By: Theodore Leung
It was a rough morning for Ryna and her friends, the tension between the Squirtle and the Growlithe flying high. Ryna was getting worried these two Pokémon would get into a fight before they even came close to Star City. If anything, Spark was trying his best to avoid the Squirtle. If Hydra was near the front, Spark would be at the back. If Spark was at the left, then one would know Hydra would be at the right. It pretty much revolved around that, Ryna and Sam both getting more nervous every time the two crossed paths. Spark always seemed to growl every time they crossed, but Hydra continued to ignore him.
"Talk about grudges…" Flare whispered to Charles. The Charmander nodded, still keeping his eyes on both the feuding Pokémon. It was pretty quite between the six party members, no one saying a word unless absolutely needed to. The Pikachu decided to break the silence.
"Hydra, why doesn’t Spark like you?" Lin asked the Squirtle. The turtle looked over to the Pikachu walking beside him. Lin decided to approach the Squirtle since the sparks seemed to fly from Spark to Hydra, not vice versa.
"I bested him in combat, as Ryna said…" Hydra told the Lin, keeping his voice down so the Growlithe wouldn’t hear. Hydra was afraid if Spark heard, he would become more infuriated. Lin respected that decision and decided to lower her voice as well.
"No, I don’t think it’s just that…there’s more…" the Pikachu continued. She looked up hopefully at Hydra, but he remained silent. "Have you tried apologizing?" Lin continued, not willing to give up so easily.
"I’ve tried…" Hydra said, sighing. "He just doesn’t listen to me…he hates my guts, and would probably be willing to rip them out if needed be."
"NO!" Lin shouted out, scaring everyone. She instantly lowered her voice as not to attract anymore attention. "Spark isn’t that kind of Pokémon, he wouldn’t do such a thing."
"Yeah, sure…" Hydra said, not wanting to continue this discussion anymore then it needed be. Again, Lin respected his decision, deciding to take the discussion to the other party.
"Spark, what’s there between you and Hydra?" Lin asked, running up beside the Growlithe. The Growlithe didn’t respond, only kept on walking. "Spark?" Lin persisted, but the fiery Pokémon stayed silent. The Pikachu shook her head, the frustration of this seeping through, but she let it pass, leaving this case unsolved. She sighed, and fell back to where Flare and Charles walked in the line of Pokémon and trainers.
"Guess you found nothing," Flare said, her head leaning against Charles’ shoulder. The Charmander had an arm wrapped around the Flareon’s shoulder, the two walking in sync.
"Nothing…" Lin muttered. It was a bit sickening for her to see such a scene between the two fire types, how they walked and talked with each other. Lin rolled her eyes at the thought, then jumped towards the head of the pack again and leaped onto Ryna’s shoulder.
"Hey Lin, something wrong?" Ryna asked the Pikachu.
"That fire couple behind us," Lin replied, looking back.
"Yeah," Ryna said, smiling as she looked back. "It’s kind of cute actually."
"Cute?!" Lin exclaimed, although softly. She stuck her tongue out at the thought, causing both trainers to giggle. Lin shook her head in disbelief, then turned to face Sam. "What’s there between Hydra and Spark?" Sam stopped laughing almost instantaneously.
"Spark hates Hydra as far as I can tell," she replied sadly. "It’s a bitter thing going on between the two. It won’t stop until Spark gets what he wants…"
"Oh…" Lin replied, but shook her head violently. "I don’t believe that! Spark isn’t that kind of Pokémon!" Sam was silent, only continued to trudge along. Lin sighed, shutting up, seeing she’s caused enough damage as it was.
* * * * * *
"Welcome to Star City," Sam introduced as the team of seven passed through the archway into the city. The buildings were not that tall, but as far as the eyes can see, there were lots of them throughout the city.
"Uh…how come there seems to be large gap between this area of residents to those ones?" Ryna asked, referring to a large open field between this little area and the next one far off in the distance. Still, as far as Ryna could tell, the two still seemed two join up eventually as you move closer to the center.
"Oh, it’s because the design of the town is in a star shape, the top point of the start pointing north, the direction we came from," Sam said. "The residents take up the five points in the star, while the commercial areas occupy the center."
"How come that side is open fields and that side is mountains?" Flare asked, the opposite side of the fields being mountains.
"In each of the five gaps in between star points, represent an elements type, in a way of saying," Sam said. "The open fields is where you can catch common Pokémon like Pidgys and Rattatas. The mountains are obviously where you can catch some rock types. The south gap is a lake, where trainers can go to catch water types. Southeast gap is forest area, so you can catch Bug Pokémon and other Pokémon that prefer to inhabit forested areas. The southwest gap is interesting, as the workers here decided to put a small abandoned power plant so electric types would come and move in."
"Hey, really?!" Lin asked surprised. Sam nodded, smiling. "Cool!" the Pikachu exclaimed.
"Anyway, the as I said the center is the commercial areas of town," Sam continued.
"What’s with the large tower?" Charles asked, finally noticing the large standing structure that resided in the commercial district of town.
"That’s basically a tower for Pokémon," Sam replied, sighing. "The Pokémon center is at the base of the tower. Go up a few floors, you get Pokémon conventions. Few more floors, seminars on raising Pokémon and things like that. Go up about another five floors, and you start to see labs and other research type institutes. Go up yet another five floors, there are rooms where trainers can battle each other, or train their Pokémon. At the top, is an open roof gym arena, where Lavan resides…" Sam trailed off at the end, for obvious reasons. The party fell deathly silent.
"We can rest at my house for the night, then we can take on Lavan in the morning," Sam suggested, everyone agreeing to the prospect. Sam nodded, and led the way.
* * * * * *
The night sky was clam, the full moon blossoming bright in the sky. The central district of the town still shined brightly as people still worked at their jobs within the center of the star. The night was a joyous occasion; Sam’s mom was ecstatic about seeing her daughter again after three months. She was more then willing to let all her friends stay for the night. Even with occasion, there was still one face in the party still dull. Hydra stood on the balcony, staring up at brightly lit tower in the center of the entire town. Sparks of lightning flew from the tower from time to time, showing signs of training at the rooftop. The Squirtle sighed, his chance taken away to be with one of the best. The turtle exhaled, and entered the house.
"Poor guy," Sam muttered from above, the trainer sitting on the slanted roof of her house. She sighed, and lay back against the cold surface of the roof, although the low temperatures did not faze her. It was the trainer’s turn to look upon the tower that made her friend turn for the worse in this cruel world. "How will you take it if you lose?" Sam asked the tower before her, though she knew she would never get a response until the tower was actually defeated. She sighed, then entered into the building she still called home.
* * * * * *
The roof top gym was an interesting place to fight. The wind blew hard at this altitude, but no one showed being affected by such weather. Fences surrounded the perimeter of the building, making sure no one fell the long distance to their doom. Artificial grass paved the once concrete ground of this roof; white lines marked the border of the arena. As usual, a small rectangular area was provided at each end of the arena for contenders and challengers to stand.
Lavan himself didn’t look as bad as described. He wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans as his attire, the boys hair covered with a blue sun hat, the brim turned backwards. He stood tall on his side of the arena, although not imposing. The boy examined the competition faced before him today, then grunted.
"Hydra, I thought I said I didn’t want to see you face in my arena again," he said, no emotion in his voice. The Squirtle didn’t reply, only stood there, waiting. "And Sam, you ready to challenge me?" he asked, suppressing a laugh.
"I’m not here to challenge you, Ryna is," Sam told her former friend.
"And how many Pokémon do you have then, my lady?" he asked, in a mocking tone.
"Three," Ryna replied defiantly. She was not going to be bested by this arrogant boy.
"I got a better idea then," Lavan started. "You’re five Pokémon verse my five Pokémon. At least this way, Sam, you get to see if you can best me in some aspects, though I doubt either of you will make a scratch in my team."
"Just watch it," Ryna muttered. She looked back at Sam, who nodded her approval reluctantly. "We accept," the Pallet Town trainer told the gym leader.
"Good," he muttered. "Let’s go, Starmie!" Lavan commanded, tossing the Pokéball. In a flash, the start shaped Pokémon appeared from his home, ready for combat.
"Okay Lin, let’s go!" Ryna commanded. The Pikachu nodded, and jumped into the arena. "Give it a Thunderbolt!" Lin nodded, sparks flying in explosive fury as she fired the electric power out, smashing against Starmie. Lin smiled, but that soon faded once the water type shook off the electric current.
"You don’t know anything! Starmie, Thunder!" Lavan commanded, the star throwing his own electric charges. Lin tried to evade, but the attack struck home, frying her. Lin fell to the ground, fried. "And again!" The Starmie nodded, and fired another jolt of electric power at the fallen Pikachu.
"Lin, Thunder Shield!" Ryna commanded. With renewed vigour, the female Pikachu leaped into the air, absorbing the attack into the shield of electrons. "And reverse it!" Ryna commanded next, though Lin needed no orders to do so. She fired the doubly powerful attack at the Starmie, frying him in a matter of seconds. He fell to the ground, its energy zapped of all energy. Lin exhaled, definitely weakened by that harsh, yet short, battle. "Return Lin, catch a breather." The Pikachu didn’t object, and ran back to her post in the team.
"Pathetic Starmie," Lavan grunted. "No matter," he said out loud recalling the Pokémon to his ball. "Nidoqueen, go!" Again, the leader tosses the ball into the field, the massive ground/poison type lumbering over anything Ryna or Sam had in their team.
"Charles, she’s all yours!" Ryna ordered, the Charmander leaping into the field, although his size paled in comparison to the opponent.
"Ground against fire, this should be easy," Lavan said, purposely out loud as well, infuriating Ryna, just as planned. "Bubble Beam!" The Nidoqueen fired off bubbles faster then anyone could count at the Charmander.
"Flamethrower those bubbles!" Charles, not needing to be told, did so, the fire attack nullifying the water attack with a hiss, steam erupting from the vaporizing water. The Charmander exhaled, seeing that threat was over.
Suddenly, the Nidoqueen appeared from the guise of steam, slamming her massive fist into the Charmander. Charles howled out in pain as he flew back. The fire type landed on the ground, ready for some more.
"Earthquake!" both trainers commanded at the same time, both Pokémon in the arena causing great tremors throughout the whole battlefield. Stalagmites of earth and rock shot out from the ground, knocking both Pokémon off their feet with great force. Clouds of dust gathered in the air as the pieces of rock landed one by one onto the ground, separating the trainers and their Pokémon from each other. Charles shivered, but got to his feet slowly ready for the next attack.
"Rock slide!" Lavan voice commanded, large boulders hurled through the air.
"Look out!" both Ryna and Flare shouted out. The fire type had no time to react, the first boulder knocking him of his feet, the second and third impacting against him as he flew through the air, smashing him into the ground in front of Ryna. The dust finally settled, the Nidoqueen standing, her trainer smirking.
"I win round two," he told them. The leader recalled the Nidoqueen.
"Oh, Charles…" Flare whispered, leaning over the wounded Charmander. She stroked one of his wounds.
"Flare…go out and take him down…" Charles muttered. A tear formed from the Flareon’s eye, but she nodded. The Charmander smiled weakly, before falling unconscious. Flare looked away, but walked defiantly into the battle torn field. Her opponent was the spoon wielding Alakazam.
"Easy victory," Lavan sneered.
"Fire Spin!" Ryna ordered, Flare leaping into the air and firing the pulsing wave of fire. It connected to where the Alakazam stood, circling around and forming a tornado of fire that engulfed the Psychic type. Still, the leader did not seem distressed by the turn of events. Even after the fire cleared, Lavan didn’t seem worried, despite his Pokémon being badly burnt at all locations.
"Recover," he said softly, the Psychic’s eyes glowing red. The burnt areas slowly faded in mystical aura, the Psychic healing all his wounds.
"Again, Flare!" Ryna ordered, the Flareon ready to fire again.
"Psychic," Lavan said in his soft tone. Again, the Alakazam’s eyes glowed red, the faint blue aura surrounding the Flareon, distressing her. Few seconds later, she was lifted into the ground, and thrown into the nearby rock formation formed from the previous earthquake. Flare howled out in pain, but the pain has yet to end. She was lifted again, and thrown into another rock formation at the other end of the field, and again, and again. The Flareon was tossed back and forth between the two rock formations like a tennis ball, Ryna felt powerless to do anything. "I win," Lavan said, the Flareon getting tossed full force into the rocks one last time, the wall breaking under the pressure and collapsing onto her.
"FLARE!?" Ryna shouted out, definitely panicked. The trainer ran over to the fallen formation, digging the Flareon out of the mess. She cuddled the wounded fire type in her arms, being careful not to hurt the Pokémon anymore.
"I-I guess I lost…" Flare muttered, her eyes closed.
"Don’t say anything, just rest, Flare," Ryna told the Flareon, the fire type nodding her agreement. Ryna sighed, and walked back to the trainer’s area, where Nurse Joy and her Chansey was tending to the wounds of the Pokémon. Some trainers were noticeable at the sidelines.
"They came once they heard the double earthquake," Sam told her fellow trainer as Ryna set the Flareon down beside Charles. "I guess it’s all mine now," Sam said, sighing. Ryna nodded, stepping out of the rectangle, Sam stepping in. Spark and Hydra followed, both ready for combat. If anything the two agreed on, it would be to show Lavan their strength. "Okay Spark, you’re up first." The Growlithe nodded, jumping into the arena.
"Ah Spark, long time no see," Lavan said. "I would’ve pitted you against Hydra, but that doesn’t seem like an option. Ah well, Arcanine, go!" Lavan tossed the Pokémon ball into the arena, the evolved Growlithe leaping out. The Arcanine loomed overhead, but Spark didn’t care, he stood his ground. "Take Down!" Lavan commanded, his Arcanine tackling Spark at lightning speed. The Growlithe howled in pain, but held his ground, the Arcanine brushing off the recoil damage.
"Tackle!" Sam commanded, Spark growling. He charged the Arcanine, knocking him off his feet. Lavan was in disbelief that one of lesser evolution could knock down a superior one.
"Fire Spin!" Lavan ordered when his Arcanine got back to his feet. The tornado of flame power jetted across the field, swallowing the fire dog whole. "Battle over," Lavan smirked. The smirk soon faded, as the Growlithe remained standing despite the power of the attack. "Fire Blast!" Lavan commanded next, his Arcanine unleashing the ultimate fire attack known.
"Flame Shield!" the Growlithe’s trainer commanded, a protective barrier of sheer heat surrounding the defender. The Fire Blast smashed against it, but did little more then nicking the shield. "Tackle it again!" Sam ordered, the Growlithe jumping from the shield and smashing headfirst into the bewildered Arcanine. The evolved Growlithe staggered backwards, stunned by the events and pain. "Nova Arc!" Sam yelled out next, the Growlithe storing power. His opponent shook his head to get rid of the dizziness, but was too late.
Spark howled out, a howl of sheer power and defiance against his former trainer. Fireball after fireball flew from him, each one smashing against the Arcanine, each one more powerful then the previous. The Arcanine was pushed back, one hit after another, nothing he could do to stop the barrage of flying fire. Spark howled one last time, then sent the final blast at the Arcanine, with enough power of three Fire Blasts knocking the living hell out of the Arcanine. Flames spewed everywhere on impact, disintegrating seconds later. The Arcanine staggered left, then right, like a drunken person, before collapsing in front of his trainer.
"NO!" Lavan shrieked, recalling the Pokémon in disgust. "No matter, Hydra stands no chance," the leader said, attempting to calm his anger.
"We’ll see, Lavan," Sam said, although not over confident, not letting that emotion slip in. "Hydra, it’s up to you now…" she whispered, the Squirtle nodding. The blue turtle replaced the Growlithe in the combat zone. Spark had no objections, feeling happy he was able to prove something to Lavan.
"I’ll just use the same Pokémon that bested Hydra in the first place. Raichu, go!" The evolved electric mouse leaped from his ball, his tails flailing around, ready for combat.
"Opposite types, typical," Sam thought. She looked down at Spark, seeing he was thinking the same. "Don’t worry about Hydra, you can do it!" Spark nodded, giving his own cheers to the fight. Hydra exhaled, ready to fight for his life if needed be. Still the thought that he was fighting the same Pokémon that beat him before was not his idea of good.
"Raichu, Thunderbolt!" Lavan commanded, electrical energy surging across the battlefield. Hydra naturally withdrew into his shell, the shock charring his shell. Still, the Raichu was expecting that, and with amazing agility, charged forward and punched the shell hard with his fist, sending it through the air.
"Hydra, Water Gun!" Sam commanded, the Squirtle appearing from his shell and raining down H2O at the Raichu. The electric type took the hits, but merely swatted the water away like it was nothing. The Squirtle landed, ready for the next phase of combat.
"Thunder!" Lavan commanded. Hydra took a step back, knowing he had nothing to stop that attack. The Raichu began to charge energy.
"Help…" Hydra said softly. He backed up another step, the Raichu grinning. The electric type unleashed the thunder-powered attack.
"One hit, one kill," Lavan told Sam, also grinning.
"Hydra, Water Shield!" Sam commanded. The Squirtle gave a dubious look but nodded, channeling his water energy. In matter of milliseconds, a hydro sphere surrounded the Squirtle, absorbing the attack. Hydra was surprised of such a maneuver, but decided to use the attack to its full potential. He concentrated, tossing the electrically charged barrier-now-attack at the surprised Raichu. To stunned to do anything the Raichu took the attack, knocking sending volts of electricity through him, as well as the additional benefit of hydro power.
"What?! No way!" Lavan shouted, growling viciously with the change in events. "Raichu, take him out or you’re out of here!" he threatened, raising a fist. Still, the Raichu was stunned.
"Stop that Lavan, it’s not right!" Sam shouted, disgusted by this leader for the last time. "Hydra, Hydraulic Arc!" she commanded, unleashing another one of those unknown attacks. The Squirtle charged up energy, much similar to Spark’s Nova Arc. Hydra unleashed the energy, storming the electric type with multiple balls of water. Despite the water attacks being weaker then Spark’s fireballs, the amount easily made up for the inconsistency. Each hit knocked the Raichu, the first one in the air, the others following and knocking him further up into the sky. More and more impacted, sending him higher and higher. Firing one more, Hydra began to charge again. The Raichu shook the pain from his body, opening his eyes.
"It’s over!" Hydra shouted, firing the last hydro attack of the combo. The hydro pump shot upwards, flying bast the Raichu, surprising everyone, though for no reason. The ball came back down, smashing against the mouse and sending him right into the ground at an incredible speed. The electric type didn’t stand a chance, fainting upon impact. Hydra breathing was harsh, but he was happy he defeated the Raichu, and gave victory to his friends.
"No…I couldn’t lose…" Lavan muttered, falling to his knees. He started dumb founded at his fallen Raichu.
"Yes! We did it!" Sam cheered, hugging Spark. "You both were great!" She held the Growlithe happily, her goal complete. Her two Pokémon exchanged glances, both nodding. Ryna smiled, also happy for her fellow trainer. Ryna held Charles in her arms, Flare and Lin standing beside her.
"So, that’s one more badge to add to the collection," Lin said, her ears twitching.
"No…no…no!" Lavan shouted, repeating the same two-letter word over and over. "I will not lose to you!" he screamed out in frustration and pure anger. He got to his feet, drawing a pistol.
"Wha?!" everyone exclaimed. Lavan leveled the pistol to where Sam stood.
"I WILL NOT LOSE!" he screamed out, firing.
"Look out!" Spark shouted, pushing against Sam with all his force, knocking the two over, and bullet nicking his fur.
"STUPID GROWLITHE!" Lavan shouted, now firing at Spark. The fire type watched in awe as the bullet came closer, everyone too shocked to do anything.
Except for one.
"NO!" Hydra shouted, jumping into the way, the bullet being absorbed into his shell.
"Hydra?!" Spark exclaimed, surprised that his Pokémon would take such an attack for him. The Squirtle flew through the air, landing right beside Spark and Sam. Everyone was silent, excepting for the clicking of another bullet being loaded.
"Hydra…why?" Spark asked, tears forming despite being a fire type.
"Because…I owe it to you…" Hydra replied, weakly, smiling.
"Hydra…" Spark said meekly, unable to thinking of anything. Again, the Squirtle smiled, before going unconscious. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!" Spark screamed out, his heart throbbing in pain with all the things he’s done to Hydra over the past, with all he’s suffered, and with what Lavan done.
"DIE, STUPID GROWLITHE!" Lavan yelled, firing again.
"NO, you die!" Spark screamed, streaks of tears flowing from him. The Growlithe unleashed a Fire Spin attack, melting the oncoming bullet and surrounding the leader into a torrent of flames. Screams of pain could be heard within. It didn’t matter to Spark, he didn’t care anymore. He only turned his head towards the friend he thought he never had.
* * * * * *
It was possibly a week after the Gym Leader battle, though Spark would never know, never keeping track of time as he stayed beside the Squirtle during the whole time the water type was in intensive care.
"So, I guess we go on without them, right?" Lin asked, on the hilltop at the outside area of Star City. The four looked down at the city shaped like a Star, the last few days full of chaos with the reports and news of the Ex-Gym Leader. Ryna held the Space Badge, shaped into a circle with large quantities of stars drawn into the black background.
"I guess," Ryna said, depressed. Charles and Flare stood to her right, both also mournful with the tragedy that has happened. Lavan was never killed in the Fire Spin, only wounded, but was stripped of his title of Gym Leader, the position being offered to Sam, the one who defeated Lavan in the first place. Ryna never stayed around to hear the verdict, she decided to leave and allow Sam and her Pokémon to recuperate, after the traumatizing events they went through.
"Come on, let’s go…" Ryna said sadly, turning the other direction and to continue her journey.
"Hey, wait up!" Sam shouted from behind, running to catch up with them. After a brief run, she stood beside them, although the trainer was panting. Her Pokémon stood beside her. Spark was ready for anything, and Hydra seemed fine.
"Don’t you have a gym to attend to?" Ryna asked, looking back at the trainer.
"I’ll leave that to someone else, for now, I’m sticking with you," Sam told Ryna, between breaths of air. Ryna gave the Gym Leader another questionable look. "Look, we’re in this together. We’ve come this far, I ain’t leaving your side yet."
"You sure about this?" Ryna asked, not exactly convinced.
"Positive," Sam said, standing upright, showing no signs of weakness. "If you’re going to try to lose me, don’t bother. I’ll track you down like a blood hound." Ryna smiled, happy for Sam to join them again.
"You can come, on the condition you tell us where the next best city to go to is," Ryna told her friend and fellow trainer.
"That’s easy," Sam replied, smiling as well. "Celestial City, due south of here. There’s another gym there, as well as reasonably popular research center."
"Okay, sounds simple enough. Celestial City, here we come!!" Ryna exclaimed.