By: Theodore Leung


            The two trainers and four Pokémon rested on the side of the road, exhausted after the long walk down the northern part of the world. Flare laid there, staring back at the mountains where they came from, still hesitant on leaving Sarpal.

            "She’ll be okay, don’t worry," Charles said, walking up beside the fellow fire type Pokémon. The Charmander sat down beside Flare, offering her some Pokémon food distributed.

            "Yeah, I know…" Flare replied softly, taking the food gratefully. "I…I just feel like I’ve let her down…"

            "You know you didn’t let her down," the Charmander reassured. "She knew you would probably be better trained under Ryna. When we see Sarpal again, Ryna will probably give you back, and I’ll bet you can take down Vapour without much of a problem." Flare smiled, taking the Charmander’s hand in her paw.

            "Thank you…for being there for me…" she whispered. Charles nodded, placing and arm over her shoulder.

* * * * * *

            "Well, talk about love birds…" Spark whispered, staring over to where Charles and Flare sat.

            "You getting jealous?" Lin asked, smirking.

            "Jealous?! Yeah, you wish!" the Growlithe exclaimed. He took another piece of Pokémon food and gulped it down.

            "We all believe that…" Lin replied, giggling madly. Spark swat some dirt at the Pikachu, then went back to eating.

* * * * * *

            "Well, that’s three down," Ryna told Sam, holding the Ice Badge in her hand. "Five more to go…"

            "Yep…" Sam replied, taking a bite from her sandwich. "Any ideas where to go next?" Ryna nodded, clipping the Badge onto her jacket with the rest of the badges.

            "Star City…" Ryna said, making Sam nearly spat out her sandwich.

            "You’re kidding, right?" Sam asked, praying that her fellow trainer was. Ryna shook her head.

            "No, I’ve decided," Ryna replied. "Why don’t you want to go there anyway?"

            "No...I-it’s nothing…" Sam stammered. "We’ll go. I was just surprised I guess." Ryna gave her friend a questionable look, but decided against pursuing the subject any farther. Sam looked up at the sky, the sun beginning it’s slow descent passed the horizon. "Come on, we should get moving. There’s a Pokémon Center coming up. That should be our destination for the night." Ryna nodded, finishing her sandwich and getting up, taking her bag.

            "Come on you guys, we’re going!" Ryna shouted, recalling her Pokémon almost instantly. She nodded, and began walking down the route, her Pokémon trailing behind her.

* * * * * *

            Darkness fell upon the world once more, the stars shining brightly in the distance. The moonlight bathed against Sam, as she leaned on the balcony of her room in the Pokémon Center.

            "You okay Sam?" Spark asked, the Growlithe trotting outside. He looked up at his trainer, her thoughts still somewhere else in the universe. "Sam?"

            "Huh?" Sam replied, shaking her thoughts. "Oh, hi Spark…"

            "What’s wrong?" he asked, concerned. Sam sighed, kneeling down and tickling the neck of the Growlithe. Spark giggled a bit.

            "We’re going to Star City next…" Sam replied sadly, still tickling her Pokémon. Spark stopped giggling, and stood upright, dead serious.

            "But…" he started.

            "I know…don’t worry, we’ll live…" Sam told the Growlithe, forcing a smile. The Growlithe forced a smile back.

            "Come on, get some sleep…we’ll need the rest," Spark said. Sam nodded, stepping into their room.

            "I’m going to get a drink of water first…I’ll be back in a few…" Sam said, Spark nodded, yawning in the process. He curled up on the floor, closing his eyes. His trainer smiled, and left the room, heading for the kitchen on the lower floor of the center. She yawned, taking a few more steps, then tripping over a hard object, sending heads over heels across the rest of the room.

            "Ohh…" Sam muttered, dazed. She scratched the back of her head, then getting up to her knees, facing the thing she tripped over.

            "Ouch…" he said, getting to his feet. The Squirtle stood up, appearing from his shell. He also scratched the back of his head. "Sorry…wait a minute, Sam!?" he exclaimed.


            "Hydra?!" Sam exclaimed back, surprised to find this particular Squirtle here. "Aren’t you suppose to be with Lavan?" The Squirtle shook his head, trotting over to Sam and hugging her.

            "It’s good to see you again…" he whispered in her ear, a tear falling down his cheek.

            "Oh…Hydra…" Sam said softly, lifting the Squirtle and walking back to her room.

            "Hey, what happened?" Ryna asked, rushing downstairs, her Pokémon following her. Some other trainers appeared, also wondering what the racket was about.


            "It’s nothing…" Sam said, walking past all the trainers and Pokémon and into the confines of her own room.

            "What happened out there?" Spark asked, raising his head up, then getting to his feet instantly. "Hydra?!" he exclaimed, surprised to find this Squirtle here.

            "Hey Spark…" Hydra responded, giving a weak smile. "Good to see you again…"

            "Yeah…I guess…" Spark replied, lying back down. "What brings you to these parts anyway? I thought you were with Lavan…"

            "He didn’t want me…" Hydra said in defense, although mournfully.

            "Typical…" Spark muttered, not feeling any sympathy for the Squirtle. He looked away from the turtle and closed his eyes. "Found a better water type?" he asked sarcastically.

            "No, he just thought no fire types will ever come," Hydra replied bitterly, jumping down from Sam. "Between Glacier City and the amount of water type trainers, there is almost never and fires types that comes to Star City."

            "Yeah…sure…then he’ll have fun with the next trainer…" Spark replied, smirking a bit. Hydra gave the fire type a questionable look, though Spark never saw it.

            "The next trainer coming is a friend of mine," Sam told Hydra, the water turtle looking up to face the trainer. "She has a lot of fire types," Sam continued, sitting down on the floor.

            "But Laven’s got ground types…so it doesn’t really matter…" Hydra replied, also sitting on the ground. He shook his head, unable to think of anything to do or say.

            "Sam, you okay?" Ryna asked, knocking on the door. The female trained looked up at the door, then nodded, though Ryna wouldn’t see it. "Sam?" Ryna asked again. "What’s going on?" Sam sighed, then got to her feet and opened the door. Ryna had a look of concern on her face, she quickly stepping into the room. "What the heck is going?" she asked, looking down at the Squirtle.

            "Long story…" Sam replied softly, sitting down on the bed. "If you care to stay up all night, sure, I’ll tell you." Ryna nodded, sitting down beside her fellow trainer.

            "From the top then," Ryna said. Sam sighed, nodding.

            "Star City is my hometown," Samantha started, staring out the window. "It is a pretty small city in comparison to some others, but despite that, there were many serious trainers about. I wasn’t exactly catalogued as being serious, but I still tried." Sam sighed, looking down at Spark. "Lavan was one of those categorized as a ‘serious trainer’. He was the best trainer in the city, toppling any challenge placed on his Pokémon team."

            "Well, about a year ago, the League came to our small city and decided to set up an official Pokémon League Gym. There would be a tournament to see who would be the Star City Gym Leader. I guess you can figure out who that was, eh Ryna?" Sam asked, smiling a bit. Ryna nodded in acknowledgement.

            "Anyway, when Lavan became the Gym Leader, everything seemed to change…" Sam continued, although trailing off at the end of this sentence. She looked up at Ryna, tears forming. "I used to respect him, how he was always cool and clam in any situation…how he could win over anyone, no matter what the odds…he was always such a friend, someone anyone could look up to. He was there, he was a good sport…" Sam shook her head sadly, recalling the memories of pain. "No, that all changed once he became a Gym Leader. He became cold…not caring about anything. If he could win, he’ll do it…he would not even give a chance…even to his friends. If he could take advantage of the situation, he would…no mercy…he would brag and everything…not even to offer a compliment…"

            "He’s changed…" Sam said, her voice raspy now. The trainer was on the brink of tears. "He used to care about his Pokémon, now, he doesn’t care. He only wants to get stronger ones. If one does live up to expectations, he kicks them out of his team…"

            "That’s horrible…" Ryna muttered.

            "You think?" both Spark and Hydra said in a sarcastic tone at the same time.

            "About three months back, Lavan kicked Spark out of his team…" Sam continued, calming down a bit. "I took Spark in, and confronted Lavan, in an attempt to talk some sense into him…" Sam said, beginning to break down again. "He just shoved me out of his Gym, saying I wasn’t worthy to step into it if I don’t even own a Pokémon…that was three months ago…and I left Start City to become an opponent worthy enough to beat him…but it seems like I’m getting nowhere…" Hydra looked up.

            "So that’s why you left…" the turtle Pokémon muttered. Spark growled at the Squirtle.

            "So what is there between Hydra and Spark then?" Ryna asked, noticing the conflict between the two opposite types.

            "Spark was kicked out because Hydra bested him in combat," Sam said, sighing, again regaining her composure. "Well, it was a one-sided battle obviously…" Spark grunted. Ryna nodded slowly.

            "You don’t want to go since you aren’t ready to face Lavan yet, am I correct?" Ryna asked, her fellow trainer nodding her answer. "We don’t have to go," Ryna consolidated.

            "No, we’ll go," Sam said, shaking her head. "I know you’ll beat him…" Ryna smiled lightly, getting to her feet.

            "Yeah, I guess so…" Ryna said, trying to lighten up the situation. She stretched out a bit, then turned to face the three occupants of the room. "Get some sleep, we’re leaving for Star City tomorrow." Spark and Sam nodded. Ryna left the room, leaving the three alone.

            "You coming then?" Sam asked Hydra. The Squirtle gave her a dubious look. "Guess not…"

            "Yeah…be afraid…" Spark leered. He laid his head on his paws and closed his eyes. The Squirtle glanced over at the Growlithe, then sighed.

            "I’ll come," Hydra told the trainer. "If you become my trainer, I’ll come."

            "Wha?!" Spark exclaimed, getting to his feet. "You can’t!"

            "I can…" Sam said, patting the Growlithe. "And I will too…No Pokémon deserves to be abandoned." Hydra smiled, happy to have another trainer now, despite the other Pokémon of hers showing bitter feelings towards him. Spark gritted his teeth, then laid back down to sleep. "You two will just have to get along."

            "No problem," Hydra replied, giving a mock salute. Sam giggled a bit. Spark didn’t reply, only lying there.

            "Come on Spark, cheer up," his trainer said. The Growlithe remained silent, causing his trainer to sigh. "As long as you two get along…I don’t mind…" she sighed, and lay back on her bed. The Squirtle looked over at the Growlithe, beginning to wonder if this was a bad idea.