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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
    Sad to say, I am not sure that I will be on PXR much longer. The gaps where I have disappeared have become bigger and bigger as life gets busier, and most of the friends I made here, I either talk to elsewhere or are gone completely. Still trying to make a point of checking in, but in case that falls through, my Discord is Jacob Cookson#0902.

    Peace.

  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.”

    “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 in the next five minutes, 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 starting to wake.

    “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, “Everyone else, stay where you are!”

    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 answer, remembering the giant Pokemon he saw for a brief second being returned to a jetblack Pokeball. Was Jon 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 toast 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; 04-17-2021 at 02:43 PM.
    Sad to say, I am not sure that I will be on PXR much longer. The gaps where I have disappeared have become bigger and bigger as life gets busier, and most of the friends I made here, I either talk to elsewhere or are gone completely. Still trying to make a point of checking in, but in case that falls through, my Discord is Jacob Cookson#0902.

    Peace.

  3. #13
    Cheers and Good Times! 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…”
    Sad to say, I am not sure that I will be on PXR much longer. The gaps where I have disappeared have become bigger and bigger as life gets busier, and most of the friends I made here, I either talk to elsewhere or are gone completely. Still trying to make a point of checking in, but in case that falls through, my Discord is Jacob Cookson#0902.

    Peace.

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