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Author Topic: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story  (Read 136 times)

K-NiGhT

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Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« on: August 06, 2017, 11:24:26 AM »

Hey, everyone! It's been a long time since I posted in this board, but man are there some memories here.

Anyway, I know I've been beating around the bush with bringing back the old Great NSM Pokemon Adventure, but I think it's time to let that go. I definitely got my big start in writing for fun with it, but the style and story I came up with back in early high school doesn't really appeal to me anymore. (Also the cast was a little too big to even try to make meaningful characters.)

So, I've come up with a spiritual successor. Recently, I joined the official Nuzlocke Forums and decided to partake in their Ultimate CommunityLocke Event (UCL for short.) I just wrapped up all the gameplay, and have the entire story planned out. I played through all seven regions to make this happen, so it'll be a lonnnnnnng story.

Anyway, I figure I'd share it here for you all as a sort of spiritual successor to the good ol' days. I plan to release chapters daily here until I'm caught up with the run on the Nuzlocke site, then I'm going to put up each new chapter one week after I plan to post it to the Nuzlocke site. That way, even if I'm a bit late, it won't feel too noticable here.

I hope you all will stick with me, and enjoy!

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K-NiGhT

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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 11:25:09 AM »

Update One
My name is Marshal North. I’m 13 years old and still haven’t left my hometown. Weird, right? It seems like these days, more and more kids are leaving on journeys to become Trainers before they’re even able to do basic things like read or write. Maybe that’s due to the actual process of becoming a Trainer getting easier and easier thanks to adults’ handholding of everyone through their journeys.

Of course, most kids don’t go anywhere when those hands finally let go after an eternity. But that’s where I come in. There are lots of regions out there, and their Pokemon Leagues are finally opening up for the first time in years! This is my shot, and I’m not going to let it go to waste! I’ve decided that I’m finally going out on my own to become the Champion of every League, and I’m going to do it in one year! The world had better prepare for me!

***

God, that was dumb. I shoved my journal into the drawer of my desk, already embarrassed with myself. What kind of self-respecting teenager writes in a journal, anyway? I looked around the room, always nervous that someone was watching me. Instead, my eyes wandered over to the clock on the other side of the room. It was almost midnight! I quickly shut off all my lights and jumped into bed. Tomorrow was the day I’d be setting off for my journey, and I didn’t want to oversleep!

***

Of course, the next morning came up before I even knew it. I had actually gotten up in time, unlike some kid a few years back who overslept and ended up with a Pikachu. I quickly got dressed, grabbed my Bag, and ran downstairs. Mom was already up and waiting for me with a smile and a big breakfast.

“Well, Marshal,” she said, waving a hand through her long brown hair, “today’s the big day! I know you’ve been waiting for this for a while, but I’ve always felt that it was too early to send you out on your own.”

I grunted in agreement. I knew how the situation worked. When I turned ten, I had already packed my bags and was ready to head out to the professor’s Lab, but Mom had stopped me and told me that I was not going to leave. Instead, she had me stay at home and get a decent education so when I did finally strike out on my own, I’d at least be able to take care of myself a little bit. “I’ll be okay,” I assured her.

“I know,” she agreed, “but I’m still going to worry. That’s what a mother does, after all!” She chuckled, and I did too. She always felt so warm and inviting, and I knew I would probably be able to come home at any time if I ever needed anything.

After I wolfed down the giant breakfast before me, I stood up and slung my Bag around my shoulders. “Well, I’m off!” I announced. “I’ll see you when I’m Champion of the world!”
Mom smiled, but I could see a slight hint of pain under her mask. “I know you can do it, Marshal.” She got up from the table and hugged me. “I’ll always be here for you.”

After our final embrace, I stepped out of the door and into my future.

***

My future looked a lot like Professor Oak’s lab. Of course, this had to be my first stop. Nobody in their right mind would just waltz right out of Pallet Town without a Pokemon to defend themselves. That’d just be idiotic. I confidently walked through the door and into the lab, where Professor Oak and another boy were waiting for me. I groaned when I noticed who the boy was, however.

Colin Oak, the second grandson of Professor Oak, had just recently turned ten. That meant that he was leaving immediately. I doubted he was ready, honestly. The kid had been nothing but a brat from my observations of him. He was also probably about to be subject to the merciless handholding of our older generation, while I wouldn’t accept it.

“Ah, Mr. North!” The old professor chirped, happy to see that I had made it. “You’re just in time to choose your first Pokemon partner. I’ve left three choices on the table for you, but you probably already know what they are.” Of course I knew what they were. The three choices were always Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. All too often, I’d see kids running out of the lab with their fire-breathing lizard or their bubble-blowing turtles and wishing I could do the same. However, in the three years since I had started taking notice of the other kids my age getting their starters, I almost never saw anyone choose Bulbasaur. That changed today.

“I want Bulbasaur,” I stated firmly, taking the Poke Ball standing on a green pedestal on the table. I had been doing my research, and I knew this little one would be the Pokemon for me.

“Hold it, North!” Colin squeaked. “Maybe I wanted that one!” I made a mental note to distance myself from this brat as soon as I possibly could.

“Now, now, Colin,” the professor tutted. “It’s only fair to let Marshal go first. After all, he has been waiting for a very long time!”

The spiky haired demon huffed. “Fine, then I choose this one!” he shouted, grabbing the Ball on the red pedestal. Of course he picked the Pokemon that type-trumped mine. I didn’t expect any less from such an immature kid. What did surprise me, though, was that he didn’t even bother to rub it in my face. He was already rushing out the door before I even had time to brace for the impending challenge. “I’m going to become the Champion! Just you wait, North!”

I sighed. That kid was going to be a real pain across my whole journey. I could already tell. I turned around and thanked the professor calmly and accepted the prerequisite Pokedex and Poke Balls before heading out the door and into my journey.

I had barely gotten out of the town gates before I saw Colin being accosted by an adult attempting to show him how to throw a Poke Ball and open his Bag. I laughed when I realized that he was going to struggle along back here while I’d be smoothly sailing to the top.

How wrong I would turn out to be.
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K-NiGhT

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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 06:14:31 AM »

Update Two: Baby Steps
The first few steps of my journey were…boring, to say the very least. Route 1 could only offer so much, after all. To make the journey a little more fun, I decided to let my new companion out for some company. I took the Poke Ball from off my belt and threw it out in front of me. In a flash of light, the Ball opened and released Bulbasaur. The poor creature looked confused and turned around to look at me.

“Hi there, Bulbasaur,” I said, smiling to show that I was not a threat to him.

“Woah,” the plant monster breathed in disbelief. “Someone ACTUALLY chose me!”

Now, it was common knowledge that Pokemon did not demonstrate the ability to communicate proficiently with humans. Most of the time, outside of some extremely rare cases, they only had the ability to say their own names, which is probably where most of their species names came from. So, naturally, my reaction to hearing a Bulbasaur talk to me in perfect English was to stare at it blankly and have an existential crisis. “Did you…just talk?”

The Bulbasaur’s eyes glistened. “He can understand me, too! Pinch me, I must be dreaming!”

The creature offered up a good solution, so I quickly pinched myself in the leg in an attempt to wake myself up from the dream I was currently having. After a brief pain, I looked around and the setting had not changed. I was still on Route 1, standing in front of a talking Bulbasaur.

“Okay,” I sighed, putting my hands on my face in an attempt to gather my thoughts. “So you can talk. How on Earth did you learn how to do that?”

“Oh, I didn’t!” the Bulbasaur answered nonchalantly. “You are somehow able to understand me while others aren’t, I guess!”

“That doesn’t make this more logical!” I yelled, starting to freak out a bit. After a few deep breaths, I calmed myself down. “I guess we’ll figure this out later,” I conceded. “For now, I guess it would be more fun if I called you something other than Bulbasaur…how about Caesar?”

Caesar’s eyes lit up again. “I love it! It sounds powerful, like an emperor going into battle!”

“You also remind me of the salad,” I said flatly. The shock on Caesar’s face made me laugh. It seemed that Pokemon’s personalities came through a lot better when you could understand what they were saying to you. Who would’ve guessed?

Our first interaction was cut short, however, when a Pidgey flying around in the sky took notice of us and dive-bombed me. Caesar was quick to respond by jumping into the air and tackling it before it was able to hurt me. Pokemon seemed to be much more independent than I was originally led to believe!

I took advantage of the situation and threw one of the Poke Balls in my Bag at the bird. In a flash of light, the Pidgey disappeared into the capsule and after a few seconds of struggling, the capture was complete. I quietly fist pumped and turned over to Caesar. “Nice job,” I praised, giving him a pat on the head. It did seem a little weird to be doing that to a creature that seemed intelligent enough to carry on a conversation with me, but he didn’t seem to mind. I think he was just happy to finally be getting some recognition. Out of the three choices of starter Pokemon in the Kanto region, Bulbasaur had always seemed to come up short. I decided right then and there that the two of us would prove everybody wrong.

That would come later, though. For now, I picked up the Pidgey’s Poke Ball and decided on a name. “I think I’ll call him Orwell,” I said, not putting a whole lot of thought into the name. I figured whatever was in my heart at that moment would do for a name. Caesar liked his name, even after I told him it was a salad pun. With my decision being final, I threw the ball to summon Orwell.

“Oi, what’s that all about?” The bird shouted. He seemed to have a thick accent that I had never heard before. So this one could talk, too. Seemed that this phenomenon wasn’t just isolated to Caesar.

“Hi there, Orwell,” I said nervously. “You’re my first capture!”

“Orwell?” he repeated, unsure of himself. “This bloody wanker, of all the-”

“Do you not like it?” I questioned, unsure of myself.

Orwell seemed shocked. “You can understand me? Bloody hell, guess I’ll have to be a little more careful. Nah, the name’s great. Just…talking to myself.”

I wasn’t really convinced, but I didn’t want to pry so soon. “I guess we should get going. We’ve got a long journey ahead of us!” The team nodded and followed along close behind.

***

After a short walk, we finally reached Viridian City. This was the first stop on our journey, and it was time to stock up for the road ahead. After taking the team to the Pokemon Center to give them a little bit of rest, I made a quick stop at the nearby mart to pick up some Potions and Poke Balls. Luckily, Mom had given me a pretty nice chunk of change to get me started. Once I got everything prepared, I brought Caesar and Orwell back out to discuss our plans.

“So,” I said, “since we have the advantage of communication, I think it’s only fair that I consult with the team before I do anything. Do you guys just want to keep pushing forward? Or should we check out that other path off to the west?”

“Mate, I’m here to follow you!” Orwell assured me. “I’ll go where you go.”

“There could be a potential teammate to the west,” Caesar reminded me. “We won’t go too far out of the way, since the map says the Indigo Plateau gate is pretty close by.”

“Good plan,” I smiled, happy that my Bulbasaur was a smart one. Why did people pass on these Pokemon? The three of us made our way over to Route 22, and prepared for some training.
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K-NiGhT

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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 06:15:19 AM »

Update Three: The First Hurdle
The team and I had spent a few days slowly making our way to Pewter City. Along the way, we had made an addition to the team! After we had decided to go over to Route 22, we found a few Pokemon that seemed interesting. Unfortunately, due to certain laws that had been recently passed to protect the Pokemon population from over-capturing by Trainers, we could only actually choose one to potentially add to the team. The most zealous challenger was a male Nidoran. Caesar ended up taking him down with little effort, and a well-thrown Poke Ball from me sealed the deal. I had him decide what he wanted to be called with me, and the two of us decided on Raymundo. Since that name was a little long, he also gave us the option to nickname him Ray.

After that came the long, boring trek through Viridian Forest. There weren’t any Pokemon of note to catch in that area, so the three of us decided to skip it. I kept attempting to talk to Ray, but he kept quiet for most of the trip. It seemed that he was still trying to warm up to the idea of being on a team with us.
A first for us was finally getting to see some other Trainers that tried to battle us. Most of them were younger than me, probably fresh newbies themselves. The fights weren’t exciting at all, most of them were just tackling or scratching the enemy mercilessly. Even if they weren’t exciting, though, they were great for training. By the time we got to the other side of the forest, we were exhausted, but stronger than ever!

“Oi, Marshal,” Orwell chirped, “do ya think we’re ready to take on those Gyms yet?” While we were training, I had made a mention to the team of my final goal, and they all seemed to at least be on board for the short-term. Of course, it wasn’t like they had been up to much in the first place. They all seemed happy to have a purpose for the first time.

“I think we’ll have a good shot with a tiny bit more training,” I said, telling them like it was. “The fact remains that we don’t have any moves to outright beat this first Gym. Pewter City’s Gym Leader uses Rock type Pokemon, so that kind of narrows our options down to Caesar.” I glanced over at the Bulbasaur, who suddenly looked extremely worried.

“Do you really think I could beat them?” he asked timidly. I was never sure what he was being so shy for. He was so extremely smart, and continued to show improvement at a rate much higher than the other two. He was our ace in the hole, and there was no denying it. Orwell and Ray would’ve admitted it too at the time.

“Well, the worst thing that could happen is we lose and then try again another day after some more training,” I assured him. To my knowledge at that point, when Pokemon were unable to battle anymore, they merely fainted and awaited revival at a Pokemon Center. At least, that’s what they showed on TV and that was what we had always been told at school.

We made our way into the city and straight to the Pokemon Center. It had been a long day, and the sun was just starting to set. I decided that it’d be best for us to get a good night’s sleep for our challenge in the morning.

***

The next day could not have come soon enough. I was raring to go, and the team seemed to be energized as well. Orwell perched himself on my head as Caesar and Ray walked beside me on our trek across town to the Gym. I was starting to really enjoy the company of the team outside of their Poke Balls. Each one of them brought something distinct to the table, and while they were still a manageable size I didn’t see anything wrong with letting them walk beside me.

The walk to the Gym wasn’t as long as I was expecting it to be. Before I knew it, we were standing in front of an imposing stone building with a sliding glass door fixed jarringly into the side. When I say stone building, I literally mean that this thing literally was just a giant, hollowed-out rock.

I’m not sure what I expected when I walked in the door, but what I found was a shirtless dude standing on the other side of a regulation stadium carved out of stone. I assumed correctly that this was Brock, the leader of Pewter Gym. He looked extremely intimidating, fitting for someone of his status, I suppose. His eyes seemed to be perpetually closed, or maybe he was just very squint-y.

“I-I’m here to challenge the Gym,” I stammered. Why was I getting nervous now, of all times? This was the first big hurdle on my way to the top, but the fact remained that it was still only the first Gym. If this was going to happen every time, I’d be in for a long year of mental torture.

“I see,” Brock grunted. “I’m assuming you’re from Pallet Town, based on that Bulbasaur you have. Is this your first challenge?” There was an obvious tone of disgust in his voice, which was a little off-putting.

“Yes, I am, and yes, it is,” I answered.

The Leader sighed. “Let’s just get this over with.” He tossed out a Poke Ball, revealing a Geodude. At least the décor of the place wasn’t for nothing. In response, I sent Raymundo into battle.

That was my first mistake.

Ray charged in immediately, thankfully acting quicker than a sentient rock. He rapidly kicked the Geodude, but it didn’t seem to do too much.

Brock sighed. “As expected. Geodude, let’s end this.”

The next few moments are still kind of blurry in my mind, but they changed my life forever. Brock’s Geodude punched the ground of the stadium, causing a few rocks from the ceiling to fall straight for Ray. I’ll never know what possessed Orwell to do what he did, but none of us there that day would ever forget it. He flew into the battle immediately, pushing Ray out of the way of the boulders and taking the brunt of the attack.

“Orwell!” I screamed in disbelief. The attack was super-effective against the bird Pokemon. He was buried completely underneath the rock, unmoving. It seemed he had fainted, so I took his Poke Ball and attempted to return him to it. However, the Poke Ball seemed to be broken, as it wouldn’t activate the return function.

Brock looked on, his expression unchanging and cold. “I see…so they still haven’t been telling you Pallet Town kids the truth.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, starting to panic as things were connecting in my mind.

“Pokemon battles used to be much less brutal than they are now,” Brock explained. “Nowadays, fights don’t end when Pokemon faint. They are fights to the death.”

The Poke Ball cracked. I froze. My vision started becoming tunneled. Was Orwell really…dead? I hardly even got a chance to know him. It all happened so fast. Ray and Caesar looked similarly dazed and confused. Brock picked up on this and continued his harrowing explanation.

“Do you ever wonder why your little friends from Pallet Town don’t make any impact?” he asked. “Most of them never make it past me.”

Caesar had had enough at that point. “You’re not…getting away with this!” He shouted, charging in at Geodude. I had never heard Caesar have such an outburst before. He had always seemed so timid, but now inside of him I saw a deep, seething hatred. Before I even registered what was happening, Caesar had extended some vines out of the bulb on his back and swiped them at the Geodude with ridiculous speed and force, causing the rock to be split in two. “Vine Whip!”

Brock was flabbergasted. “No way,” he gasped.

I was still in shock. The scene unfolding around me was not one that I ever expected to take part in. While I was in the middle of having an existential crisis, Brock sent out his next Pokemon, a giant Onix. “I see,” he said. “You’re not quite like the others. Welcome to the real world, kid!”

Caesar roared, still in his violent rage. He smacked the giant beast with his new Vine Whip, causing it to crumble and fall immediately. It wasn’t dead, but that was fine. I didn’t want it to end like that, and I’m sure Caesar didn’t, either.

As the dust settled, Brock returned his Onix to his Poke Ball and walked over to me. “You did well,” he said somberly. “I’m sorry you had to find out this way, but the world won’t be as kind to you as you’ve been told.” He walked over to the pile of rocks where Orwell had been buried and dug the Pidgey out. He handed the lifeless body of my partner to me. “Your Pidgey was very brave, running in the way of a super-effective attack to save your Nidoran. He deserves a proper burial.”

I accepted Orwell and cradled him in my arms, still unable to speak. Tears were already starting to form in my eyes when I noticed the slate-colored emblem on his wing. The Boulder Badge. We had won. We were broken emotionally after our first Gym battle as we learned how cold the world would be to us, but we had won. Through Orwell’s sacrifice, we would later find a stronger resolve to continue.

A few hours later, the three of us made our way to a field on the edge of Pewter City, where we buried Orwell. None of us had spoken the whole time. No words needed to be said.
Finally, as we stood atop the hill, Raymundo spoke up. “I can’t believe he did that for me. Why did he save me?”

“He saw something in you, I think,” Caesar said quietly. “He knew that you had a much bigger role to play in the future than he would. He told me as much.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been so…abrasive,” Ray apologized. “It’s just that I’ve never been part of something like this before. I was scared. But Orwell’s sacrifice woke me up. I’ll do whatever I can for this team, if you still want me around.”

“Of course we do,” I assured him. “Orwell was right. You have a big role to play in the future, as long as you stick with us.” The three of us stood in silence as we mourned the loss of our friend.
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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 10:25:15 PM »

Update Four: Light in the Tunnel
Our motley crew of four had been reduced to three. Ray, Caesar and I finally pressed onward toward Route 4, the memory of Orwell still lodged deep in our hearts. While it was definitely painful to think about, it also gave us a strong resolve. We weren’t going to let this break us. Orwell wouldn’t have wanted that for us.

There was a small gauntlet of Trainers along the way to Mt. Moon, but they all seemed…lost, somehow. To have gotten this far, they would’ve had to beat Brock, but it seemed that the cost of victory had damaged them all mentally and emotionally. They all had been cast out into the world too early, and they weren’t ready to handle what it had to offer. None of them were especially difficult to defeat, but they were at least decent enough for training. Caesar and Ray kept getting stronger and stronger, but restrained themselves from killing their opponents. These kids had likely been through enough already.

After almost two hours of constant walking and battling, we reached the Pokemon Center at the foot of the cave. It was getting late, so we decided to sleep there for the night before setting out for the cave in the morning. I put Caesar and Ray back in their Poke Balls and handed them to the nurse on duty to give them a little TLC. They had definitely earned it.

While I was waiting for them to be done, I decided to go get a room for the night. While I was over there, I met a man who would change the course of my journey forever. An older gentleman was off trying to sell the contents of a Poke Ball to a younger boy, who was vehemently refusing. I decided to walk over and see what all the fuss was. “Excuse me,” I interjected, “what’s going on over here?”

The man was distracted by me for a moment, giving a chance for the Youngster to sneak away. “Hello, there!” he said to me, a huge grin appearing on his face. He seemed to completely forget about the last kid and moved straight on to me. “Have I got a deal just for you! I'll let you have a swell Magikarp for just 500 Pen! What do you say?”

I took a moment to think about it. Magikarp wasn’t all that powerful, but it could become a formidable threat to anyone once it evolved. The fact that I could obtain one so quickly and train it up to be a serious threat on the team seemed like a good deal, even if 500 Pen was almost enough to buy three Poke Balls. This guy probably wasn’t taking care of the poor thing, either, and I couldn’t let that go. “All right,” I said. “I’ll take you up on that!”

The salesman’s smile was broken for a moment, probably because he didn’t think anyone with half a brain would actually buy a Magikarp. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the 500 Pen, and we exchanged the money for the Poke Ball. The man counted all the bills individually to make sure he wasn’t actually the one being scammed. “Gee, thanks, kid!” he said, clearly happy. “No refunds now, understand?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” I grinned, actually excited with my new purchase. Raising this little guy would be a great challenge, but the payoff would be incredible later on. With that out of the way, I got myself a room for the night and went back to pick up Caesar and Raymundo from the nurse’s station.

Once in my room, I let Caesar and Ray out to break the news to them. “Hope you guys had a good healing session,” I said, greeting them.

“I do feel a little better,” Caesar noted timidly. It seemed he was back to his usual self, which made me wonder how he had ever come up with the gumption to have an outburst as crazily as he did.

“Yeah, bro, I’m back to top shape!” Ray said. He was small, but he could sure act macho! Since Orwell’s passing, he was a lot more talkative. I was starting to get a better glimpse into his personality.

I smiled. “Well, while you guys were getting some rest, I bought us a new teammate!”

The two of them looked shocked. “You bought a Pokemon?” Caesar repeated, slightly shocked. That probably seemed a lot stranger to them. Ray was giving me a weird look, so I decided to clarify.

“Well, this man was trying to sell it because he didn’t want it, but nobody was buying,” I recounted. “I figured he wasn’t going to take care of the poor thing, so I took it off his hands.” I walked over to the large fish tank to give the new teammate some water to float in for his first time out. “Come on out, Magikarp!”

The name alone was enough to earn a groan from both Caesar and Ray as the Poke Ball’s contents revealed themselves. A giant red fish with long whiskers and a cream-colored fin stared at us from inside the tank. “Y-you’re n-n-not the old m-m-m-man,” the scared creature stammered.

“Are you serious, bro?” Ray scoffed. “There’s no way he’ll last.”

“Nonsense, Ray!” I scolded. “He’ll be amazing. We just have to take good care of him.” I turned back over to Magikarp. “My name’s Marshal. I’ll be taking care of you from now on,” I explained. “Do you have a name?”

The poor fish was still processing, but still managed to talk to me. “Um…the old man used to call me Bepis, but I’m not sure…”

“Bepis sounds cute!” I said joyously. “I like that name. Welcome to the team, Bepis!”

If I didn’t know any better, I could’ve sworn that Bepis was blushing then. “Thanks! I’ll d-do my best!”

“Marshal’s lost it,” Ray mumbled to Caesar. I decided to ignore him. I knew exactly what I was doing, and hopefully Raymundo would see it one day. With that in mind, I went to sleep for the night.

***

The next day, the three of us set off for Mt. Moon. I offered to let Bepis stay in the Poke Ball, and he happily obliged. The cave was brighter inside than I expected it to be. There were lights strewn about the place that helped us get around.

“This place is kinda creepy,” Caesar muttered. I agreed with him, but I didn’t want to say it. The team was already nervous; I didn’t want to make the situation worse.
We had hit a darker patch of the cave when I tripped over something and fell over. A Poke Ball fell out of my Bag and a flash of light signaled a successful capture.

“Are you okay, bro?” Ray asked. “What was that?”

My butt hurt a bit, but I was otherwise unharmed. “I’m alright,” I assured him. I stumbled around on the ground, trying to find the Poke Ball that had apparently captured something. I found it, got up, and led the team to a nearby lantern to see what we had gotten.

“Come on out,” I said quietly. The Poke Ball popped open to reveal…a Paras. The little bug looked like he wasn’t all there, and just stared at the three of us like we were the most interesting thing he had ever seen in his life. The three of us stared at him uncomfortably for a while.

“This guy looks like he’s high out of his mind,” Ray commented after a while. There was no reaction from the Paras.

I was inclined to agree with Ray on this one. “I think I’ll call him…Hichan,” I decided, making a stupid joke out of the poor creature’s name.

“I think it might be the mushrooms on his back,” Caesar hypothesized. “They’re parasitic, and after a while they take total control of Paras.”

A quick look at my Pokedex confirmed what Caesar was saying. “You sure know a lot,” I observed. I had a feeling that Caesar was smart, but he almost seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of other species of Pokemon. He even was able to tell me things about Pokemon we had encountered that the Pokedex didn’t even know!

“Well, I’ve been stuck in the lab for a long time,” the Bulbasaur reminded me. “You tend to pick up a few things in a place like that.” I was really lucky to have a partner like him, but even luckier still that I was somehow able to understand him and the others. I had really started taking it for granted, but it seemed to be a gift that was only afforded to me.

Our brief moment of reflection was cut short when a gruff voice rang through the cave corridor. “Who’s there?” I quickly ran into the nearby shadows and expected the team to follow along. As expected, Ray and Caesar did without an issue, but Hichan seemed to be incapable of movement. Did he even realize that he had been captured?

“Hichan!” I whispered sharply from the shadows. “Get over here!”

But it was too late. The damage had been done. That was the first time that I would come face-to-face with a member of Team Rocket. He looked just like the rest of them in his black uniform with the bold red letter “R” on the chest.

“Heh, just a stupid Paras,” the ruffian mumbled. He kicked Hichan farther down the hallway and threw out a Poke Ball. The three of us were shocked at the act of brutality. Caesar and Ray both tensed up, angered and ready to fight, but I couldn’t just give away our position like that. I held the two of them back and watched helplessly as the grunt sent out a terrifying Raticate.

“Get this trash out of the way,” he growled. The Raticate growled savagely and lunged at Hichan, baring its fangs. Before any of us could register what was happening, the rat’s jaws clamped down on our new teammate. Still, the Paras didn’t even react as the razor-sharp fangs cleaved him in two. Just as soon as we had gotten a new member of the team, he was gone in an instant, probably unaware of what had become of him in his final moments.

Something in the three of us snapped in that moment. Hichan had literally been part of the team for about two minutes, but the fact remained that he was part of our family. And just as soon as he had been brought in, he had been ripped away by this terrible man and his savage Raticate. The rage and sadness that consumed all of us would actually trigger something in both Caesar and Raymundo. The two of them began to glow with a brilliant light, revealing our location to the Rocket Grunt. His face changed from a smug grin to shock and fear.

When the light died down, I couldn’t see either of my team members, but they wasted no time in attacking the Rocket Grunt. Before I realized what was going on, the Rocket Grunt was running the other way, a terribly injured Raticate following behind. I looked back at Caesar and Ray, who were now standing underneath the lantern. The two of them looked different. They were both bigger, for one thing. The bulb on Caesar’s back had started to bloom.

“You guys look…different,” I said, unsure of what else to say. “Looks like you evolved!”

The two of them both looked themselves over the best they could, and looked over at each other. “Bro, you’re looking good!” Ray said to Caesar.

Caesar seemed unsure how to handle the compliment and just blushed. “Th-thanks, I guess,” he mumbled awkwardly. No matter how much they changed, the two of them would still be the same Pokemon I met. At least, that’s what I first thought.

With the battle being over as quickly it had begun, I looked over at the remains of Hichan. “Sorry, buddy,” I said somberly. “I wish we could’ve been together longer.” The memory of our short-lived Paras friend would continue as we exited the cave toward the next step on our journey, Cerulean City.
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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 09:02:50 AM »

Update Five: Thorn in the Side
The sight of the other side of Route 4 was breathtaking compared to the awful memories of Mt. Moon. There didn’t seem to be any Trainers nearby, so I decided to find a nice spot to let the team relax. We’d spend the rest of the day enjoying the scenery and training before we made our way to Cerulean City.

After a bit of walking, we found a small lake with a big tree nearby. Caesar and Ray collapsed under the shade of the tree while I walked over to the lake shore and got out Bepis’ Poke Ball. I threw the Ball in the lake, letting out the big lug.

The Magikarp seemed ecstatic to be out of the Ball and into some fresh water. The lake we had chosen was beautiful and clear, a gesture that surely was appreciated by Bepis.

“Ah!” he sighed happily. “Nice to be out and about again.” Upon seeing me, he seemed a bit nervous, but regained his composure the best he could. “Oh, h-hi there, M-M-Marshal! How’s it g-g-g-g-”

“Easy, buddy,” I said, trying to keep the poor little fish from having an aneurysm. Clearly, regaining his composure the best he could meant having a panic attack. “You can relax. We’re just here to take a break before heading into the next town, and I thought I’d let you out for a little swim.”

After a few seconds, it seemed like Bepis’ heart rate had slowed down to levels that could maybe be considered normal. “Oh,” he said, exhaling sharply. “That’s kind of you. Thank you.” He took off slowly into the lake, probably still trying to calm down. That would take some getting used to. What kind of opponent would be intimidated by a Gyarados who had a panic attack at the very sight of another person?

With that out of the way, I made my way over to the tree, where Caesar and Ray were resting up for the journey ahead. Training could wait for a bit later. For now, the team and I had earned a short rest.

***

Bepis later told me this next bit. Sometime while Caesar and I were sleeping, Raymundo got up and took a lap around the lakeside until he caught up with Bepis. “Hey, ‘Karp!” he shouted.

That, of course, did wonders for my poor fish’s anxiety. I knew I had heard something resembling a yelp while I was sleeping, but I was so tired that I ignored it. “W-w-w-w-what?” he stammered. The fact that he had even managed to get that word out was a feat in and of itself.

“Sorry,” Ray sighed, not his usual bro-y self. “Bepis was your name, right?”

“Th-that’s right,” Bepis stated, a little more clearly.

“I just wanted to come and apologize for the way I acted around you last night,” the Nidorino muttered. “We got off on the wrong foot, and that’s my bad. I just figured that since-”

“Hey, I get it,” Bepis interrupted, not needing Ray to finish his unintentionally racist statement. “In fact, I don’t even think that you’re that far off the mark. I am just a Magikarp, after all. As it stands, I’m not doing much for this team.”

“Yeah, but it won’t always be that way,” Raymundo reminded him. “Everyone seems to forget the crazy potential Pokemon like you have.”

Bepis blushed. “You’re being awfully nice,” he noted. “What’s bringing this on?”

Raymundo sighed. “I won’t lie to you, kiddo,” he said flatly. “We had another loss in the cave today. Poor bastard didn’t even last on the team more than ten minutes. Seeing him die made me realize that any of us could be taken out at any time, and holding grudges and being petty wasn’t going to help anyone.” The shift in his tone was enough to scare Bepis, but Ray continued on. “That’s why I’m asking if we can start over again, but as friends this time. Is that alright?”

Bepis told me that he was happier in that moment than he had ever been before. “Of course, bro,” he said, winking to Ray. “From now on, we’re friends!”

Ray looked relieved. He didn’t really say much else after that.

***

A little while later, I woke up to find my three Pokemon next to the shore training. Caesar had managed to extend the range of his Vine Whip a few inches, and Ray’s tackling prowess looked to be constantly improving. Even Bepis was out of the water, flopping around! I was a little concerned at first, but figured that he was passionate about getting stronger and evolving. Seeing his two teammates evolve like they had probably lit a fire under his fins that burned hotter than ever.

“Hey, guys,” I muttered groggily. “You could’ve let me know that you had started!”

“We didn’t want to disturb your beauty rest,” Raymundo smirked. “You always look like you need more of it!”

Did Ray just…sass me? I couldn’t help but laugh. He seemed to be in a lot better mood recently, especially considering the last few days of our journey had been extremely rough.

“Well, I appreciate the thought, guys,” I chuckled. “What do you say we get moving?” They all nodded in unison, so I returned Bepis to his Poke Ball and we continued our march towards Cerulean City.

***

As it turned out, the makeshift campsite we had stopped at was on the outskirts of the city, so we made pretty good time. It was still the middle of the afternoon when we arrived at the Pokemon Center. I reserved a room and had the nurse do a quick check on the team before heading back out into the city.

Caesar looked around. “I haven’t seen the Gym yet,” he observed. “Do you think anyone here would give us directions?”

“Let’s just keep looking,” I said stubbornly. “I’m not in any rush to run into another Gym Battle like the other day. We’ll challenge Misty’s Gym tomorrow.”

Caesar seemed to be lost in thought. Eventually, we found the giant building that housed the Cerulean Gym, but I could hardly look at it as we silently passed by. I was not looking forward to going back into another one of those death traps. The stakes were much higher now. We still had only three members of the team, and I was really getting attached to all of them at this point. I couldn’t afford another loss here.

Instead, I decided to go exploring on the Route north of the city. The world-famous Nugget Bridge was just up ahead, but with it came a very unpleasant familiar face.

“Marshal!” squeaked Colin Oak. “You’re still struggling along back here?”

I groaned as the grandson of the great professor strutted down the bridge towards me and the team. I thought I had been rid of him after he sprinted out of the lab after getting his starter, but it seemed that fate had other plans. Also, fate was a dick.

“I’m doing just fine, thanks,” I said, exasperation dripping in my tone. I didn’t expect the ten-year-old to notice or care.

“I’m doing great!” he shouted obnoxiously, even though I didn’t ask. “I’ve caught a lot of strong and smart Pokemon! Let’s see how you’re doing!”

Crap. I didn’t really want to do any more battling today, but if I didn’t accept his challenge I could be reported to the League and banned from participating. “Fine,” I muttered. “But we’ll do three on three. I’ve only got these three Pokemon.”

“Sounds good to me!” he agreed. “I’ll still stomp you flat!” He chucked a Poke Ball, revealing a Pidgeotto, the creature that Orwell would’ve evolved to had he still been around. It stung a bit, seeing how majestic our bird friend could’ve been.

I looked over at Caesar. “You’re up,” I said, motioning for him to enter the battlefield.

“Are you crazy?” he shrieked. “I can’t go up against a Flying type! I’ll get murdered!”

“I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know any Flying type moves,” I reminded him. “While I was reading up what Orwell’s attacks were, I found out that his evolution line doesn’t really learn any Flying type attacks until much later. You’ll be fine!”

Caesar took a second to consider, then nodded. “You’re right. This will be easy!” He jumped straight out there as Colin gave me a weird look.

“Were you just talking to your Pokemon?” he asked, a dopey look on his face.

I realized in that moment that it wasn’t that common of an occurrence, and I freaked out for a moment. “N-no!” I stammered.

“Whatever, weirdo,” Colin grumbled. “Let’s just fight, already.”

That was all the prompting Caesar needed to tackle his way straight into the Pidgeotto. The fight was kind of uninspiring, with the two combatants just chucking basic moves at each other, but it ended quickly. Caesar had dispatched the opponent, but he was looking a little worse for wear. As Colin returned his Pidgeotto to its Poke Ball, I called Caesar back as well.

“That was luck!” Colin shouted angrily. “Let’s see how you deal with this one!” Another Poke Ball opened to reveal a Rattata. They weren’t very threatening Pokemon, so I sent out Raymundo to dispose of it easily.

This fight was even shorter than the last one! It seemed that Colin was more concerned with collecting Pokemon at this point than raising them properly. He probably had some way to bypass the single capture law, since he was the professor’s grandson. He had quite a collection of filled Poke Balls in his open Bag, but he probably hadn’t taken the time to train or bond with any of them. A well-placed Horn Attack from Raymundo sent Rattata reeling back to Colin’s feet.

“Tch,” the little twerp scoffed. “Useless!”

“He’d be stronger if you cared more for him,” I lectured. “I may not have as many Pokemon as you, but at least I know how to raise them properly.”

Colin looked angry. “That’s it!” he screeched. “No mercy! Come on out, Abra!” I was initially terrified when he made the announcement that he was sending out a Psychic type, but couldn’t keep a straight face when I figured out the truth. The Abra Colin had caught was fast asleep!

“Abra have a sleep schedule of around 18 hours a day,” Caesar recited. “It might teleport around a bit reflexively to avoid attacks, but other than that it’s completely defenseless!”
Hearing that gave me a great idea. I was going to embarrass this kid so badly he’d maybe leave me alone for a little while. I took out Bepis’ Poke Ball and let him loose on top of the bridge.

After the initial flash of light, the Magikarp flopped around on the bridge in a panic. “W-where’s the water?” he asked nervously.

“Sorry, bud,” I said empathetically. Some Water types could survive out of water for a while, but I felt bad for Bepis. “I just need you to test your new move on that Abra over there.”

Bepis seemed really worried at first, but quickly picked up on the situation. “I-I’ll do my best!”

Colin, not understanding the situation, just laughed. “A Magikarp? Man, I knew you were dumb, but this is just ridiculous! What is that thing going to do to my powerful Pokemon?”

“Plenty,” I retorted. “Bepis, use Tackle! Hit it ‘til it dies!”

Bepis quite literally sprang into action. With a jumping ability that I had never seen before, the fish out of water barreled through the air and straight into Colin’s Abra with a mighty thud. It seemed to actually do more damage than I had anticipated! Of course, the Abra teleported away after being hit, but it couldn’t get far. Even if it had managed to get off the bridge, we were still surrounded by water. Bepis was at a huge advantage here. He quickly pinpointed the new location and leaped through the air, slamming his huge body into the Psychic type.

Everyone watching was amazed. Caesar and Ray were nearly bug-eyed, and their reactions didn’t even compare to Colin’s, who must have been so upset that he was about to lose to a Magikarp. As the final Tackle hit, Abra crashed into the ground after Bepis intercepted him accidentally mid-Teleport.

The silence spoke volumes. Bepis ceased flopping, looking back at us. “Did…I win?”

“Yeah, you did!” I said, trying to hold back my laughter. It wasn’t anything against Bepis, he had worked hard for that victory! I just couldn’t get enough of the fact that Colin had lost to a Magikarp!

“This is ridiculous!” he cried. “Someone told me Abra is one of the most powerful Pokemon out there! How could I lose to something so…so weak?”

“Because you didn’t do your research,” I reminded him. “That’s the difference between you and me, Colin. You’ve gotten by so far on sheer dumb luck. I’ve clawed my way to where I am thus far, and my team and I are going to keep clawing all the way to the top.”

“Whatever,” he scoffed. “You’re just jealous of all my natural talent! Smell ya later, dork!” Just like that, Colin Oak left in a huff. I felt bad for the things that kid was going to do to the Oak family name. While he was running into town, though, I noticed some sort of rock fall out of his Bag. I went over and picked it up curiously. I figured Colin wouldn’t miss it. It looked pretty useful, though!

“What now?” Caesar asked me quietly. “The day is still fairly young. I heard the Pokemaniac Bill lives up on the cape. We could go pay him a visit and learn some things from him if you wanted.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” I agreed. “Onward, team!” I returned Bepis to his Poke Ball and let the others walk alongside me as we walked along the Nugget Bridge.
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K-NiGhT

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Re: Cracked: A Nuzlocke Story
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 10:17:30 PM »

Update Six: Cut and Dry
So, I was expecting a nice stroll up to the cape, enjoying the scenery as the team and I marched across the beautiful golden Nugget Bridge. I’ve since learned to throw my expectations to the curb.

There were Trainers everywhere. Apparently today marked the anniversary of the bridge’s completion and they were holding a contest to see who could run the gauntlet of Trainers. Anyone who made it to the end would receive an amazing prize, or so they said.

At the very least, it was a good way to train. Bepis had probably had too much excitement after fighting with Colin’s Abra, so I let him rest in the Poke Ball for a bit. Caesar and Ray got some much-needed training out of the deal, so it all worked out splendidly. We got to the other side of the bridge, where we received our prize: a solid gold Nugget. It was useless to us, but it definitely proved to be worth quite a bit on the market, giving us money to buy supplies later.

After getting to the other side of the bridge, we traveled through the strange looking hedge maze that littered Route 25. There were Trainers scattered here and there, but none of them were anything to write home about. There was the odd Hiker here and there that served Caesar’s growth immensely, though. Based on what I’d heard about the Gym here in town, we’d have no issues if Caesar just went in by himself.

After a little while, we reached the mansion on the cape belonging to that Bill guy that Colin had told me about. We knocked on the door and went inside to find a horrible half-human, half-Clefairy monstrosity. Allegedly, he had messed up an experiment with a teleporter, so we helped him out.

“Thanks!” he said, breathing a sigh of relief, running a hand through his hair. “I’d love to repay you in some way. How about I increase the storage space on your PC storage account?”

“That’s ok,” I said, turning down the offer. “Actually, I was wondering if you could tell me what this is.” I reached into my Bag and pulled out the weird stone that Colin had dropped. I had kept it around because something about it felt extremely intriguing, but I figured that if anyone had an opinion on it, it’d be Bill.

He looked at it closely, and came to a conclusion. “This looks like a Moon Stone,” he explained. “People usually find these around the area thanks to the meteorite strike on Mt. Moon a few years ago. It’s used to evolve certain Pokemon. As a matter of fact…” he looked at my team, and stared at Raymundo for a moment. “I think it would actually be able to evolve your Nidorino, there.”

“Wow, really?” I said, shocked. “That’d be amazing!” Ray was already super strong, and evolving him further would just make him ridiculously powerful. I turned over to my little purple beast. “What do you think?”

Ray seemed uncertain, which was surprising to me. He always seemed so excited to be getting stronger. I think he was the type to call it, “making gains” or something like that. “I’m not sure, man,” he said, looking down at the ground. “Let me sleep on it. I’m not sure I’m ready for another big change so soon.”

Hopefully, Bill noticed Ray’s concern by his actions so I didn’t look like a total lunatic when I said, “I think we’re going to wait a little while.”

“Really?” he seemed shocked. “Your loss, I guess. Nidoking would be ridiculously strong, but it’s your decision.” I wanted to tell him that it was actually Raymundo’s decision, but I don’t think he would’ve gotten it.

“Anyway,” I said, trying to grind the conversation to a halt, “I think it’s starting to get late. I should really get back to the Pokemon Center with these guys. We’ve got to be rested up for our big Gym challenge tomorrow!”

Bill nodded. “Those Gyms are pretty tough. Make sure you get plenty of rest!” As we turned to leave, he stuffed something into my pocket. I turned around, a little confused. “Consider it a parting gift,” he winked. “Come on back if you have any burning questions for the greatest engineering mind in Kanto!” I was a little creeped out by the random gift, but wasn’t going to question it. With that out of the way, the three of us ran back to town as the sun set behind us.

***

The next morning felt like it came too soon. I think the only person that had slept well that night was Bepis, and he wasn’t even participating in the battle! The rest of us knew the consequences of losing this time around, and while we felt more prepared than ever, it still mortified us all.

Caesar looked at me as we walked to the Gym. “Do you really think we stand a chance today? Our numbers are lower than they would normally be by this point.”

“You’re the smart one here,” I reminded him. “Why don’t you tell me?”

“Well, we do hold the overwhelming type advantage purely by having me on the team,” he surmised, “but rumor has it that she has a Starmie on her team. If that thing has a Psychic type move, Ray and I are at a huge disadvantage-”

“Okay,” I interrupted, not wanting to hear any more of the depressing ramblings of an Ivysaur that was too smart for his own damn good. “Let’s just get this over with.”

Before we knew it, the Cerulean Gym was there to greet us. The actual stadium for Gym challenges surrounded by a beautiful aquarium housing every Water type Pokemon that lived in Kanto. We decided to have a quick tour before finally stopping in to do our challenge. It definitely helped lighten the mood a bit, which was likely why they had put it there in the first place. After we finished, I returned Raymundo to his Poke Ball and walked out of a door to the Gym’s actual battlefield.

The battlefield was insanely beautiful. The floor was made of a thick glass that gave a view of the aquarium underneath. It was also surrounded by water, likely to put the Leader at an advantage. Speaking of which, the orange-haired tomboy of the seas, Misty herself, stood on the other side of the arena. It looked like she had been waiting there a while.

“Took you long enough!” She shouted at me. “You must have enjoyed the aquarium. Or were you just scared?”

“A little bit of both, I suppose,” I admitted, not wanting to lie. “I’m ready now, though!”

“Good, because we’re getting started right away! I’m Misty, and I use an all-out offensive with Water types! Think you can take me down?” After she finished her strange little spiel, she threw out a Poke Ball that contained a brown starfish with a jewel in the center. The Pokedex identified it as Staryu, a species I had never encountered or heard about before.

Caesar and I exchanged a glance, then he nodded and jumped out onto the platform so the battle could begin. The sound of an airhorn signaled the beginning of the match, and Caesar wasted no time in extending out a Vine Whip and slamming the enemy Staryu straight into the ground. I didn’t even have to shout out an attack!

Misty was shocked, but also seemed impressed. She smirked at the two of us. “You guys are good,” she admitted, “but that’s not going to save you from what comes next!” She returned the unconscious Staryu to its Poke Ball, revealing that the force from Caesar’s Vine Whip had actually left a crack in the glass stadium’s floor.

“Way to go, Caesar!” I praised. “Keep it up!”

My Ivysaur looked back at me and grinned happily, but quickly refocused his attention on the battle when Misty threw out her next Poke Ball, revealing Starmie. This was the evolved form of the Staryu she had sent out before, so it would probably have been more dangerous if Caesar wasn’t already halfway to Vine Whipping it into the ground. The attack was powerful, but not quite enough to finish off Misty’s ace in the hole.

“Now, Starmie!” she shouted out. “Use Confusion!”

I froze. Caesar was weak to Psychic attacks. I knew this, and yet I still sent him in without even thinking. He literally explained this to me before we came in and I chose not to listen to him and oh god no I couldn't lose Caesar like this. My heart skipped several beats as Starmie began to glow with a blue aura, and Caesar did as well. The poor guy looked like he was in a lot of pain as Starmie lifted him off the ground with its Psychic powers and slammed him into a nearby wall. Caesar was injured, but he managed to pick himself up on the edge of the pool. There was a great distance between him and the battlefield now, which was worrisome.

“Type matchups aren’t always as cut and dry as they seem,” Misty lectured, putting a palm to her face. “You assumed that because I was a Water type Trainer that I wouldn’t have any countermeasures for a Grass and Poison type like your Ivysaur? That’s not very strategic thinking. Now my Starmie is out of range of your Ivysaur’s attack, and it’ll only take one more Psychic type attack to end this.”

Panic was starting to set in, but Caesar picked up on my worries and did what he could to cheer me up. “She’s wrong!” he shouted to me. “I can still fight! We have to finish this here!”

I didn’t really want to respond to Caesar directly, as I was still not sure how people around me would react to the fact that I could talk to my team, but I decided to use Caesar’s confidence to reinforce my own. I smirked and pointed at Misty. “That’s where you’re wrong,” I said confidently. “This isn’t over until I say it is! Caesar, Vine Whip!”

Misty’s face turned from condescension to fear in an instant. “What?” she shrieked. “Th-there’s no way you can attack from that far away!” Her words would prove untrue, though, as Caesar’s vines extended past the normal range and grabbed Starmie. Since learning the technique, Caesar had been working to extend the vines’ range. He had managed to surpass everyone’s expectations and claw his way out of a scary situation. With Starmie in his grasp, he used it as a brace to launch himself back into the stadium. When he got close enough, he flipped around, sweeping Starmie off its weird starfish legs and into the air. Caesar did a full somersault and the centrifugal force came around full-force at Starmie, causing it to slam into the ground with a mighty thud. The force of the impact was so great that a huge chunk was taken out of the stadium. A few shards of glass could be seen floating around.

The battle was over so quickly, Misty didn’t even have time to react to anything. She just stood there, her mouth agape, as she watched her carefully trained team get soundly defeated by some random kid and his Ivysaur. “I…don’t even know what to say to that,” she admitted, hanging her head in shame and returning her Starmie to its Poke Ball. Caesar’s maneuver had been so incredible that it even left a Gym Leader speechless! This was one of our most crushing victories yet, and it felt so good to make it out without any casualties.

“Thanks for the match,” I said, trying to be as humble as possible after the team’s victory. “Sorry about the chunk taken out of your stadium.”

Misty looked back up at me, then down at the crater we had left in the arena. “Oh, that?” she said nonchalantly. “That’s nothing. Happens all the time. The crew around here will get it fixed in no time. That’s what happens when you make a regulation stadium completely out of glass! In the meantime, though, I’ve got to present you with the Cascade Badge!” She jogged over to me and closed her hands around mine for a second before quickly letting go. I opened my closed fist to find a raindrop-shaped pin, our second badge of eight.

“Thanks,” I said, giving her a silly grin. I couldn’t help myself! I was just so happy that we had managed to get by that I’d probably be grinning like an idiot for the rest of the day.

“You’re pretty tough!” Misty said, winking at me. “I’ll be rooting for you!”

***

Before I knew it, we were out of the Gym and preparing ourselves to leave Cerulean City. I let the rest of the team out and told them of Caesar’s incredible victory. They both were extremely elated to hear that he had done so well.

“I knew you had it in you, bro!” Raymundo congratulated, bumping sides with Caesar.

“Never doubted you for a second!” Bepis agreed. For a moment, Bepis had said something without stuttering! The rest of us looked at him, surprised. It seemed like he was finally gaining a little more confidence after his victory against Colin’s Abra yesterday.

Caesar just blushed at their compliments. “Thanks, guys,” he said timidly. He was always so damn modest, but that was probably for the best. Someone like Ray would’ve let the victory go to his head and would’ve started feeling invincible, but not Caesar. I think deep down he always knew to keep a level head about any situation.

“We still have a long way to go if we’re going to make this team into the Champions I know we can all be,” I reminded them. “Let’s keep moving! Next stop, Vermilion City!” The team all voiced their agreement, so we walked down the road out of town and toward our next Gym battle.
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