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Zane Bell

The grandson of the Champion Alder.

2 · 1,024 views · located in Castelia City

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by LookingAtPerks


--------------------------------------------------------===========Pokémon Trainer Database Profile===========-----------------------------------------------------------------
Name: Zane BellAge: 10

Occupation: TrainerPersonality Traits: Eccentric, friendly, energetic, adventurous.

Additional Description: Red hair, red eyes, has a Pokémon tooth shaped rock with some inscriptions on it he once found while traveling with his grandfather the Champion Alder hanging around his neck, usually wears casual clothing such as sneakers and what not, has a red and white striped hoodie he also wears. He also wears some goggles as well, and keeps some clothes for any weather situation.

Zane only has one preference with Pokémon. He has to like them, and they have to be friendly at least in some way with him. While Zane loves a good battle, he also cares about his Pokémon, and packs more medicine then anything else. Alder also taught him about all sorts of PokeItems, so he carries around a small arsenal, barely having any room for clothes or food for himself.

History: For most of his life, Zane was raised by his grandfather, for a variety of reasons. One of them was that his mother disappeared when he was three, and his father later when he got a lead he never shared about where his missing mother was. As a result, Zane grew up around Pokémon a lot, since Alder was busy a lot. This allows Zane a greater understanding of how Pokémon communicate. He can never know what they say with 100% certainty, at least not right now, but he always gets the general idea. Some people think he would make a great Pokémon reporter, analyst, or doctor, due to the fact he understands them so well...though sometimes it can seem like he doesn't understand anything at all...

He has several Pokémon Partners. These are the current ones:

PokeName: Oshawott

Nickname: Otto

Health: +++++
Attack: ++++++
Defense: ++++
Spc. Attack: +++++
Spc. Defense: ++++
Speed: +++
Evasion: +++

Water Gun
Surf (cannot carry others though)
(Unknown. Will be revealed when needed or if asked by Ruula officials) (it is a water type move)

Special Ability:
Torrent (Powers up Water Moves when hurt significantly)
Shell Armor (prevents Critical Hits)

Held Item: A matching Pokémon Tooth shaped Rock with inscriptions on it, identical to the one Zane has, Zane found them both. Gives bonus power to attack and Spc. Attack so long as he and Zane are not fighting and are on good terms with each other. The strength of that bond does NOT increase or decrease its power, only the bond's existence matters.

Personality: Oshawott never is inside its Pokeball so long as he can help it. This is partially because of his nature, being playful and silly, as well as caring and authoritive. On occasion, Oshawott will actually be leading Zane around, since Zane has no sense of direction. He also pulls pranks on him repeatedly, and will use Water Gun on Zane to keep him bathed and clean, making him both responsible and pranksterish, because he always gets Zane's clothes soaking wet and forces him to dry them and change. He will also do it whenever Zane says something stupid, or when he makes a witty remark about Oshawott. Its occasionally wondered which one is the trainer.

Other: Oshawott is exceptionally strong for a starter, but also has a lot of control. He can hit Zane with a water gun just strong enough to bother him, without causing him any physical harm or damage.

Pokename: Emolga

Nickname: Sparks

Health: ++++
Attack: +++++
Defense: ++
Spc. Attack: +++++
Spc. Defense: ++
Speed: +++++++
Evasion: +++++++

Double Team
Aerial Ace
Quick Attack

Special Abilities:
Static and Motor Drive

Held Item: Magnet

Personality: Emolga is quick and hyper, and is always full of energy. As a result, it is often getting itself, and subsequently the others, into trouble. Additionally, Sparks and Otto often have verbal fights, because Sparks only takes commands from Zane, and sometimes it might ignore them unless in a battle. Sparks always comes through in the end though, and makes sure never to disappoint. However, it can be extremely tricksterish as well, and despite their feud, will work with Otto to prank people, including Zane. They have no qualms about embarrassing him. However, if anyone else tries to mess with him, or hurt him or Otto in any way, Sparks will jump into the attack if need be to save them.

Other: While not as strong as Otto, much like other Emolga, Sparks is exceptionally fast. This Emolga was given to Zane by his grandfather, Alder, and he chose it because it was the best he had, and one of the friendliest. While still young, this Emolga is quite exceptional, as should be expected of a gift from the Champion.

Pokename: Litwick

Nickname: Simmer

Health: +++++
Attack: +++
Defense: ++++++
Spc. Attack: +++++++
Spc. Defense: ++++++
Speed: ++
Evasion: ++++

Confuse Ray
Fire Spin

Special Abilities:
Flash Fire and Infiltrator.

Held Item: None ATM

Personality: Simmer was met on Route 2 being chased by a Simisear named Baston. Zane and Otto fought off the rogue fire Pokémon, but ended up losing because Baston was a much higher level then Otto. Sparks tried to jump in, but Simmer decided to defend her new friends since they had been hurt trying to help her. A friendly treeko named Darrgh stepped in as well, and the two teamed up and beat Baston. Now Simmer travels with Zane as his Pokémon, and Darr is following them as well. Simmer is extremely grateful for everything her new friends have done for her, and she is extra impressed with his ability to communicate. On occasion, Simmer shows affectionate feelings for both Zane and Otto. She will also do anything she believes will help protect them.

Other: Simmer's strength is its defense, special defense, and special attack. In other words, Simmer can take the hits, and deal out some powerful special attacks. This means it is better at fighting from a distance, unlike her knight in shining Armor Otto, who prefers close quarters combat.

So begins...

Zane Bell's Story

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell
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  1. NOTE: The following adventure between Zane and Darragh takes place two years before the current time on Ruula. Please don't interact as you would look crazy seeing people from two years ago. Happy Reading!

    by NeverEndingFlip

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Somewhere in the Unova Wilderness, a trainer and his Pokémon walked. Litterally somewhere, because once again, Zane had gotten them lost despite having a map. All he knew was they were deep inside a forest, and they had lost the road. Otto was just shaking his head in dismay, while Sparks had come out to try and find the road from the sky. He couldn't get very high, but it was something.

"You have no sense of direction" was what Otto was communicating to him. Otto didn't say the words himself, since he cant speak English, but Zane could tell what they meant. Actually, he was capable of understanding any and all Pokémon on a level trumped by few, those few actually being people who CAN talk with Pokémon.

"Otto, I don't contest this. But whose fault was it we lost the road in the first place?" Zane replied, while looking at the map some more. "If I recall, your exact words were, more or less, 'We really need these berries. They are super good and tasty. Also, you should have some too, because you never pack enough food for yourself. Get Sparks out here and we can all do it'. And then we ended up losing the road".

Zane was immediately met with a water gun, soaking him head to toe. Both Otto and Sparks laughed at him a little. Zane looked a little dismayed, and sighed. "Alright, listen. We have been wandering for the past few hours, I vote we stay here, rest up, and wait for my clothes to dry in the mean time. Because no way am I wearing soaking wet clothes".

Zane took off all his wet stuff, and hung it out to dry, while they enjoyed some lunch. Otto grinned at him again though. "Otto, don't. I am already clean. Besides, do you really want to get your food wet? Not even you like soggy food". Plus, Zane didn't want to have to change boxers as well, since they had managed to get spared from the water gun. He dried his hair with a towel, and sighed, enjoying their lunch. Otto really loved doing this at lunch time too, making Zane wonder if it was on purpose. The only thing he did know about where they were is that it was somewhere in the South/South east of Unova.

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell
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When Zane's stuff had finished drying, they continued trying to find the route once more. Of course, that didn't work at all, but at least they were trying. Zane couldn't help it though, he had no sense of direction. Even with a map, he got lost.

That was when Zane heard a loud noise. He turned around, and it sounded like a Pokémon battle was going on. Zane, Otto, and Sparks went to investigate, and when they arrived, they found two wild Pokémon. Both of them were injured, and it was done by some sort of Fire Type Pokémon judging by the burns. It was a Sewaddle and a Lillipup. Zane gave them both some medicine, then went off to look for the Pokémon. The trio tried to follow the tracks, but halfway through, lost not only the tracks, but re-found the road.

"Are you kidding me? We lost the Pokémon but found the road? Well, that figures" Zane mentioned, looking at the map again. "The question is, which road?"

Otto then pointed out a sign indicating Route 2. "Learn to look around and read!"

"I do know how to read, Otto. Alright, lets get moving! To Striaton City! Hopefully, this is towards there, and not back towards Accumula Town".

Little did they know, they were being watched...

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Indeed they were.

Way up in the trees, Darragh glanced at the firey redhead with his two Pokemon down below. He watched with careful eyes and from a careful vantage point. He even kept a careful poker face set on his face, trying to keep from laughing at the banter between the boy and the Oshawott. He had to admit, it was comical.

But he'd been through this song and dance before and knew he had to remain hidden. So he stayed camouflaged among the leaves and noted their activities. He'd been watching this boy for a little while now, from the moment they found Sima and Lenny, the Sewaddle and the Lillipup, injured in the forest.

Yeah, Baston had done some collateral...

But it wasn't like it hadn't happened before. Baston was just a brute. He practically ran the forest, shoving aside anyone who stood in his way to what he wanted and leaving his burn mark as a reminder to others who stumbled upon the victims. Darragh was never unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfires of Baston's wrath, mainly because he was a bit more careful than that, but also because he'd never managed to find him battling someone. It wasn't like he actively seeked them out, but it was his code to step in and help those where were right and just.

In fact, he was using that philosophy right now to judge the boy and his Pokemon relationship. It was a bit surprising and very impressive to see that, despite having only two Pokemon, he held a very strong bond with them. He could tell just from the behavior the Oshawott had that they were happy together. The boy talked and listened to them as if he was one of them, a trait Darragh saw in only one other trainer.


He shoved the name out of his head instantly. There was too much emotion buried there. He couldn't focus on the past. Present, he thought, Focus on the present. Focus on-

He cursed himself inwardly as he realized he had let his own thoughts take over and he'd lost the boy. Dang it, he thought, but still didn't speak as he hopped from tree to tree, continuing down the path he saw them travel. He was typically very agile and light on his feet, being able to leap from tree branch to tree branch with apparent ease. However, there was one scary moment when the gap was just a smidge bit larger than he anticipated and he started falling down to the path below.

Crap, crap, crap, CRAP, CRAP! he managed to keep the words from pouring out in a blind panic as he whipped out his vine he kept tied around his right wrist and quickly threw it up towards the canopy. It wrapped around the tree, pulling tight as it did so. The sudden fall turned into a swing as Darragh's feet barely grazed the ground before he was sent upwards into the treetops once more. Landing safely on the branch, he allowed this moment to sigh in relief before jumping back to the previous branch and retrieving the wrapped end of his vine. With everything minus a few years off his life for the scare, he continued.

At last he caught up. The boy, the Oshawott, and the Emolga were all continuing down the same way. Darragh laughed inwardly, while remaining unnoticed of course, as he realized they were heading straight towards Accumula Town.

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Zane, Otto, and Sparks were all walking along the route, but they all had different mindsets. Zane was trying to study the map so he would not get lost so easily. Sparks was flying around looking for berries. And Otto....Otto was the only one who had noticed the Pokemon it seemed, but he never gave any hints about it. After all, it couldn't be the one that caused those burns, it did not give off enough heat, and a Pokémon like that . Otto was the only one with a sense of direction, so only he could notice these things. He also noticed they were heading towards Accumula town because he remembered passing that tree before.

He immediately jumped in front of Zane and waved his arms. "Hey, we are heading the wrong way again! This is towards Accumula town!"

"What? Are you sure Otto?" Zane asked. At least he was never lost when communicating with Pokémon.

Suddenly, they saw a giant blast of fire, followed by a Litwick being flung from the forest by a large fireball. It being a fire type, it wouldn't have done too much damage, but the Litwick still appeared hurt. As Zane went to it, he took out some special medicine for Ghost type pokemon, combined with some supplements to help bolster fire type Pokémon's fire power, and gave it to her. Meanwhile, a Simisear came out of the woods, and saw them. Zane noticed him along with Otto and Sparks, and put themselves inbetween the two.

"Oi, you Pokémon! Get out of here with your meddlesome trainer! This is my punching bag!"

"First of all, I am not meddlesome. Secondly, not only is it wrong to use a Pokémon as a punching bag, but seriously? Litwick is a ghost type, ghosts are horrible punching bags! But no matter, I won't let you hurt this Litwick no matter what!"

The Simisear was a little bewildered by the fact the human could not only understand him perfectly, and not that he went into ethics, but that he explained why a ghost type makes a bad punching bag anyways. It sort of wanted to incinerate the trainer on the spot out of sheer annoyance. "Alright, don't say I didn't warn you! Incinerate!"

The Simisear fired a stream of fire that might have been impossible to dodge for Zane and Litwick in its current condition, but Otto broke the stream with its fist. It wasn't too badly damaged, but it was hurt somewhat. The Pokémon had more strength, probably from evolution. However, Otto had type matching going for him. Simisear was a fire type, and Otto was a water type. Plus, it had Sparks for support, so it was anyone's battle.

Zane VS. Wild Simisear Baston!!

"Alright Otto, lets hit him out early with Water Gun!"

Otto used water gun. Simisear tried to dodge it, but Otto turned to face wherever he moved to, and scored a critical hit early on. However, Simisear quickly made up the distance, and used Rock Smash on Otto, doing some damage on his own. Otto then used Bubblebeam since he was so up close, scoring another hit, but was burned by Simisear's flamethrower as a response. Otto still had the type matchup, but this was a tough Pokémon.

Then, Simisear decided to cheat, and used flamethrower at Zane and Litwick! This forced Otto to come directly inbetween the two, taking the full hit and getting knocked into Zane's arms. "Otto, are you okay?!"

Otto jumped back up, still ready for more. It had been a critical hit, but Otto was all fired up now, so to speak. The Simisear had movement on its side. That was when Zane got an idea. All he had to do was look at Otto, and Otto realized what he was thinking and smiled with Zane. Simisear started to run closer for another attack, and that's when Zane broke out into a full grin that temporarily made Simisear lose his cool and start to stop. As he did, Otto used watergun on the ground, soaking everything and making it all wet and muddy. This caused Simisear to slip and fall to the ground. "Now?"

"Now" Zane replied. Otto jumped up, and did a full on Tackle right into the Simisear while it was on the ground. However, unfortunately the fight was far from over, as it used flamethrower on not just Otto, but everyone it could nearby, even the trees. Otto was knocked back. "Otto, that's enough! Sparks, you are up! Lets finish this!"

Suddenly, before Sparks could move onto the field, Litwick moved in front of Zane instead. "Let me do this! Its my fault anyways your involved!"

"Are you sure Litwick? YOu might still be hurt?"

"No! But I won't sit by any longer! I won't let him hurt nice people like you!" Litwick said with such sincerity, it might make watching Pokémon shed a tear. Meanwhile, Baston did not look happy. Pokémon were starting to oppose him now? He would need to take down these four extra hard now so no one else got any fancy ideas.

"You sure you can handle this, Wicky?"

"I won't let you push me around any more! And my name is Simmer!"

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Darragh saw Baston a split second before Zane and company did.

He climbed a bit higher to get a better vantage point as the Simisear approached the party who stepped in the way. He'd never seen Baston fight before. He'd seen the aftermath and he'd been told the same tales everyone else in this neck of the woods has. But he'd never been able to spectate Baston in action up to this point. Now this was a great learning opportunity. Not just for him, but for the rest of the Pokemon that resided here. He could finally find a weak point in the seemingly unbeatable Fire-Type. Then, he wouldn't bother anyone ever again.

Interest turned to shock however when the boy began speaking to Baston as if he were one of them. He'd been previously impressed with his skill in Pokemon interpretation before, but a word like "meddlesome"? He could translate a world like "meddlesome"?That was more than skill...that was innate talent. But where did he obtain it from? And why?

Something was special about Zane...something he couldn't describe with words.

The first fists flew, and Darragh watched as Zane sent the Oshawott out first. That was the standard and immediately effective tactic, Darragh knew. A Water-Type held the best chance of knocking Baston off his high perch. Unfortunately for the community in the forest, they were very few to come by in this area. Otto would be the first real challenger Baston had.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. Otto and Zane had some great tactics in the fight and it certainly did a number on the Simisear, but Baston had enough raw power to withstand his Tackle and Water Gun and reply with enough strength to take Otto out with a mighty that even reached as far as...

JEEZ! Darragh thought as he scurried behind the tree. It was in the nick of time too, the fire engulfing where he'd been a split second before. Fire damage has been and could be a worry in this forest, as wild fires through Pokemon battles have started here before. Luckily, no fire lingered long enough to spread and cause more burning trees, but it was still a concern on the Treecko's mind.

Jeez, that was close... Darragh sighed in relief as he turned back to the fight. The Litwick he new was named Simmer was back on his feet, ready to fight this thing alone...ALONE?!

This wasn't good. Simisear had been punching this particular Pokemon out of sport and now Simmer was about to head dive into suicide. Baston was injured, sure, but he figured that wouldn't hold him back from fighting. He didn't know Litwick's capabilities, but he knew that he would get creamed if somebody didn't step in.

Well, here goes nothing...

Darragh had tied the vine around the tree branch he was currently on and was now figuring out where to launch from. He couldn't swing at him head-on, for he would dodge. He'd have to swing around and hit him from behind. Perching himself just right on the branch, he viewed his aim one more time before leaping off the branch, the vine tightening and turning the free fall into a swing.

And he'd performed it to perfection. The loop was out of Baston's peripherals and the Pound he'd chosen to give with his tail was exactly in the blind spot of the Simisear. Baston grunted in surprise and nearly fell over from shock and pain, but caught himself with a paw. Darragh yanked the vine, the sudden jerk of it causing the knot he'd tied to become undone amd fall to the ground next to him. As he was picking it up, wrapping it around his arm once more, Baston finally turned to notice his surprise attacker.

A Grass-Type?! Now that was insulting! Baston's fury practically radiated off his heated body as he pierced Darragh with smoldering eyes.

"You're a wee bit outta your element here, aren't ya?" he snarled, his paws forming fists.

"You're a bit too wet to be saying such things, aren't ya?" he replied calmly, despite the fear welling up inside him.

Simmer turned to Darragh, recognition lighting up in her eyes, "I've seen you around here, before. You're the one who's always spying on people!"

Darragh turned to look at the Litwick, "Well, that's one way to put it, sure."

A stream of fire suddenly burst in between the two Pokemon. Baston's annoyance flared, "HEY! I'M NOT DONE YET!"

Darragh had backed away just in time and he was relieved to see that Simmer had done the same. "We'll talk about it later."

Wild Simisear Baston VS Wild Treecko Darragh and Wild Litwick Simmer

Baston's onslaught began, starting with Incinerate. Fortunate for the two of them, they were quite a distance apart, meaning that they couldn't both be hit. Unfortunately, one of them had to. And while Simmer had been Baston's original target, the most recent thorn in his side was Darragh.

Darragh winced as the flames ripped around him, causing pain and burns alike. When the attack was done, he was still standing there, in a world of hurt, but still capable of combat. He lunged forward, using another Pound. This time, Baston stopped it with his arm. Darragh could feel the jarring sensation in his tail. He knew it must have hurt a little bit. Baston used a punch, which Darragh easily ducked under, diving in between his legs. He then used Absorb, a move that wouldn't do much to the Fire-Type, but would definitely help him out. He felt his strength returning a little bit as the attack took effect. Baston was barely fazed by it, however. He used Flamethrower once more, but Darragh was faster and dodged it. Meanwhile, Simmer had used Baston's attacks on the Treecko to use Minimize on herself, making her more evasive. She then charged her own Shadow Ball and send it hurtling at the Simisear. The attack hit home, and Baston's knee hit the ground from pain. Darragh ran over to her undoubtedly impressed.

"Why didn't you do that earlier?" he asked her.

"He's never been this weak before," she pointed out.

It was true. Baston had never taken this much damage before. It was a sign of hope for the two of them. But it was also a sign of despair as it showcased the pure power Baston demonstrated. Even now, despite the damage he'd taken, he still managed to get up, angrier than ever.

"YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN MEEE?!" he roared as he charged up Overheat.

Uh-oh. Treecko knew this would knock him out instantly should it hit. What was more frustrating, he really didn't have a move capable of deflecting it. He shut his eyes and braced for impact.

But it didn't come. Darragh opened his eyes to find a rather dazed expression on Baston's face. The Overheat Blast was sent down the path. Luckily nobody else was traveling their direction. That would've been a nasty surprise.

He looked left to find that Simmer was looking at him beaming clearly proud of herself. "What did you do?" he asked.

"I just got him with Confuse Ray right before he struck!" she told him. Darragh smiled in relief and new determination.

"Alright then, let finish the job!" he cried and launched himself forward.

The take down was rather easy afterwards. Not only was Baston confused, he didn't have much energy to expell after that blast and the constant barrage of attacks he'd undergone. With coordinated effort, Darragh hit with a Quick Attack while Simmer followed immediately afterwards with Fire Spin. Cumulative, it brought the Simisear down for the count. Darragh and Simmer loomed over him for the first time rather than being loomed over for the first time. Darragh gave a knowing grin to the Litwick. "You wanna do the honors?"

With no hesitation, Simmer approached Baston and looked him dead in the eye. "The next time you get the idea to beat up other Pokemon, remember this!" She blasted him in close quarters with a Shadow Ball, the force of impact strong enough to send the Simisear crashing into the tree behind. He slumped to the ground, unable to move.

Darragh gave Simmer a nod of approval, "Well done. You can now say you beat the brute of the forest."

And then suddenly a searing pang erupted through the Treecko's body. He closed one eye and grunted from the pain, falling onto his hands and knees. Baston had left his mark, even in defeat. The burns Darragh sustained were catching up to him, now that the adrenaline rush of battle was gone and he was shaking from it.

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Zane treated Otto's wounds as they watched the fight. When Simmer and Darragh finally beat that jerk Baston, the three of them cheered, before Zane's helpful instincts kicked in.

He immediately sprayed disinfectant what appeared to be a leaf he pulled out of his back, applied some burn spray to Darragh's burn, and then wrapped it with the leaf. "Now, don't fuss. These leaves are to specifically treat grass types. Pretty common, but still sort of tough to collect. They will help you recover. Got it?" He said with a smile. "Oh, and thanks for the help!"

He then moved on to Simmer. He took out a completely different set of medicine, designed for Ghost Type Pokémon, as well as a vitamin to help bolster the strength of Fire Type Pokémon. He had Simmer take some of the vitamins, while using the special Ghost Type medicine to treat the wounds. He also gave them each a berry mixture meant to help restore health and cure burns as well, to help them recover.

By the time he was done, he had distributed medicine to all the Pokémon who needed it, and had done it with such a level of competence that even Nurse Joy would be impressed. He rolled over onto his back, and looked at the clouds a little (he preferred to be at eye height with Pokémon when treating them, so he had gotten onto his knees before).

After awhile, Zane finally spoke up. "Well, we should probably get going soon".

"Yeah, and this time, we will head the right way" Otto added.

That was when Simmer floated on over to them, holding one of Zane's empty Pokeballs. "By any chance, could I come with you? You really helped me, and I really like you, and that jerk Baston keeps wrecking my homes, so...."

Zane smiled. "Sure! Your just the kind of Pokémon I like anyways. Nice, friendly, and ready to stand up to jerks like him".

Simmer smiled, and then used the Pokeball on himself, catching himself. After it finally clicked, Zane got overfilled with happiness and let him out to be with everyone. "Woo hoo! We got a Litwick with us! Welcome aboard, Simmer!"

Simmer seemed to, for lack of better words, simmered with happiness.

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Darragh felt someone touch his back. He flinched at first, but then relaxed as he realized it was the redheaded boy. While he didn't know his origin, he figured he could trust him. He was still as Zane finished his healing procedure and moved on to Simmer.

"Well, aren't you Mr. Boy Wonder," he muttered under his breath. But he was exceedingly grateful for the help Zane had provided to his burns. Already, he felt the pain subduing, slowly but surely. And he had done it with such expertise as well. This boy truly was amazing.

Darragh brought himself to a sitting position, watching him take gentle care of Simmer and treat her own wounds. He looked at the ingredients and precisely which vitamins he had given the Litwick. For future knowledge.

Zane reached into his pack once more and pulled out a paste of some kind. He took a glob and fed it to Simmer then went over to Darragh, holding out a glob that was presumably for him. The Treecko couldn't quite make out what the substance was exactly so he was a bit hesitant to extend his hand out and receive it.

"Thanks," he said, knowing all too well that Zane could understand them, before eating the glob. The taste was so familiar, and yet so different than what he was used to. He couldn't put it together, but he'd known he'd tasted this somewhere. It was too recognizable. And then as Darragh gulped it down, he felt a familiar tang on his tongue...the tang of Oran Berry.

"Oh," Darragh said in monotone surprise as he realized what he had just eaten. It was a berry mixture! A combination of the common berries that healed a variety of things. The Oran Berry would restore his strength while the smooth flavor of Rawst Berry he could now easily distinguish would deal with the burn. He'd never seen anything like that before. It was new and refreshing to him.

So he just sat there and recovered, taking in the boy's company all the while trying to figure him out. How did he know so much? Was he a nurse in training or did he grow up in a nurse's home? What about his ability to talk with other Pokemon to the level that he could understand them nearly perfectly? Had he obtained that from the same place he learned medicine? Or was it from somewhere else? He wanted answers, but he wasn't going to be rude and pry them from the relaxed trainer. Not after everything he did to help Darragh.

He felt something within himself, too. Darragh couldn't comprehend this feeling, but he felt more active when he was around Zane. More alive. He liked this boy and he liked him a lot. He even liked the Pokemon he surrounded himself with and he could sense that they liked him too. It was the bond between a Pokemon and a human that he was feeling. A feeling he hadn't felt since...Liz.

Liz had been special...just like Zane was. She always cared for her Pokemon and was exceptional at it. No one was deprived of attention with her. But it was a very special bond that her and Darragh had. It was the same bond that Otto and Zane had...the bond of being the first Pokemon.

Darragh had been her starting companion and together they had set off through the Hoenn region. He was more like her friend than her fighter, although he knew how to and did so exceptionally well. More often than not, he stayed by her side and was there for support while she led her Pokemon into battle against the Gym Leaders. It was why he had yet to evolve into his next state. He learned strategy while she taught it to her other Pokemon she caught. And what was more special, the two of them could communicate in almost the same way Zane could with any Pokemon. They carried on conversations all the time, talking about the past, the present, the future, whatever was on their mind. And they listened to each other. Darragh couldn't ask for a better human to travel with.

And then...

"Well, we should probably get going soon."

Darragh snapped out of his memory montage to see Zane, Otto, and Spark all collecting themselves off the ground and packing up. He was surprised to note that he was sad to watch them prepare to leave. The ultimate question popped into mind: Should he travel with them?

It appeared that Simmer wanted to as she was more than willing to hop into the Pokeball. He watched the ball click, the sign that she was officially caught and now was a part of Zane's team. He sighed. He really did want to go with them. But he was torn between Zane and his previous trainer. A part of him felt like he was betraying her and that she'd never forgive him for it.

And still...he already knew how that conversation would go down.

"Hey Darry!" she would say, "Why are you hesitating?"

"Well, uh..." would be all that he could manage before she'd interrupt.

"You obviously like this trainer! I don't blame you! He's exceptionally nice and smart and knows how to bond with Pokemon. And he's a bit on the cute side, too."

Darragh would roll his eyes, but he'd have a grin on his face anyway. She was a natural flirt.

"Go on, Darry," she would say, "Go and have an adventure again! Stop putting your big fat nose in everyone's business here and just explore the world!"

Darragh would laugh before answering with a bit of sadness, "But what about you? I can't forget about you! You're special to me. No one can replace you. Not even someone as great as Zane."

But he knew Liz would scoff, waving her hand at him, "Of course no one can replace me! I'm me! And no one would replace you, either. You were my first!" And then she'd turn back to face him with a warm, loving smile like she always did, "Come here."

Darragh would obey, of course. And then she would wrap him in a hug, her chin resting on his head. He would feel her heat radiating all around him. He would be comfortable here, in this moment.

"I'm not saying replace me, Darry," her words would be sincere, "I'm saying don't let me stop you from living a life of adventure. Just because I'm long gone doesn't mean you have to stand here in a random forest in...whatever region you're in and mope around. You've got a life worth living, okay buddy?"

Darragh would nod, tears in his eyes of course.

"Go! Explore! Evolve! Learn! Make friends!" she'd have to pull away from the hug. Darragh would already miss her presence as she would walk away, but not before saying one last thing, "And never forget me!"

"Okay," he said aloud, not caring that he wasn't talking to anyone in particular. He turned around and started running towards the redheaded boy.

"Wait!" he called to him, "I would like to come along, too!" he stopped suddenly, realizing that may have come off a bit greedy, and rubbed his arm in reserved shyness, "I mean...if that's okay with you."

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"Glad you like it" Zane mentioned as the Pokémon enjoyed their berry mixtures. It was a specialty Zane learned from one of his mother's adventure journals. She never taught it to him directly, but it sort of felt like she left it for him, especially since she has been missing for so long. As they got up and continued their journey, the Treeko came and asked if he could join the group too. Zane put an empty Pokeball in his lowest pocket, so that Treeko could take it himself if that was what he wanted.

Simmer then floated on by. "Oh, I don't think we properly introduced ourselves! I am Simmer, and he is Darragh".

Zane looked at Darragh. "Sure, for as long as you like. If you want, an empty Pokeball is in my pocket. I don't want to force a Pokémon to follow me, so I always make it their choice if they want to, like Simmer. Oh, and my water type friend here is Otto, and that is Sparks flying overhead full of energy".

Otto then gave him that look, the look Otto always gave him when he was forgetting something. Then it hit Zane. "Oh yeah, and my name is Zane Bell. Thanks for the help again by the way, its nice to meet you".

Zane gave a warm smile....up until the point Otto hit him with a water gun to get his attention. "You know they are both going to be extremely curious until you tell them the story, so you might as well tell it".

"Wait, what story?" Zane asked.

"The one that stops them from being puzzled why you can speak to and understand Pokémon so well" Otto reminded him.

"Oh yeah, its just so natural for me, I always forget its not a normal thing for other people. Well, you see, when I was little, my mother went off on an adventure in search of something. She never said what, but then....well, she disappeared. My father went after her to look, but shortly after, he disappeared too. So I was mainly raised by my Grandfather, the Champion Alder, since I was two years old. But since he was the champion, he had a lot of Pokémon but very little time, so I ended up mainly growing up around Pokémon since I was two. He was there for me, too, but the Pokémon were around all the time. Anyways, I later learned after all this that children apparently learn languages easiest between the ages of two to six or seven. As a result, I guess I just picked up on it really easily. If you listen really carefully, you can hear them. The pitch and tone differences in the voices of Pokémon, the smaller growls and the larger growls and the spaces between each one. And I guess, half subconsciously and half consciously, I pieced it together. Then, I just have to put the entire sentence together, and translate it into my language. Because if you listen, Pokémon don't just give off a simple growl or simple sounds like most think, there is a pattern, and I can easily pick up on them having grown up with them. Of course, as a result, I also grew up around energetic Pokémon who got hurt sometimes, so I tought myself all sorts of medicine to help them. Supposedly, it might have also been inherited from my mother, who could also communicate with her Pokémon and knew a lot about PokeMedicine, but apparently even she wasn't on my level".

He then smiled at the Treeko. "So yeah, that answer all your questions? I suppose it also helps me understand Pokémon a bit more in other ways too".

Otto just shook his head. "He is a complete genius at all of that, yet he cant read a simple map though. No sense of direction at all. And seriously, you need to remember to get more food for yourself as well!"

"Hey, the berry mixtures can technically be eaten by people too if needs be. Though they were originally my mother's idea too, I have made a lot of modifications to improve their effectiveness and taste. The original recipes were not as tasty....some, not at all. But I found a way to fix that without reducing its medicinal value" Zane commented.

As they kept walking, Zane then added. "I guess one of my goals is to become a better Pokémon trainer too, but to be honest, I am also searching for any traces of my mother. She disappeared somewhere, so even if I have to search each region one area at a time, I will find out where my parents went, and what happened to them".

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  1. NOTE: The following adventure between Zane and Darragh takes place two years before the current time on Ruula. Please don't interact as you would look crazy seeing people from two years ago. Happy Reading!

    by NeverEndingFlip

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Darragh instinctively looked at the pocket where the Pokeball was presumably kept. He shook his head at the thought. He'd never been inside one of those things, not even when he was with Liz. He enjoyed taking the journey to where he was going. He enjoyed the fresh air and the breeze. So the thought of going into a Pokeball now didn't quite appeal to him.

He looked at each Pokemon as they were introduced, inclining his head towards them. Otto and Sparks...

Then, Zane went on to tell his story. He raised his eyebrows in awe as he told them he was the grandson of the former Grand Champion Alder. The Pokemon of the forest kept tabs with whatever went on in each part of the world and although it wasn't always a reliable system, it was good enough for the important information. Alder had been the previous Grand Champion before the more recent one. What was her name? he thought, scratching his chin as he did so. He tried recalling facts he knew about her. The youngest Grand Champion to date...was referred to often in lore as the Dragon Heart Champion because she used nothing but Dragon-Types in battle...

And then the name hit like a sack of bricks. Iris!

Grand Champion Iris. Other than rumors and warnings, he didn't really know anything about her. Maybe he'd want to meet her one day. He gave a passing glance to Zane as he spoke. Maybe he knew her?

The reason as to why he could understand them made sense to Darragh. So it was a developed ability, he realized as he took off the leaf that had healed his burn while they had walked and talked. That's interesting. He wondered if other humans could communicate with Pokemon if they just hung around them nearly all the time or if it was only something Zane could do. But he had to admit...having the variety of Pokemon around him surely helped that.

He chuckled when Zane mentioned the berry mixture after Otto. "You're like a worried parent with him, Otto," he laughed, knowing that the Oshawott did care about him. It was a good thing, though. Despite Zane's ability to improvise, he needed someone to keep him from going too far off the deep end. Otto was that someone to him.

"What will you find in Striaton City?" he asked, looking down the path for any signs of civilization. He knew what was there. A PokeCenter. A School for Trainers. A Restaurant. The gardens were what drew Darragh the most as it was the most serene part of the city. However, something told him they would be heading to the gym stationed there. Three Gym Leaders led the joint. He knew because him and Liz fought there and earned the Trio badge fighting Chili's Pansear. It was one of the few battles Darragh actually fought in and while it was tough, he'd managed to pull through. Still, it was nothing like Baston.

"I know a few things about the Striaton City Gym...if you'd like to know some stuff," the Treecko offered, "That is, if you plan on challenging the three Gym Leaders..."

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"Well, he does get lost everywhere. Someone has to make sure he stays on track" Otto mentioned. As the group kept moving however, Otto, Zane, and Sparks noticed a large flock of what looked like Spearow flew overhead. Zane immediately got curious, as he took out his Pokedex to confirm.

"Well, that's strange. Spearow are not native to this region" Zane mentioned. "According to the Pokedex, they are most commonly found in the Kanto region. Yet an entire flock of them are here in Unova..."

"Maybe its part of their migration patterns? There has been a lot going on in the universe over the past several years. And getting increasingly more active" Sparks added. "That is what I remember from the news anyways".

"Yeah. Legendary Pokémon all over the world have been waking up from deep slumbers if the stories are true. I wonder if we will get to meet any of them" Zane added. For a moment, he thought he heard something, and turned to look, but nothing was there. He shrugged, and kept walking.

As they continued however, it started to get darker and darker. If they didn't reach town soon, they would have to sleep outside. Zane actually did have as much issue with that as Otto. Otto hated sleeping outside. Zane was not sure why, but Otto demanded his own sleeping bag, and dug himself so deep inside it that it took him a minute to navigate out of it sometimes when he is groggy.

Which is what prompted the question from Otto. "Are we there yet?"

"You are asking me if we are there?" Zane questioned.

Otto looked stupefied. "Why did I ask you? You get lost in convenience stores".

Zane turned red, and redirected the conversation. He turned to Darr the Treeko. "I remember hearing some things about the Gym. I was once told by my grandmother that no matter what starter I chose, I would have trouble at this Gym. Doesn't quite make sense though, after all a Gym uses a specific type of Pokémon right?"

"I gotta admit, I was stumped by that one too. Didn't your grandma also design the AI in your Pokedex?"

The Pokedex started to beep. "That is correct. Error, Critical Overload. This Pokedex will now self destruct in three seconds".

Everyone nearly panicked. "WHAT!?!?!"

"Just kidding" the Pokedex replied.

Otto just gave a face of disbelief. "Your grandma is just too much".


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"Yeah, neither am I..." Darragh muttered as he looked up at the flock of Spearows flying above them. Still, it was weird seeing any kind of Kanto Pokemon around here. He wouldn't deny that.

As they walked, he couldn't help but think about it. Changing in migration? Legendaries rising from their slumber? This wasn't news to the Treecko, but it certainly was a mystery. Many hypothesized that everything changed when the aliens came to Ruula and established a colony here. Since the initial encounter, however, there has been some level of peace, although tension remained. Whether it was a problem or not had yet to be discovered, but he'd hope for the best.

It was at this point that he began to notice sun sinking lower and lower along the western horizon. The shadows of the travelers were elongated, stretching into the forest to their immediate right. No doubt about it, it would get dark soon. Luckily, from what Darragh could gather, they were almost there.

And then Zane turned to speak to him, talking about what he knew about the Gym, or rather what he didn't know. Darragh was just about to answer him when the Pokedex buzzed to life. Apparently, his grandmother had quite the sense of humor.

Darragh laughed and went on, "Yeah, well the thing about the Gym is that..." he stopped right as he was about to reveal too much. A part of him wanted to help Zane and help him be prepared for what was coming up ahead. Yet, another part of him told him to let Zane discover what it was that made this gym so unique. That was part of the adventure, after all.

So instead, he said, "I'll let you decide. Do you want me to tell you about the Gym? Because I have been there and fought there before, and I know that sometimes things are worth discovering. I don't know if this is will be one of those moments for you, but if anything else it would sharpen your skills...definitely. Or, I could tell you exactly what you're up against and what my recommendation would be." Down the path, he could see the twinkling lights of Striaton City shimmering through the treelines. The sun was hidden behind the forest around them, minus a few rays.

"Excuse me for a moment. I have to see something. I'll give you this time to decide." Before they could answer, he bounded to the nearest tree and scaled it. Climbing higher and higher, it was only a moment before he reached the top, looking at the open sky above him. It was the perfect shade of lavender above him that melted into the pink into the yellow into the deep orange. The ball of fire was hovering over the horizon, letting this side of the planet know that night was soon approaching. Darragh took it all in, the colors, the shadows, the breeze. It felt a melting pot of warmth. Darragh could sit there and take this all in forever.

Unfortunately, twilight only lasts so long and Darragh eventually had to see the sun disappear, leaving the world of colors. From here, the colors would fade to black as the moon would come out to play, but Darragh held on to the enjoyment of the moment. It was one of the things he'd treasured from his past...the ability to live in the moment from time to time. To just stop and take the atmosphere in and hold on to it. It was nice.

Feeling good, he leaped down from the tree tops to the forest floor, using the vine to help him land safely. "That's better," he told the group, "One thing's for sure, nothing beats a good ol' fashioned sunset." He sighed in euphoria before returning to the subject he'd left them on, "So, what do you think? Want my advice?"

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As the group walked through the forest and the lights finally came into view, Zane noticed the Treeko go to admire the sunset. The Treeko seemed to have some sort of appreciation for them, and to be fair, Zane had his own unique relationship with sunsets. It was one of the few memories Zane had of his father, and his clearest. He was only two years old, but he remembered and charrished this memory. He and his father watched the sun set from a grassy hill in the middle of a field. He remembered the warm touch of his skin. He remembered the warmth of the light. He remembered the glistening light.

It was both a happy and sad moment. It was the day before his father left to find his mother, but it was also a happy memory of his father. It left Zane...conflicted....whenever he saw a sunset. On one hand, watching one let him re-live that memory over again, but it also reminded him of what was lost...what had been taken from him. It made him both happy and sad.

"How about this? If I lose, then you can give the advice? That way, I get some experience. Now, since this Gym has no set types, I know which Pokémon I should go with. Sparks and Simmer, you both are dual types, and know moves from both right? You two will be my main line of attack. Your move variety should allow us to adapt to any situation they throw at us".

Otto was not particularly happy about being left out of the battle, but he understood the reasons. However, he did interrupt their trip to the Gym as they entered the city. "Hold on a second. We should rest up first before heading to the Gym. Its late, and we all need our sleep. Darragh, know any good places here, or is it just the Pokémon Center?"

As Otto asked that, Zane took out something from his backpack, and tested the straps on it. It was something originally built by his father, but he had been perfecting it, and he figured this Pokémon battle would be a great way to test it if he needed it. All trial runs had succeeded, so he figured it would work out. He put it away again, and looked back at them all.

"Well, we better get going soon, before a trainer falls out of the sky and challenges us to a battle" Zane joked, though he was still hurting a little.

Otto moved over to Darragh. "You have to admire his strength. He might have lost both his parents, but instead of fearing the truth, he seeks it. Its a testament to how strong he really is".

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Darragh nodded at the compromise. That was fair. And even though he'd only met the flame headed Zane barely hours ago, he could tell he didn't just want the answers. He wanted to learn from his experiences, like himself.

Darragh listened as he thought up a plan, saying that he'd start with Simmer or Sparks because of their dual types. That was smart. It could limit their move variety, but it certainly would give him a backup to attack his opponent with, in case the original set didn't work as planned. When Darragh had fought this battle, he only had normal moves at his disposal to use against his opponent. That was rough. And seeing things from the other end, the Treecko knew the choice between the two would change the battle drastically...and likely it's outcome. He hoped for Zane's wisdom to lead him to the right decision.

Darragh turned to Otto at the mention of rest, "Right...let's see. The school and the Gym are out of the question. If you had come to the city a few years ago, I'd offer the mansion as a potential place. But the previous owners left, and I don't think the current owner is very...we'll say 'friendly' for lack of a better term. If you guys are outdoor sleepers, I'd recommend the garden which is a really cool place. That is, if you don't mind the Stunfisk that roam around late at night. Other than that, the PokeCenter is all we have left."

He turned back to Zane to get an opinion and saw him putting away...something. Darragh couldn't quite make it out in the darkness descending upon them. He wanted to ask so desperately what it was, but he chose to bite his tongue.

And then they were there. Darragh kind of led the way, Zane and the other following behind him as he looked around at the familiar sights. The apartments were high above him, lights on in the windows of people that were still awake. In front of them was the familiar sight of the red roofed PokeCenter with the Trainer School on the left and the Gym on the right. He felt the nostalgia rushing back to him as he remembered walking into this city with Liz. At the time, he was the only Pokemon to have accompanied Liz in this region, given that she preferred to let the Pokemon she formed a team with go after she'd completed each Gym Circuit in each region. So the moment was entirely theirs.

And now it was Zane's with his companions. And he was one of those companions. Smiling at the though, he walked to the center of the street and gestured to his right which would be their left, "Down that path leads you to the garden. Or we could bunker down in the PokeCenter 'till morning. Which do you guys want?"

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"THe Pokémon Center it is!" Otto announced, practically dragging the whole group towards it. "After all, Zane needs a good night's sleep in an actual bed!" It wasn't well disguised who REALLY wanted to sleep in the Pokémon center. Otto did hate sleeping outdoors after all, and it wasn't a well hidden secret.

As the group headed there, Sparks began to rest atop Zane's head, and Simmer and Otto were both getting tired. Zane could guess Treeko probably felt the same. After all, three of them had been battling today, and one of them had been flying all day looking for the road. It was completely understandable they would be tired. Zane's legs certainly were, and so everyone needed to get some rest.

As they entered, Zane immediately came face to face with Nurse Joy. "Welcome! You all look tired! You should get some rest inside! We still have some room available!"

Zane just blinked. "Who....are you? Why are you dressed like Nurse Joy?"

The Nurse Joy got a shocked look on her face. "What do you mean? I am Nurse Joy. Why do you...?"

"No, the Nurse Joy I met has a completely different facial structure! Sure, on the surface you might seem similar, but its very obvious you two have completely different faces. Also, you are slightly taller then her. And your hair is a little bit brighter then hers".

Otto was not sure what to think. He was half sure Zane was making this all up, as a joke, but he seemed so serious. I mean, in all seriousness, Otto was pretty sure it was a joke...just not one hundred percent sure. Nurse Joy was even more shocked. "I don't remember the last time someone could tell me apart from my relatives. Anyways, you should all rest up! You are planning to fight the gym leader tomorrow aren't you?"

"Yeah, she is right" Zane mentioned. "We better get some rest".

As Zane and the crew retired, Zane had another dream. He had them all the time nowadays. They were nightmares really. He was running down a path. The nature of the path changed in each dream, but some days it was snowy, some days it was raining, others it was through a desert, and others it was through a forest. Sometimes, what was at the end of the path changed too. Usually it was some sort of temple or ruins, but other times it was a city, or a town, or a mountain, or a tower, or even the Pokémon league. However, this dark Pokémon, shrouded in mystery, always stopped him, hit him down, and told him to stop. He would send all sorts of insults at Zane, restrain him, and proceed to hit him. He would tell him he is a failure, and that he would never find the truth. And then, Zane watched as his parents were ripped away from him. No matter how fast he ran, he could never outrun this Pokémon. It was impossible to. No matter how hard he tried, the Pokémon always caught him. Always beat him. Always hurt him. And there was nothing he could do about it.

Zane woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air. The Pokémon had tried to suffocate him this time. And Zane knew why he was having these nightmares. It was because his parents went missing. First his mother, then his father searching for his mother. Both of them had vanished and left no trace of where they went. Zane was only more determined to find them. But he also knew if he couldn't beat one Gym, no way he would be strong enough to save them. So he had to challenge every Gym he came across in order to prove he was strong enough. He would also probably need more Pokémon though.

As he got dressed and ready, he took a pebble out of his shoe that had somehow gotten stuck in there. He had to beat this gym. Not just beat it, he had to crush it, to prove he is strong enough to find his parents. This is going to be a testament of his determination.

As he put on his shoes and walked outside with his Pokémon friends, he turned towards the Gym and adjusted the goggles on his head. "I swear, I am going to defeat this gym...and prove I am the tough enough to find my parents...".

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Darragh couldn't help but laugh as he was just about dragged to the Pokemon Center by Otto. Someone likes the indoors...

He figured there was a backstory behind Otto's seemingly irrational behavior, but right then didn't seem like an appropriate time to ask.

They walked in, and just as expected, Nurse Joy was there, ready to help them as always. Except...she was surprised to find Zane asking where the real Nurse Joy was. He seemed pretty intent about it to leave the Treecko thinking it was a joke. And when Nurse Joy told them that she and the other Nurse Joys were all relatives of each other, he gave an impressed look to the flame-headed kid. He truly was more observant than most.

As the group passed by, Nurse Joy's eyes landed on Darragh and the two made eye contact. Recognition lit up in her eyes as she saw the Treecko. They had met before. She was sure of it. The Treecko gave a little half-wave before turning his attention back to the group.

"Hmm..." she thought while Darragh walked to the room with Zane and the others.

Darragh couldn't sleep.

It wasn't the fact that he was indoors. He'd slept indoors many times and has no preference to either sleeping environment. Nor was it Zane's occasional toss and turn in bed as he dreamed. He wouldn't even put it to Simmer's really loud snoring issue. No, it was his own thoughts that were keeping him up tonight.

He couldn't stop thinking about Zane and Liz. Was he was truly doing the right thing by joining the grandson of the previous Grand Champion? He knew that Zane was an exceptional human with a heart for Pokemon and a determination unmatched except by one other. But he felt like he was betraying that one other just by joining him. Sure, she was long gone and Darragh knew he eventually had to move on. But he didn't want to.

Suddenly, he got up, being careful not to wake anyone else, and slipped out the door. He needed to clear his head. And he knew the only place he could do it.

Darragh tip-toed out of the PokeCenter, past the Trainer School, across the bridge, and finally into his destination. The Garden wasn't of flowers, but of hedges. Water flowed all around the serene place with a water fountain in the middle to complete the look. Benches were set up in a couple of spots to look around at the beauty around him, showcasing the hedge Pikachu and Pidove that had exquisite detail added to them. Darragh sat down on one of these benches, staring up at the moon that illuminated the place. It was a peaceful night.

A few moments later, the Stunfisk started roaming around the place, making idle chat with each other. Darragh didn't disturb them. They were merry just the way they were. However, one Stunfisk noticed the Treecko sitting on the bench and beelined towards him.

"Darry?" the Stunfisk asked, unsure of it was really him. Darragh smiled genuinely at him.

"Yeah, it's me," he answered, "How's it going, Bastra?"

Bastra leapt up and down in great joy, "Holy Karp, it is you! I haven't seen you since you were here with Liz!" he glanced around, looking for the human that he saw that one evening with the Treecko, "Where is she?"

Darragh couldn't look him in the face as he told him the news, "Liz...isn't here anymore."

Bastra gasped, "You mean...they..."

Darragh nodded, his eyes tearing up slightly.

Bastra came in for a hug, "Oh Darry, I'm so sorry! What happened? How did you end up back here?"

Darragh hugged back, "It's a long story. One I don't have time for right now. I'm traveling with another human that I need to get back to."

Bastra gazed at him, wide eyed in shock, "Another human? Were you captured?!"

Darragh shook his head, "No, no, not really. I asked to go with him. We met on Route 2 and I helped him beat Baston."

Bastra raised a brow, "The forest brute?"

"Yeah," Darragh looked at the fountain, "His name is Zane. He's...special. In a lot of ways. Many of which are similar to Liz," he turned to stare at Bastra, all seriousness in his eyes, "You see where I'm going with this?"

Bastra's mouth flew open, "You think he's in the same danger?"

"I don't know for sure," Darragh admitted, glancing over to the water's edge, "But it's entirely possible. And if he is, I don't want to take any chances," he stared at himself in the water's reflection, "I need your help."

"Darry," Bastra sat down next to him, "When you first met me, I told you I'd do anything to repay you. I think now is the time I payed off that debt. What do you need me to do?"

Darragh smiled, "Thank you. I knew I could count on you."

A few minutes later, he was sneaking back in to the PokeCenter when a voice made him freeze, "Darragh, I know it's you."

He turned, catching the familiar face of Nurse Joy as she stared from behind the counter with that loving smile, "There has only been one Hoenn native Pokemon that has resided here overnight and that is you. Still, I didn't know for sure it was you until I saw you sneak out to the garden."

Darragh didn't move, unsure of what to do. Nurse Joy walked out from behind the counter and approached him, gently patting the Treecko on the head, "I've noticed you have a new group of friends to travel with. I also see no sign of the old group you used to travel with. Did something happen to them?"

Darragh still didn't speak, but the pain and anguish in his eyes told Nurse Joy everything. "Right. Well, I won't pry if you don't want me to. I just hope for your health and for Lizelia's." She turned on her heel and started walking toward a back room. "You ought to go back to bed. You won't be fighting tomorrow, but I know Zane might need you anyway. And to do that, you need rest!"

She opened the door and walked in, stopping to only say "Have a good night!" before retiring for the evening herself. Darragh smiled at her compassion, knowing she meant well for him. He took her advice, sneaking back into Zane's room and falling asleep instantly.

Darragh was woken up by the noise Zane made when he shot out of bed, breathing heavy and sweating all over. It was evident that he'd had a nightmare. Darragh kept a concerned look on the flame-headed boy, but didn't ask him if anything was up.

A quick meal and everyone was outside, heading towards the gym. Darragh was a bit nervous, but he was also excited to be back here again. He'd made a lot of friends in Striaton City and he was looking forward to catching up with them. But he also knew that the Gym Leaders would likely recognize him, given that Nurse Joy had already done so. He stood out here. He glanced at Zane as he spoke, giving him a nod of support. He was here to prove his mettle. Darragh would make sure that he succeeded here.

He also knew who would be waiting just outside the gym. As they approached, the unmistakable green hair and waiter clothing of Cilan stood there, looking for oncoming challengers. He spotted Zane as they got closer and closer, giving a wave. He stood proper and balanced as he spoke to them.

"Hello! Welcome to the Striaton City Gym! I am a Gym Leader. And what would your name be?"

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As the group walked towards the Gym, Otto saw the expression on his face. Before they got close, the Oshawott stopped them. "You had that nightmare again, didn't you? The one about the temple and the dark shrouded Pokémon that chases you down, attacks you, and makes you suffer? The one that rips your parents from you? Your having it again, aren't you? You sure your up for this?"

"I have to be Otto. I won't let fear overpower me. I won't make the mistakes others would. I will find my parents, and I will beat down this Pokémon" Zane said as they approached.

Otto mumbled something Zane couldn't hear, but Treeko could have. "The nightmares only get worse the more adamant you are to find them. And ever since we started this journey, they have been increasing. Not a good sign".

As Zane approached the Gym Leader, his face renewed its smile and he faced off with the Gym Leader. "My name is Zane Bell, my friend here is Otto the Oshawott, and we are here to challenge your gym and get the Gym Badge!"

Cilian smiled. "Its a pleasure to meet a new challenger..." I was told you were approaching, Zane. Don't worry, I will keep my promise to your grandparents. A true test of strength, that's what they asked for...and a direct battle... "Well, I say we get straight to it. I have a promise to keep, after all". The way Cilian said it was vague, to prevent anyone from catching onto the truth.

Zane and company stepped onto one side of the field, while Cilian stepped onto the other. Oddly enough, Nurse Joy stepped out into the stands to watch the game as well. Cilian sent out his Pansage first, while Zane sent out Sparks. "An Emolga huh? I didn't expect to see one in the hands of a new trainer far out here. Oh well, just makes things interesting. Use Seed Bomb!"

Sparks immediately went to dodge the attack, but one of the seed bombs hit him, doing some damage. "Sparks, use thunder!"

The Pansage managed to dodge, but Cilian was impressed. He is measuring Pansage's speed. Trying to gage how fast he is. "Pansage, use Vine Whip!"

THe foe's Pansage missed! Sparks evaded the attack! Sparks then used Electro Ball! A direct hit!

"Alright, Pansage! No holding back! Use Toxic!" Cilian yelled, and the Pansage managed to hit Sparks with toxic, poisoning it. With Sparks poisoned, it wouldn't be feeling as well either, reducing its stats. And if it came back for medicine, it would allow Pansage to get a free attack on it during the trip. Which meant only one thing. Zane would have to use that device.

"Hey Darr, its time I showed you all my new toy!" Zane said, as he rolled down the sleeve of his red and white stripped hoodie....and attached to his arm was some sort of mini-cannon. Zane then put some sort of capsule in, and fired it. If Darr had the right position, he would see exactly what was in the capsule...and realize what Zane had built this for before he used it. "Launcher on! Sparks, take this!"

Zane then fired the capsule he put into the launcher, and then halfway to sparks, it opened and the berry mixture inside was caught by Sparks in his mouth! As Pansage tried to launch another attack, Sparks sped away. "Your Emolga got faster!"

"Its a special Berry Mixture recipe! While it doesn't heal as much, it still cures poison and even helps speed up the Pokémon a little. Now, Blinking Lightbulb!"

Suddenly, Sparks used double team, causing the foe's Pansage to be unable to tell which is the real one. He fired off an attack to get rid of some of them, but no hits. The Emolga all used Thunderbolt on the Pansage, only with a lot more accuracy since Sparks had seen how the Pansage liked to dodge. However, the Pansage managed to dodge all of them by taking a different dodging style and backing up a lit.....

BOOM! Suddenly, Sparks was behind Pansage using Arieal Ace! However, as it did, Pansage scorred a direct hit with Seed Bomb. By the end of the clash, both Pokémon were unable to battle. Cilian clapped before sending out his second Pokémon though. "Well played, I think I understand Blinking Lightbulb. Clever, using a code name for a series of commands for your Pokémon so no one figures it out. You have the Emolga, Sparks, use double team to confuse us which one is the real Emolga. Then, while they are all making a bright thunder light, your Emolga scores a Critical hit from behind via Arieal Ace. No one sees it coming because they are all focused on the fake Emolga up top, emitting the light, just like how people always get distracted by a blinking lightbulb. It attracts people, which allows you to get a surprise critical hit. Clever. Also, I like that launcher thing. Let you re-supply Sparks without risking an opportunity attack". I remember your father's version of that. Impressive. You really are their child. You even got Pansage KOed with one Pokémon, though that Pokémon got KOed as well in the end because as you said, the berry mixture it took healed less because of the speed boost it needed.

Nurse Joy also looked at Zane. So much like his parents....I hope he avoids the same fate they got though, whatever it was. But I also see his grandparents in there...

"Alright Lilliup, you are up!" "Simmer, lets do this!"

"Simmer, start it up with Flamethrower! We cant afford to lose!"

And so, the second battle began, with Simmer launching its fire type moves at the other Gym Leader's Pokémon.

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Stepping into the familiarity of the Gym sent a wave of nostalgia coursing through Darragh. It was one of his favorites. Cilan, Chili, and Cress had a taste for elegance as they refurbished the place with chairs and tables. After all, the place did double as a restaurant. A dim lighting set the mood for the massive room as the arena was made clear by the wooden floors with the Gym Insignia carved into the birch wooden floor. Surrounding the arena were elevated chairs and tables with a set of bleachers on the far north side for anyone who only wanted to watch the fight. Many people were sitting at the tables, however, enjoying a late breakfast and watching the Pokemon battle that was to come. Darragh would occasionally spot among the servers a bob of red or a flash of blue. He knew these two were Chili and Cress, the other two Gym Leaders.

However, it would be Cilan that Zane would fight as he has the Grass-Type Pokemon favor. He was a bit surprised that he'd chose to go with the Pansage first rather than the Lillipup, unlike when he took on Chili. Meanwhile, Zane sent Sparks out onto the field to combat it.

Darragh analyzed the two fighters. The Pansage would be able to take more hits than Sparks would. And the Pansage has the Type advantage given that Electric-Types were naturally weak to Grass-Types. But Sparks had speed over his opponent, a key role in the upcoming fight. Zane would have to utilize that to beat him on the first strike. In fact, Darragh saw this coming down to the trainers utilizing their Pokemon's strengths to win this fight.

Cilan had a pretty decent moveset for his Pansage with a variety of moves. He knew Seed Bomb was the most effective attack towards Sparks while the Emolga's would be Aerial Ace. However, Darragh was a bit surprised and mostly impressed when the Pansage countered with Toxic. He hadn't expected him to know that one and Darragh figured it was over for Sparks at that point. Unfortunately for Cilan, Zane had a few tricks up his sleeves...literally.

Zane said the name "Darr" and Cilan's eyes quivered slightly, a sense of déjà vu washing over him as he recalled the name from somewhere. Darragh could see it in him as well. He likely remembered.

Phase two of the fight initiated, and Darragh saw tactical genius played by Zane. Code naming his attack set-up while also giving it subliminal meaning for Sparks to understand it better was a great ploy on the redhead's part. It had done the job and knocked out the Pansage. Unfortunately, the brute force of Cilan's Grass-Type was enough to knock out Sparks in the same turn. Thus, the first fight ended effectively in a draw. Each trainer had only one Pokemon left to use.

Darragh looked at the stands, which now seated Chili and Cress as well as Nurse Joy. The three were watching the fight with interest, staring curiously at Zane who had proven himself up to this point to be fairly tactical in his own right. It was a good battle so far.

Part two commenced. Cilan sent out his Lillipup while Zane sent out Simmer. Darragh noticed immediately that the match-up would seem favorable to Zane given that he had a Ghost-Type against a Normal-Type. But Darragh knew it was actually the other way around. The Lillipup would be much faster than Simmer. And he knew the Lillipup had a move...

"Zane, be careful! Lillipup has Bite!" he shouted, just as he saw the Lillipup charge it up after dodging the Flamethrower. He knew if Zane could somehow hit the Lillipup with just a couple of Special Attacks, he would win. Meanwhile, Lillipup would have to take numerous Bites out of Simmer even with the Type-Advantage if Cilan were to win. It would be a race against time for the Litwick.

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Zane watched as Lillipup managed to get a hit with a Crunch attack, not a Bite, causing Simmer to flinch and back away. This Lillipup was a higher level then the one that the Gym leader would normally use, and Darr could probably tell they were two different Lillipup's. After all, the Gym Leader had been asked to make sure Zane was really ready to search for his parents.

Meanwhile, out of the corner of Zane's eye, he thought he the shadows for a second, but when he looked nothing was there. Was it his nightmares playing tricks on him? No matter, Zane shook his head and focused on the battle. "Simmer, use Confuse Ray!"

Simmer hit the foe's Lillipup with a confuse ray, getting it all confused. It tried to attack, but ended up crashing into a wall and hurting itself. Simmer then unleashed a Fire Spin attack against the Lillipup, but as it got close, got hit with another crunch attack, doing significant damage! Still, Lillipup took significant damage in its own right, and even got a burn from the Fire Spin.

Zane knew he couldn't let another Crunch hit, or else Simmer was done for. "Simmer, fly up into the air, and use flamethrower on the whole battlefield!"

With Simmer up in the air, it was safe out of reach of Crunch, and with the foe's Lillipup still confused, Zane had this in the bag. That is, until Lillipup started running up one of the walls and then jumped at Simmer! Simmer only just barely managed to dodge it, and Lillipup went flying and hit one of the supports. That was the final amount of damage needed to KO it.

The ref stepped in. "Lillipup is unable to battle. Simmer, the Litwick, is the winner! The Gym Battle goes to Zane Bell!"

"Woo hoo! We did it!" Zane yelled with excitement.

As Zane and the Gym leader approached each other to shake hands, one of the customers of this restaurant passed Zane. As he did, Zane heard a whisper. "You will suffer and fail".

Zane immediately turned around to see who it was, but there was no one there. There was never a customer, never anyone. But Zane felt like it was real, like it wasn't his imagination. Well, since nothing was there, he assumed it was, and resumed shaking the gym leader's hand. Meanwhile, Nurse Joy approached Otto and Darr.

"He is having nightmares, isn't he? His spirit, I remember seeing the way his mother battle and they have the same spirit, the same strong connection with Pokémon. Actually, his might be even better then his mother's" she mentioned to the two of them. "I don't know if its connected, but you might want to know...his mother had nightmares too, in the weeks and days leading up to her disappearance. Just something you might want to know".

Otto did want to know this. It was extremely important, because it implied Zane could be in danger. But it also told them something else. The Pokémon behind this all, it had to be a Psychic, Ghost, and or Dark Type Pokémon. They were the only three types capable of this. Which meant that Zane was being targeted by one of those Pokémon types. And whats worse, whatever is targeting him...already seemingly defeated his mother. A legendary Pokémon trainer in her own rights, her ability to synergize with her Pokémon was well known. Larissa Bell, the great Pokémon Speaker, because of her natural talent to understand Pokémon.

As Zane accepted the Gym badge, he became even more determined now. He defeated this Gym, so it proved once and for all he was ready to begin his quest. He would find out where his mother and father went, and he will know the truth. Even if it hurts. Meanwhile, Cilian smiled. "Now, I don't know everything, but since your clearly ready to start this journey, I do know this. Your mother was interested in ruins and temples throughout Unova. In fact, she went to second Gym to ask that Gym leader about all the old temples and ruins in the area, as well as something to do with fossils. You can probably get more information there, but don't expect the Gym Leader to just give it to you without a battle first!"

"Alright, thanks for the information" he said, as he, Sparks, and Simmer returned to Otto and Darr. "Well you guys, the day is still early, so we better get going. Simmer, I will have a good Berry Mixture ready for you along the way, to help recover some of your energy and restore your health. Oran berries, when cooked properly and with the right extra berries added as ingrediants, are really good at restoring energy".

As Zane left the gym, he looked out towards the road ahead. "I can't lose focus, can't let fear stop me. I will not give up that easily".

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Woah, wait a minute! Darragh gaped as the presumed Bite was actually a Crunch, the harder hitting form of bite. That wouldn't be good for Simmer. She could handle a few Bites. She couldn't handle more than a couple more Crunches.

But why did Cilan's Lillipup know Crunch? He knew that when he fought the trainers, he'd witnessed them all fight and hadn't seen a Crunch come from the Grass-Type lover. He'd put it on simply getting stronger and learning more moves, but he knew Trainers were supposed to fight at the Trainer's skill level to truly prove their Pokemon battle capabilities. So why was Cilan's Pokemon significantly stronger?

He looked over to Zane, an intense look on the boy's face as he fought. Maybe they did know what they were facing and had prepared the night before for it. Maybe they knew Zane was coming. The more Darragh thought about it, the more right he felt he was. They were pushing Zane extra hard. As for what purpose, he had yet to figure out.

It didn't seem to affect Zane much, however, as he was countering Cilan's moves in ways that might even have the Grand Champion impressed. Zane was using Simmer's high attack power against Lillipup's weaker defense and it was clearly working. He pumped a fist in the air when Lillipup was declared unfit for battle, leaving Zane with his very first Gym Badge. Darragh smiled as Zane went to shake hands with Cilan. Nurse Joy walked up to the two of them and began to tell them what was going on. The Treecko scratched his chin in thought. That wasn't a welcoming bit of all.

As the group was about to leave the Gym, Cilan gave one last call to them, "I wish your team the best of luck! Keep an eye on Darragh for me!"

They started walking down the path onto Route 3. Pidove were flying in the trees above them, the occasional Patrat scuttled across the path. He remembered the last time they were here, Liz had run into a herd of Blitzle where they had found Kreed and got him to join them on their group. The two of them ended up taking on the next gym together. He wondered if they would run into the same herd.

At the same time, he couldn't help but think about what he talked about in the garden last night with Bastra. That night, Liz and Darragh had taken a walk to the garden, sitting on the bench and enjoying the environment around them. It was at that point that a group of Stunfisk were surrounding one specific Stunfisk in particular. Darragh had gotten down there and fought the group, beating them all surprisingly swiftly. Bastra had been very grateful for it. Now...Darragh looked down the path keeping an eye ahead of them. He hoped Bastra would come through for him.

"So, what do you think of the nightmares?" he asked Otto, careful to not be within earshot of Zane as he focused on getting to the next city.

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Zane was surprisingly focused on the road ahead, likely fueled by a desire to get to this second gym and learn more about his mother. The museum up ahead knew a lot about ancient artifacts, old Pokémon, ruins, and the like. If there were answers to be found about the old world, it was the place to get them. Well, there were a few others, but it was the closest.

Meanwhile, Otto looked towards Darr, who asked him about the nightmares. "I think it means trouble. I don't want to worry him, but I get the feeling the more this goes on, the worse it will get. So I don't know whether to support leaving it be...or chasing it down as quickly as possible. Because if a Pokémon is behind it, besides the fact it has to at least be a Dark, Psychic, or Ghost Type, the fact it can affect people from such a long range, since he had these Nightmares in the middle of town inside a Pokémon center, it might not be something you can run from. And if its just natural nightmares, what is triggering them? Is something here causing these nightmares? We need more information, but I get the feeling this is only the beginning".

Zane looked behind him, and smiled a little. "Hey, you two somehow tired? Your dragging behind, and you didn't even battle. YOur not getting slow on me, are you?"

Otto facepalmed. "And sometimes, he just sort of ignores all the doom and gloom, powers on ahead, completely oblivious to how dangerous it is, or if he is aware, just doesn't care. Oh well, that's our Zane for you. Stubborn until the end. And unfortunately for us, he is also really smart, so he usually ends up being right, which doesn't help".

"What was that about me being right?" Zane asked.

"That you are barely ever right!" Otto yelled.

"Really? Cause evidence would prove otherwise!" Zane replied, prompting a water gun from Otto to the face.

"See what I mean? He has like, a 70% chance right now he will be fine, at least" Otto told him. "If anything, he might not be taking it seriously enough. Now, sure he looks stressed. You can see it in his body language. But his voice, its got no tension behind it, no weight of worries. He is confident. That is Zane's strength. And unfortunately, it makes him harder to live with. But I suppose his spirit is one of his better qualities. Now I just wish he wouldn't get lost so much....Zane, its a left, not a right!"

"What?! You sure?"

"Yes Damnit, stop going the wrong way all the time!" Otto sighed. "Well, I guess excluding Simmer obviously, we should keep an eye out for any Ghost, Psychic, or Dark type Pokémon that might seem malicious of with the intent to harm. Until then, I guess we try to get stronger, or enjoy what time we have. After all, if we worry too much, it will overwork us, plus I don't want Zane to worry too much".

"What was that about worrying?" Zane asked.

"I worry you will never get a sense of direction!" Otto yelled. "Study maps more!"

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Darragh laughed as Otto and Zane bantered back and forth before nodding, "Yeah, I guess you're right..." he looked into the bushed, thinking ahead, "Still, I think we should keep an eye out for suspicious Pokemon...not just of Psychic, Dark, and Ghost-Types, but of all types. My experience has taught me to expect the unexpected. And I have seen much more than my appearance gives away. There are crazier things than a Grass-Type who knows Nightmare."

The group continued to walk towards their destination. Zane had supreme focus on getting to the next city and not enough focus on navigating to the next city. Otto continued to nag him about getting lost and tried to keep him focused on the road ahead. Simmer and Sparks continued to rest in their Pokeballs after the fight against Cilan. Darragh stayed a couple paces behind them, taking their surroundings in and naturally absorbing everything around him, trying to learn from it. He'd walked this path before, however, and there wasn't anything new to learn from this path.

That's not true. There's always something that can be learned...

He heard whispering. Raising his head slightly in confusion, the Treecko stepped to the right side of the path, trying to listen to see if it was a mistake or a figment of his imagination. The whispering continued, however, letting him know that he was't going crazy. Curious, he decided to eavesdrop.

"That's the Pokemon we saw months ago. I'm sure of it," one voice whispered.

"You're lying," came the harsh reply. Even through whispers, he could tell the voice was familiar slightly.

"No, I'm sure it is! I've never seen this one anywhere else except on this path."

"Coincidence. And this trainer is different, anyhow." There was a pause. "See? Different Pokemon. The girl didn't have an Oshawott."

Another pause, followed by a sigh. "I guess you're right."

"Alright," the other voice said, "Now let's show these guys what happens to those who think they can just walk on our path!"


"Zane, look out!" Darragh hollered as he ran up and practically shoved him out of the way as a large Zebstrika charged through the trees, plowing into the Treecko instead. He was launched into the trees, catching grass and bushes as he tumbled. When he finally skidded to a stop, he ignored the pain from scratches all over and quickly got up, charging back onto the road. The sight that was to behold him was one that filled him with joy, nostalgia, and terror at the same time.

It surely was the Blitz...the herd of Blitzle that roamed around this part of the woods. These were the ones who had befriended Liz and Darragh so quickly...quickly enough to where their youngest named Kreed joined them on their journey. Why were they attacking with such aggression now when they were so docile before?

They were currently in the process of maneuvering themselves around Zane and Otto. The eight Blitzle had surrounded them and were closing in. The Zebstrika, which Darragh recalled was called Hertz, was standing directly in front of them, glaring menacingly at the redheaded boy. Darragh noticed something around it's eye...something that shook him to the core. A black ring had formed around Hertz's eyes...a black ring that hadn't been there the first time they'd met. But he'd definitely seen it before.

There's no way this is starting now...not this early!

"Where do you think you're goin', human?" Hertz said, his mouth curling up into a sneer.

Darragh leaped over two of the Blitzle and into the circle, eyes on the Zebstrika. "What are you doing Hertz?"

A couple of the Blitzle turned to look at him, eyes showcasing their confusion, "He knows your name," one of them noted.

"NO!" Hertz roared, stamping a hoof down, "This is NOT DARRAGH! We run this part of the forest! It's likely he was warned by that lovey dovey Nurse Joy in Striaton City! Now let's take them down!"

Darragh called back to the others, "Reasoning with him isn't going to work! We have to knock him out!"

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As Zane watched the scene unfold, this new one, Hertz, was seemingly powerful and a little bit crazed. It was also shouting like crazy. He looked at the Zebstrika, and simply said "I am planning to walk this way towards the next city. Also, you seem a little on edge. Is something wrong?"

The Zebstrika and the Blitzle gave him a look. "Wait, you can understand us! No, it doesn't matter! Attack! Besides, you must be lying! The path is back that way!"

Once again, they had taken the wrong path. But that didn't matter, as the wild Pokémon attacked. "Alright! Simmer, I choose you!"

However, the Pokeball was empty. Zane had a weirded out look on his face, when suddenly Simmer appeared behind him. "Sorry about that, I smelled something sweet back there and left my Pokeball to investigate".

"Alright, well I need you and Sparks to hold off the Blitzle while we take on Hertz".

"How the hell did he know my name?! Can he really understand us?" he wondered, enraged. "Take this human! Thunderstrike!"

Zane barely dodged the lightning attack in time. Meanwhile, Otto moved into position. "Do it now Otto! The move you created, use Water Star!" Otto's water star was identical to a water shuriken, only it was one, larger one, and it spun with precision power. It could slice through grass even. Otto threw it at Hertz, scoring a hit. Now, Zane knew it wouldn't be that effective, but he needed it for the setup.

"Sparks, Otto, switch positions! Sparks, use thunder on the soaked target!"

This setup allowed for thunder to do extra damage, and even though Hertz was an electric type, this still ended up hurting him. Sparks then followed up with Aerial Ace.

"Now, Sparks, Simmer, Switch positions! Simmer, use Fire Spin to burn Hertz!"

It didn't even occur to Zane this was occurring as a type of rotation battle.

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Hertz took the Water Star and the Thunder head-on. Sure it kind of hurt, but the Zebstrika was tough. Even with the sudden Aerial Ace, he was able to withstand quite a bit. Realization dawned on him as he realized the switcheroo tactic the redheaded boy was pulling on him. When the Litwick approached with Fire Spin, Zebstrika bound to the left, dodging the attack. He had the perfect move set up for Simmer, using Pursuit and hitting her in her blind side. Because of the rotation tactic they had set up, the Dark-Type move did double the damage it would have to Simmer. Once more gaining the upper hand, Hertz stomped his feet and roared.

"Blitz Formation C! Coverage!" the Zebstrika boomed.

And with blazing speed, they attacked en masse. Two Blitzle to each Pokemon. The two with the least experience went after the already weakened Simmer, who would now have to dodge Tail Whip and Quick Attack. The next two conjoined on the Water-Type Otto, striking with a Tail Whip and a Shock Wave. Blitzle Five and Six would pounce on Sparks, both with Quick Attack.

The most experienced of the lot convened on the battered but determined Darragh, one with Flame Charge while the other started to Charge himself up. Darragh was narrowly able to miss the fire attack, returning the favor with Energy Ball. It hit it's mark and caused that Blitzle to tumble. It was hurt, but not down yet. While Blitzle G got up, Blitzle H used a more powerful Spark on the Treecko. He felt the electricity coarse through him with sudden pain. But it didn't linger. And he wasn't paralyzed which was good.

Blitzle G tried to Flame Charge again, but Darragh was ready with his handy dandy vine tied around his wrist. He uncoiled it and sent it hurtling towards the charging Blitzle. He grinned as the vine wrapped around the foe's leg. Yanking with all his might, Darrgh managed to interrupt the attack and send the Blitzle sprawling over his feet, crashing hard into the dirt. Blitzle H stopped, recognizing the vine.

"It is you then," he said, "Hertz is wrong."

Darragh shook his head, "Hertz is possessed. He's not able to think straight. We need to find a way to stop him."

Meanwhile, Hertz stared down Zane. It would be extremely hard for the redheaded trainer to keep track of four different Pokemon battles at once, even with all the skills he had. Not to mention the fact that the Zebstrika would be attacking him as well. He twitched slightly.

"No Pokemon to defend you now!" he grinned with dark satisfaction before going after Zane with Wild Charge. The dark ring in his eyes grew a bit bigger.

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Zane had seconds to react. He was surrounded. He was being charged at. His only way to escape was up.

"Later Hertz!" Zane shouted as he launched a grappling hook into the air and got it stuck into a tree, and escaped upward, causing Hertz to charge into two of the Blitzle attacking Simmer and do sufficient damage to them to give Simmer a shot. And from this angle, Zane could manage all the battles at once.

"Darr, behind you! I recommend using Pound once they charge towards you, jump up into the air, and use any grass ranged attacks you have! Sparks, operation Ring Ring Static Zing! Otto, use your shell to slash those Blitzle. Keep up close, get under them, then send them flying with water gun! Simmer, finish off those two with Shadow Ball!"

Sparks flew around the Blitzle and gave them a large enough static charge to seriously hurt them. Due to the intense speed, they couldn't hit sparks, and the torrent of air made it impossible for them to hit with their ranged attacks. Otto slashed his two Blitzle, and then ducked under them and sent them flying. Meanwhile, Simmer, who was all boosted up from the mixture earlier, actually finished off the two Blitzle with Shadow Ball!

"And Hertz, first of all, me and the Pokémon with me defend each other! Secondly, what is wrong with you! Had I not anticipated this possibility, I would be paralyzed on the floor right now! And thirdly, you zapped my favorite pair of socks! Their all black and tattered now thanks to the Wild Charge that only grazed me...".

Zane really did like those socks. Of course, he had spares, but still.

"Alright guys, once you take down your Blitzle, focus on their leader, Hertz! Use your strongest moves!

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Character Portrait: Zane Bell Character Portrait: Darragh the Treecko
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Hertz's eyes widened as the redheaded boy launched himself above him, using a grappling hook he hadn't seen before now. He glanced back and kept running as he eyed the boy with hate. That tricky little-

His thought process was cut off as he slammed into Blitzle A and B. They both cried out in shock at the sudden strike from behind and were sent cascading forward. Simmer used this opportunity to hit them with Shadow Ball, taking them down quickly. A growl of annoyance rose from Hertz's throat as he used Pursuit once more on her. It wouldn't do as much damage as it did last time, but because it was super effective against Litwick's Ghost-Type anyway coupled with the previous attack he had landed on her, it would likely do the trick to finishing her off.

Darragh turned around quickly as he processed Zane's warning. Sure enough, Blitzle G was using Flame Charge once more, trying to hit him with the Type Weakness. Unfortunately for the stubborn Blitzle, Darragh had already effectively dodged the move twice and a third time wasn't going to change the outcome. He listened to the trainer's advice, interrupting the charge with Pound, then using the vine to grapple onto an overhanging branch and swing away, gaining some distance. Once far enough, he used Energy Ball, the attack striking Blitzle G with a critical hit. She was down for the count.

Blitzle H watched passively as he walked up to his partner, "He's a bit more versatile than you give him credit for, huh?" he grinned.

Blitzle G shook her head and moaned, "Why aren't you attacking him?"

"Because I know him," Blitzle H told her, "He's a friend of mine...a friend I met before any of you guys joined..."

"A friend?" Blitzle G repeated, "Then why is Hertz trying to take them down?"

"That's where I'm confused. We met him at the same time," Blitzle H looked out towards the ongoing battle as Sparks constantly and persistently dodged every attack Blitzle E and F were flinging at him. Darragh had moved on to helping Otto, giving a nifty little Leer as Blitzle C and D flew over them and hit a couple of trees behind them, the impact trauma much worse because of their lowered defense. They likely weren't getting up any time soon, but just in case, Darragh used Absorb on each of them, gaining some of what little energy they had left and applying it to his own fight. Blitzle H watched them with satisfaction and pure awe at their team chemistry.

"He said that Hertz was possessed," Blitzle H went on, recalling his words, "But I don't know how and by whom."

"Do you think it has to do with the ring around his eye he refuses to talk about?" Blitzle G was now slowly getting to her feet, wincing as she did.

"I'd believe it," Blitzle H nodded, "He never really explained it."

Meanwhile, Hertz was staring up at Zane angrily, his inner energy letting loose a tiny bit by a spark of electricity shooting from his skin. Darragh turned to face him, Otto doing presumably the same thing. Hertz let loose mighty roar before relaxing suddenly. It's planted feet seemed to lift itself higher and it almost looked lighter. Hertz had used Agility, something that would make him go amazingly faster.


"Otto, I got this one," Darragh held a hand out, a sign for the Oshawott to hold back, "Go help Sparks."