Justin began as Chris scoffed. “But once they get used to it, I start asking for something in return…”

    “First it will be small things the government could offer. A roof over my head, comfort, security. Things that would allow me to have a life here, that seem reasonable, that wouldn’t be too difficult for the people to provide…” Justin explained. “But as they become more accustomed to it, I will offer more incredible things, but be asking more in return for it. Things like power, and authority, and I will be public about what I offer. With millions starving being solved by some space-fertilizer I have that can make crops grow anywhere in a day, would people really let their governments say no to that?”

    “Eventually, I wouldn’t be a guest from outer space, who is just sharing what he has, but instead a god to the people, who can help them deal with all of life's unfairness and unpleasantness, if they make it worth my while…”

    “That is some twisted s**t…” Chris muttered, as Charlotte murmured in agreement. Abbee looked at Justin in horror.

    “Haven’t you got a conscience?” Abbee asked, shocked at what Justin described.

    “It’s just a hypothetical,” Justin replied. “What about you? How would you do it?”

    “Kinda similar to you, but completely different,” Abbee said. “I’d use the technology I had to help them, but ask nothing in return.”

    “The point is to take over earth Abbee…” Justin said.

    “It doesn’t have to be a hostile takeover though,” Abbee explained. “I’d help the people however I could, do more for them than their current leaders ever really could…”

    “I see where this is going…” Jon said with a grin from the doorway.

    “Like you said, cure diseases, prevent them if I can, solve world hunger, use the technology to build houses for the homeless,” Abbee said. “The things the politicians spend too much time arguing about and get next to nothing done. I’d do more for humanity in a matter of months than governments do in decades. So when the time comes for countries to choose a new leader, who do you think they will want to elect?”

    “But that’s just a country, we’re talking the world,” Charlotte explained.

    “That’s just another step,” Abbee continued. “Once I am ruling one country, others will see the eutopia I have created and want to be part of it. They could see their own country, with all the issues it has, or see mine, with none, and choose to join us. What’s the point of independence if it just means you’re the muck at the bottom of the barrel?”

    “I think you’re being a bit optimistic about how willing people will be to follow you…” Justin retorted.

    ”It’s just a hypothetical,” Abbee replied, slightly mimicking Justin’s tone from earlier.

    “I think you’re all overthinking this…” Jon said. “I know a simple way to rule the world…”

    “What’s that?” Abbee asked.

    “This alien has a government hacking supercomputer right?” Jon asked.

    “Yes…”

    “I’d make their currency worthless,” Jon explained. “All of it. The only reason people are willing to help eachother out these days is because money is involved. People could try bartering goods and services, but really, how much of you would be willing to trade your possessions instead of currency? Everything you have, you have because it has some purpose or value, and to trade or barter using that means you lose it. Meanwhile, money is this arbitrary concept, that only has value because everyone agrees it has value.”

    “I’d remove all value from their money, and let them squirm a little, having to have to pay for the necessities in goods and services they really don’t want to give, then offer to give their money its value again,” Jon explained. “It would come with a cost, but I might even give it back anyway, only to give them a taste of what they are missing, before taking it away again and negotiating. Even if I wasn’t official ruler of earth, I’d basically be in charge anyway…”

    “You’re almost as bad as Justin…” Abbee said, shocked to hear Jon’s ideas.

    “I got most of that idea from a TV show,” Jon replied. “Anyway, dinner’s ready.”

    Chris, Charlotte and Justin went to get up, as Abbee interrupted.

    “Wait!” She called out. “Dylan hasn’t told us what he’d do…”

    “What would you do Dylan?” Jon asked, now probably the most curious anyone there had been during this entire discussion.

    “The whole movie was about how he needed the government’s technology to send a message into outer space to get taken home, wasn’t it?” Dylan asked somewhat nervously.

    “Yeah, exactly,” Charlotte confirmed.

    “Then when he decided to get into politics, didn’t he use his alien supercomputer to hack into a bunch of places, including the government, to make records of himself being a real person?”

    “Yeah, he did,” Justin said.

    “Then I’d just have the supercomputer hack the government equipment to send out the message from the start,” Dylan explained. “I’d get picked up in a few days and go home.”

    Dylan got up and made his way to the kitchen as the others all took a moment to process what he just said.

    “Wait, was that plot hole there the entire f**king time?” Chris asked angrily.

    “I think it was…” Charlotte confirmed.

    “Then why didn’t the alien just do that?” Justin asked, finding himself more confused.

    “I think it’s pretty simple,” Abbee explained, as Jon smiled, reaching the same conclusion she had.

    The other three looked at her, wanting to hear her explanation.

    “He didn’t shift from wanting to go home to wanting to rule the earth,” Abbee explained. “Deep down, part of him wanted to rule the earth from the beginning, and that got in the way of his common sense…”

    Abbee walked out, with Jon following, as the other three stood in the lounge trying to process what had just been said.

    “Next time, just put on the goddamn slasher flick…”

    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; Yesterday at 09:00 AM.

  9. #17
    Hidden in Shadows Neo Emolga's Avatar
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    Whew, had a quick moment to catch up!

    This is fantastic stuff! The thing I like the most about this is that it never gets boring or just dumps filler. It has a nice and steady flow and keeps the action and intrigue going. Nifty side-plots like Chris’s connection to you-know-who and the reveal of Jon’s secret Pokémon are really nicely handled and keep the story interesting. Meanwhile, the references to the S.S. Wishmaker RP are awesome, but are done in just enough of a way that reading the RP isn’t necessary, but it’s a great linkage to everyone that was a part of it.

    Also, Episode 5, though not really essential to the story, was a great and funny read. That last line… you definitely know how to end things with a zinger! XD

    Very great stuff, dude, I like your work!

  10. #18
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Really glad you're enjoying it! And glad you're caught up because I just finished Episode 6! Will proofread it, and post it soon!

  11. #19
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Episode 6: Growth
    Spoiler:

    It was the Tuesday morning of the sixth week of the summer, marking the program as nearly half completed. Jon and his five students stood on the battlefield of the Eon Academy, with Charlotte and Chris facing off against one another. Wanting to gauge improvement, Jon had recreated the same matchups as day zero, much to Justin’s dismay, however when he informed them of what would be happening the week before, he did give one interesting detail…

    “Everyone, before you go, I have one thing to tell you,” Jon said to the exhausted students on the Tuesday before.

    “Can it wait?” Justin asked. “I really need to shower…”

    “He does…” confirmed Chris who stood next to him, earning a laugh from the others.

    “It will be quick,” Jon explained. “Next week will be roughly the halfway mark of the summer, so I want to see how far you have come, which means we will be doing a repeat of day zero…”

    Justin groaned, as Dylan looked nervously at Abbee, who responded with a nervous smile. Chris looked determined, glad for an opportunity to try and beat Charlotte.

    “And I have some incentive…” Jon explained, piquing the interest of the students.

    “Alyssa isn’t much of a battler, but she does have her own Pokemon, one of them being an Alolan Vulpix called Yuki, which are incredibly hard to find outside of Alola,” Jon explained. “The breeder she got the Pokemon from asked to borrow Yuki to breed some eggs whilst one of her own Vulpix was unwell, and in return, gave Alyssa one of the eggs.”

    Abbee, Charlotte and Chris’ eyes all widened hearing this.

    “We have our hands full enough with a newborn human, let alone throwing a Pokemon into the mix, and Alyssa asked if one of you would like the egg,” Jon explained. “So to whoever shows the most improvement, the egg will be given…”


    Since then, the trainers had all been working harder than ever, practicing in their free time, leading up to this morning. That morning brought shock to everyone as Justin beat Jon, though nobody doubted he was holding back. As Jon opened with Blaziken, Justin instead opened with Kadabra, much to everyone’s surprise, given Justin had fully evolved Pokemon in his arsenal.

    However, jaws dropped when after Jon’s Blaziken had used a Swords Dance attack, Justin called out for Kadabra to use Trick Room, effectively using Blaziken’s speed boost against it, much to Jon’s delight. Wanting to see how Justin would use this advantage, Jon let it play out, as Justin defended from Blaziken’s moves, using a protect, before using Skill-swap, stealing Blaziken’s Speed Boost ability, which due to trick room was actually a detriment, much to the confusion of his classmates, though Jon knew what he was doing, continuing to battle normally and see how Justin’s counter would play out.

    The next two exchanges, Kadabra remained faster than Blaziken, however slowing down due to the tricked Speed Boost, as Blaziken kept launching Power-Up Punches, and using Swords Dance, Kadabra alternating between defending from attacks, and launching its own when Blaziken used stat moves. Until finally it happened. Trick room wore off, and the now slower Kadabra emerged faster than Blaziken, with Justin calling out for a Power Swap attack, forcing Blaziken’s boosted attack to switch with Kadabra’s normal. The battle was basically over at that point, with Kadabra tearing through Blaziken, before Baton Passing to other Pokemon to take down Jon’s other Pokemon.

    Dylan and Abbee’s battle had the same result, though this time, Dylan made it much more difficult for her, opening with Flygon, knowing it was the safer option, given her battling team consisted of Ampharos and Typhlosion, both of which it had an advantage over, and was immune to Ariados’ traps. Whilst Abbee had opened with Ampharos instead, Flygon quickly disposed of it, however Abbee did take the win in the end, though the unspoken question was whether Dylan would have stood a better chance if he hadn’t have taken this as a training opportunity for his freshly evolved Metang, and sent out a fully evolved Pokemon instead.

    Which left the final battle, and the one that held the most tension. Charlotte and Chris. They had both worked the hardest in the week that passed, desperate to take the win, and the opening of the battle began with Chris having the advantage, his Charizard against Charlotte’s Roserade. Whilst Charlotte attempted quickly to set the arena up to her advantage, Charizard quickly and effectively disposed of Roserade, with Charlotte sending out Luxray next, which after a long winded battle, managed to knock Charizard out, however set itself up in the process to be finished quickly when Chris sent out Garchomp, a Pokemon Charlotte hadn’t battled in this form, who was quick to end that matchup with some well placed ground attacks. As Charlotte sent out her third Pokemon, Drifblim, it wasn’t looking promising for Chris, knowing his ground moves were ineffective, and his only other Pokemon were not suited to land battles, or not fully evolved.

    The events of the week prior had led up to this moment. The pair of rivals, both driven to best the other, with the tension thick in the air. Whilst Chris had the advantage of numbers, still having one Pokemon left, Charlotte did hold an advantage, as some of Garchomp’s most dangerous moves were going to do little against the spectral balloon Pokemon.

    “Phantom Force!” Charlotte called out, as Drifblim vanished. Whilst Chris was limited in how he could attack, Drifblim held no advantage outside of that, and Phantom Force was a move near impossible to defend from. Unfortunately, Chris knew this all too well from a previous battle with Drifblim. Not even attempting to defend, Chris decided to make use of the opportunity.

    “Dragon Dance!” Chris shouted, as Garchomp’s attack and speed increased, he hoped by enough to get another move in before Drifblim landed an attack. “Now Substitute!”

    There was a flash as Garchomp disappeared, being replaced by a semi-lifelike doll replicating it, which Drifblim quickly appeared behind, launching an attack. The attack however was not enough to destroy it, causing Chris to grin and Charlotte to grimace. They both knew Garchomp would remain invisible until the substitute was destroyed.

    “Swords Dance!” Chris called out, causing Garchomp, wherever it was hidden, to gain another boost in attack power, whilst Charlotte had Drifblim attack the substitute, this time destroying it. However, Garchomp was prepared, appearing behind it, almost poetically, given the fact Drifblim had just used an identical trick.

    “Shadow Claw!”

    Garchomp’s claw became encased in a spectral aura, as he slashed at Drifblim, knocking the Pokemon to the ground, unmoving. Charlotte was silent as she called Drifblim back.

    “Chris wins the match,” Jon called out, as Chris shook Charlotte’s hand, though Charlotte didn’t seem too pleased.

    “I still owe you one more for that double battle,” Chris said, causing Charlotte to roll her eyes.

    “Go get something to drink. Trainer Career starts in ten minutes,” Jon called out, before making his way back to the cottage.

    The trainers departed in their usual groups. Chris with Justin, Abbee with Charlotte, and Dylan by himself.

    “Don’t worry about it,” Abbee said to Charlotte. “The way Jon has us send out our first Pokemon blind makes this a bit of a game of luck. This time Chris got lucky…”

    “The whole point of Jon teaching us that is so we don’t rely on basic strategy, or luck. To be able to win when we are unlucky...” Charlotte said. “I made a mistake sending out Roserade first. Last time he lost because he relied too much on the battle before. I thought for sure it would be Garchomp out first, thinking I would open with Luxray…”

    “Don’t overthink it,” Abbee said. “Next time you will beat him.”

    “Yeah…” Charlotte said, though still unconvinced.

    The trainers quickly gathered books, stopping by the kitchen for a drink, before meeting Jon in the classroom at the back of the monastery, where he stood by the front of the room with a white and light blue egg in his hands.

    “You guys knew the drill. The trainer I saw the most improvement in gets the egg,” Jon explained. “And you have all improved. Even if the result was the same as last time, or didn’t go the way you thought, don’t think you haven’t taken steps forward.”

    “Really, it is difficult for me to choose…” Jon said. “But the trainer that took me most by surprise was…”

    The class was silent, as Jon finally announced who would get the egg.

    “Chris…”

    Chris was shocked hearing this, as Jon continued to speak while he walked over to hand Chris the large egg.

    “Truth is, it was a difficult decision,” Jon explained. “Especially since Justin managed to not only ruin my tactics, but turn them into his benefit, however, Chris impressed me that little bit more today, and has shown the biggest improvement compared to Day Zero.”

    “Congratulations,” Jon said, looking at Chris directly. “I look forward to seeing how you include this Pokemon in your team…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    It was later that evening, after dinner, when the trainers found themselves in the lounge. Charlotte lay on the floor, reading a battling magazine, whilst Abbee and Dylan played cards, and Justin and Chris sat on another couch, discussing the egg.

    “I thought for sure you were going to get it,” Chris said to Justin. “I mean you beat Jon.”

    “We both know he could have stopped me at any time,” Justin laughed. “I mean, I will take credit, but his curiosity as to what the hell I was doing is what kept me in the battle…”

    “Maybe I should try that next time,” Chris joked. “Just do something that outrageous, my opponent will want to see what I have planned.”

    Charlotte scoffed to herself as she flicked through to the next page, while Abbee spoke up.

    “Do you know when it will hatch?”

    “Jon said it should be soon,” Chris explained. “Very soon, but do you remember what he talked about the other week in Raising Pokemon?”

    Justin’s face contorted a little as he tried to remember the class. Abbee was silent, as she tried to remember as well.

    “Pokemon can stay in their eggs for a long time, even when they are ready to hatch,” Dylan explained, not looking up from his cards.

    Charlotte looked at Chris surprised. She hadn’t even remembered that detail. Jon was right. He was improving.

    “I think he knew about the egg a while before he told us,” Chris said. “Maybe this is some sort of puzzle, to try and get the egg to hatch.”

    “Maybe…” Abbee said, as she put down a card. Chris turned to face Dylan.

    “You’re good at this stuff,” Chris began, surprising Dylan a little since they hardly talked, and he didn’t realize Chris thought even remotely highly of him in any respect. “Any idea what I need to do to hatch this thing?”

    “I have a couple, but I think you mentioned it yourself already,” Dylan explained. “Or at least half of it…”

    Chris looked confused, as Dylan explained.

    “Pokemon can stay in their eggs for a long time even when they’re ready to hatch,” Dylan said. “Do you remember why?”

    Chris was silent for a moment, suddenly remembering.

    “They wait for the right conditions…” Chris said, realizing where Dylan was going with this. Charlotte closed her magazine, curious to hear the discussion.

    “He’s right…” Abbee said. “Think about it, a baby Pokemon is safe in its egg, they are extremely tough for what they are. But if the egg hatches somewhere that isn’t safe, the baby Pokemon will probably not survive. So it waits…”

    “But it’s safe here isn’t it?” Charlotte asked.

    “It’s safe, but it is still foreign,” Dylan explained. “I doubt they have a sense for any danger, but more so they know what is normal for them, and won’t hatch otherwise.”

    “Okay, so Alolan Vulpix lives in the wild in the cold…” Chris said, before getting up, placing the egg on the couch where he had been sitting, before rushing out to the kitchen.

    “Could his attention span be any smaller?” Charlotte asked Justin, who started to chuckle. They could hear noise coming from the kitchen, as Chris returned with a steel bowl. Inside it were a few ice packs from the freezer, as well as all the ice cubes and bags of frozen vegetables he could find. He spread them out to the sides, leaving a crater the size of the egg in the center, before placing a soaked dish towel in it. He placed the makeshift nest on the table, before placing the egg in it.

    “Now we wait,” Chris said, as the others resumed what they were doing before.


    A few hours passed, as all the trainers remained awake. Whilst most didn’t say it, the reason they didn’t retire to their own rooms, or go to sleep, was because none of them wanted to potentially miss the egg hatching. It was an unspoken agreement that until the icy nest that Chris had made warmed up and thawed, they would stay awake, all doing their own thing, whilst each of them would occasionally glance at the egg.

    It was near midnight when the students heard the door to the lodge open, much to their surprise. Chris jumped up, not sure who it would be, as Jon was usually asleep by eleven. All attention was on the doorway into the lounge, Chris standing at the front. They breathed a sigh of relief when it was only Jon entering the room, in a pair of shorts and a tee, what they presumed he slept in. However after a second they realized that Jon being here at this time of night, and them all still being awake was probably not the best.

    “Amelia woke me up, and when I glanced out the windows after putting her back to sleep, I saw all the lights were on. I figured you were trying to get your money's worth out of the electricity bill…” Jon grumbled, looking at the group of students, confused as to why they were all still awake.

    “So how come none of you are asleep? I know half of you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, even when you do sleep at a reasonable hour…” Jon asked. “You know my stance, you can go to sleep when you want, and if you’re tired the next day, it’s on you. But I don’t particularly feel like running a class for zombies tomorrow…”

    “I’m waiting to see if the egg hatches,” Chris explained. “I presume the others are too…”

    “Yeah, I’ve never seen an egg hatch,” Abbee explained. “And Chris had the idea of tricking it into thinking its in its natural habitat to see if it would hatch.”

    “When you put it like that, it sounds a lot worse than it is…” Justin retorted with a chuckle.

    Jon looked past the group at the egg in the metal bowl, filled with chilled water and various thawing frozen goods from the freezer.

    “I hope you plan on replacing those ice-creams…” Jon said.

    “Wait, you put ice creams in there?” Charlotte asked, annoyed as she lifted the towel revealing the ice creams that seemed considerably softer than normal…

    “I figured the more cold stuff I put in, the longer it would be cold for…” Chris muttered, somewhat embarrassed.

    Jon chuckled to himself, as he made his way to the egg.

    “It’s a good idea,” Jon said, inspecting the egg. “I was certain it would be weeks of you wondering why the hell it isn’t hatching before you did some research into it…”

    “It was a team effort,” Chris said. “I remembered something you said in class the other week about Pokemon waiting in their eggs even when they’re ready to hatch. Dylan explained it again, then we had the idea about keeping it cold.”

    “You’ve definitely improved since getting here,” Jon said. “But it might not hatch until tomorrow, so don’t stay up all night for it. As I said, I don’t want to be running a class for zombies.”

    Jon turned to leave, making his way towards the door, as a sharp click pierced the air from behind the trainers. A small crack appeared in the egg, before another click emanated from it, as the crack grew.

    The trainers rushed over to the egg, before Jon called out.

    “Everybody but Chris, back here…” Jon said quietly, trying not to disrupt the Pokemon attempting to emerge from the egg.

    “Why? We want to see it too…” Abbee asked, slightly disappointed.

    “Because the first human a Pokemon sees will be the one it will bond with easiest,” Jon explained. “This is Chris’ Pokemon, and we don’t want it getting confused by one of us…”

    Abbee sighed, as she and the rest of the trainers moved over to where Jon was, leaving Chris in front of the egg. After a few minutes, the cracks joined to become holes, and sitting in pieces of broken egg shell and ice-water, its back facing Chris, looking at the blank TV and the magazine’s on the table in front of it, was a small Alolan Vulpix. Everyone watched in silence as it turned around, before seeing Chris sitting in front of it, and jumping for a moment startled.

    “Hey…” Chris said gently, before placing his hand in front of the Pokemon’s nose, the white and silver Vulpix cautiously sniffing it. Chris slowly put his hand out, patting the Pokemon on the head, before giving it a scratch behind the ears, which it seemed to enjoy.

    “Well, I guess this completes my team…” Chris said quietly, before turning to Jon. “Can the others come look now?”

    “Yeah, it should be familiar enough with you,” Jon said, before giving the other students, Abbee in particular a nod, who all moved towards the coffee table, taking turns to offer their hands for the Pokemon to sniff, before joining in with the pats and scratches, the newborn Pokemon lapping up all the attention.

    Jon left soon after, exhausted from having only slept an hour before being woken, leaving the trainers. Charlotte however didn’t wait much longer before going to bed herself, guiltily feeling bitter about the events of that day. One thought emanated through her mind, as she reached her room.

    “I need to beat him…”

    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; Today at 01:03 AM.

  12. #20
    Hidden in Shadows Neo Emolga's Avatar
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    Oh snap, how the tables have turned! But will they turn back around again? Doesn't sound like anyone is taking these battles lightly as the stakes get higher!

    Lots of interesting developments going on in each of these characters. Without a doubt, you made no assumption about any of them safe and changes have been going on in each of them. It definitely keeps things very interesting, and all this going on while Jon has his own dilemmas that could jeopardize the future of his academy and the well-being of his family and his students.

    As I said before, this story's got no dull moments, that constant feeling of something going on and suspense and intrigue at every corner make it a very fun read. Nicely done!

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