Chapter 22: Blackout
With the newly evolved Echo at his side, Koa's next challenge is his rematch at veilstone gym. This time, he's determined for things to go differently.
Echo (Male Golbat)
Hazard (Male Joltik)
Rascal (Female Tyrunt)
Anubis (Male Houndoom)
Scrapper (Male Breloom)
Flurry (Female Spheal)
When Koa finally returned to the pokemon center, it was well past midnight. The nurse there had been rather surprised to see him, but didn't seem fazed by him showing up on the doorstep, sopping wet, and in just a few moments, produced an armful of towels for him and his pokemon.
Nurse Joy also helped him check out his pokemon, who aside from being thoroughly soaked, were just fine, she said. After everything was taken care of, she showed him to a room. He took a quick, but deliciously hot shower. By the time he came out, all his pokemon were sleeping soundly. He scanned the room for a second before spotting the dark shape of Echo, clinging upside down from the ceiling fan, his wings wrapped around his fluffy purple body.
Koa smiled at the sight briefly. It was nice to see that even when things changed, some things stayed the same. He gave a long yawn and stretched. Wasting not a moment more, he crawled under the covers, snuggling into the pillow and taking comfort in the presence of his starter, now fully evolved, hanging above him.
The arrival of the next morning brought a few interesting revelations. One, he was sore.
The tumble down the cliff had banged him up worse than he realized. His whole body protested as he tried to roll out of bed. Standing brought a fresh wave of aches and he groaned. Looking at his arms and torso, he noted that he was fairly bruised up as well, giving him the appearance of having been in a fight.
Third, his jacket was a sorry sight. The arms were noticeably scraped up, and the back had a long rip across it, showing the inner lining. Several more smaller tears pockmarked the outside. He frowned at the sight. It wasn't technically unwearable, given it wasn't uncommon to see trainers in roughed up clothing, but he'd definitely have to get a new one today.
His pokemon were all still resting, so he slipped downstairs to grab a bite of food from the cafeteria. He nibbled at a muffin, but didn't end up eating much. His thoughts kept traveling back to his choices during his journey. Maybe if he'd fought harder, studied more, he could have beat Maylene. Maybe he could have even beat Cade after he left Hearthome...
An odd uncertainty filled him. Almost without thinking, he stood up and strode over to the videophones. He dialed Blake's number and waited. A few seconds later his cousin's face appeared on the screen.
"Hey Little K! What's up? How's your journey going?"
Koa smiled a bit stiffly. "Awesome! Echo just evolved!"
Blake's eyes widened. "That's fantastic!" He paused and narrowed his eyes, frowning slightly. "There's something you haven't told me though, isn't there?"
"Yeah," Koa murmured mareepishly. "I fought Maylene yesterday."
Blake nodded knowingly. "You lost, didn't you?"
Koa simply nodded. He looked down, unwilling to meet his cousin's gaze. The way he'd lost still stung. Not even being able to beat two of her pokemon... Blake's voice cut into his thoughts.
"Did you learn from the fight?"
"Since you lost, did you learn something?"
After a few seconds, Koa nodded. "I guess. I mean, I have a better sense of how she fights. And what pokemon she uses."
"That's good," Blake said. "That's something you learned about her
though. Whenever you lose a fight, you should try to learn something about your opponent, and about yourself. So what did you
learn?" He pointed his finger at the screen in emphasis.
Koa blinked, considering his cousin's point. Something he learned about himself? He thought long and hard. "Well, I got overconfident. I thought that because I was getting better, I didn't need to try as hard. I guess I felt like battles would just come naturally and I could win."
At that, Blake grinned proudly. "Now that's what I like to hear." He cleared his throat and sat back from the screen slightly. "Since all the good character stuff is out of the way, let's talk practical. Tell me what pokemon you used and what moves they had."
Koa quickly reviewed his team, while Blake listened attentively. Once he was finished, Blake tapped his chin in thought.
"I've got some advice for you. Teach your pokemon some new moves."
"New moves? But they already know some good ones-"
Blake chuckled, then held up his hands. "You know, sometimes I forget that even though you're pretty smart, you can be pretty dumb."
"Hey!" Koa protested, though he smiled still.
"My point is this. Even though pokemon are generally only capable of truly utilizing a few moves effectively at a time, don't be afraid to teach them new moves. Experiment a little. Once a pokemon has learned a move, it's easy for them to relearn an old one. So it's to your advantage to learn at least a few extra moves, and you can choose to go back and learn an old one later. I know you like your planning, but don't be afraid to experiment a little too."
"I... actually never thought of that," Koa mused. "Maybe I'll try that."
"Do it. And there's no better place than Veilstone. They have the largest department store in Sinnoh, and definitely the widest TM selection."
I knew," Koa replied. "But thanks for the idea! I've been thinking about teaching my pokemon some new moves anyway."
With a farewell to his cousin, he hung up then headed upstairs to gather his pokemon and his bag. It was time to do some shopping.
Veilstone City sported the largest department store in all of Sinnoh. It was more a mall than a store, and sold just about anything and everything a trainer could want - food, clothes, medicines, pokeballs and most importantly of all, TM's. Which meant it was the perfect place to do some TM shopping.
A short time later, he found himself on the 3rd floor of the store, browsing the racks upon racks of TM's, puzzling over what moves to teach his team. Thanks to his loss to Maylene, his funds were rather tight. He figured he could afford about two TM's though, as long as he wasn't buying anything too expensive, like those for Blizzard or Fire Blast. After a solid few hours of deliberating, researching, and overthinking, he settled on Bug Buzz for Hazard, and Stone Edge for Scrapper. Bug Buzz was quite a bit stronger than Bug Bite, and Stone Edge would literally give Scrapper an 'edge' against fire and flying types.
With his shopping done, he returned to the training field at the pokemon center. First, he used his TM case and taught the new moves to his pokemon. He replaced Bug Bite for Bug Buzz and switched Scrapper's Giga Drain for Stone Edge.
The next hour or so, he trained with Scrapper and Hazard, and Flurry, making sure they were familiar with their new moves. Training didn't take long, since TM's granted a pretty solid knowledge of how to use a move. Flurry seemed to be coming along well, he observed. While he didn't want to give her Ice Beam just yet, she had a good handle on Rollout, Water Gun, and Aqua Ring. It was a shame she was so far behind the rest of his team. She had a long way to go before he could use her in a gym battle.
With their training complete, he had only one more thing he wanted to do before returning to the gym.
Seeking out the Battle Triplets turned out to be easy. Asking around for a few minutes got him the answers he needed. He found them on the eastern edge of town, doing a practice match. Quite a few trainers had gathered to watch them fight, making the real challenge squeezing through the crowd to get a good view. Demetria and Dimitri were battling this time. Demetria was using her Incineroar, while Dimitri appeared to be using an Excadrill.
As far as he could tell, he arrived somewhere near the middle of the battle - both pokemon looked a bit worn down, but were far from tapping out. Demetria Incineroar appeared to have the advantage in raw strength, while Dimitri's Excadrill had an edge in speed. The battle continued for another few minutes, which gave Koa plenty of opportunity to try and evaluate them. They were strong for sure, but not nearly as strong as Cynthia. Perhaps they were as strong as a gym leader's proper team, if he had to guess. Far from impossible to defeat.
Another interesting thing he noted about their battle was the way they played out. While the battles he'd seen were complex and elaborate, in which creativity and on your feet thinking were crucial components, Dimitri and Demetria's battle seemed almost... systematic. Calculating. It was impressive, yes. Each command was given, and then a counter command. The pokemon seemed to always return to their starting positions, and it seemed much less free-form than the battles he was accustomed to watching. There was a strange sort of structure to every movement.
A few moments later, the match concluded, with Dimitri's Excadrill getting the upper-hand with a timely Dig attack. Demetria returned her Incineroar, staring at the pokeball for a moment and murmuring something to it. Dimitri returned his pokemon, then shot his sister a pleased smirk. Her only response was to roll her eyes.
Slowly, the crowd began to disperse. The triplets gathered together, then started to head off, back towards town. Koa quickly jogged after them. "Hey!" he called.
Deuce, who lagged at the back of the group, glanced over his shoulder, as did his siblings. "Well, look who came back," Dimitri siad, giving Koa a condescending look.
Koa's blood boiled. "How about you lose the attitude? You think just because you won in the Battle Tree you're some kind of god of battling? I've got news for you. You're not. I don't care how skilled you are, you're not infallible and you're not all-knowing. Yeah sure, you know a bunch of facts and figures but maybe there's more to life than perfect win streaks or knowing a bunch of numbers. Grow up and stop acting like everyone has to play the game your way." He took a breath, his heart pounding. All of a sudden, he realized how tense his body was, and he forced himself to relax. He hadn't meant to blurt all that out like that.
Dimitri blinked at him in open mouthed shock. Deuce looked impressed, he noted, while Demetria seemed amused. A long silence dragged out. Dimitri snorted, then turned away. "Yeah... whatever. You still lost to Maylene pretty pathetically."
Biting his tongue, Koa, clenched his fists and resisted the urge to say something extremely uncouth. Actions would be better than words here. "Actually, I came to ask you guys about that. I'm rematching Maylene today, and I figured you might like to watch."
Demetria gave Dimitri an uncertain look. Deuce stepped forwards. "I'd like to see your rematch," he said coolly. A slight smile played at his lips.
Koa grinned back at him. "Awesome!"
An uncomfortable silence stretched out before Demetria spoke. "I suppose I'll come watch. Our boat doesn't leave for awhile yet."
"Let's go then," Koa said confidently. This time would be different, he was sure. He was ready, and his pokemon were ready. He would prove to Demetria and Dimitri especially, that pokemon were more than just numbers.
"Go, Meditite!" Maylene tossed out a pokeball and a Meditite appeared on the battlefield in a flash of light.
Koa grinned and tossed out his own pokeball. "Go Hazard!" Hazard emerged in a flash of light, clicking his pincers together as he stared down his opponent.
At Koa's feet, Flurry squeaked encouragingly, cheering her teammate on. He'd told Maylene earlier how he wanted to have her watch, so she could get a feel for battles.
The referee waved an arm. "Battle, begin!"
"Electroweb!" Koa called.
Swiftly, Hazard formed up the electrical webbing and fired at Meditite. Its eyes shimmered green briefly and it twisted its body, contorting through one of the holes in the web and landing on the other side unharmed. Koa grimaced at the use of Detect.
"Psycho Cut!" Maylene called. Meditite quickly recovered, stabilizing itself, then firing a rapid blade of psychic energy.
Even as Koa spoke, Hazard sprang nimbly into the air, the attack passing under him.
Maylene wasted no time. "Psycho Cut!"
A purple blade shot through the air towards Hazard, and was met by a red beam of energy shot from Joltilk's jaws. The bug type energy pierced through Psycho Cut and struck Meditite. It tumbled midair, but still caught itself, remaining hovering several inches off the battlefield.
"Bug Buzz, again!"
Hazard quickly fired another red beam at Meditite, catching it in the chest. It levitated backwards with the force of the blow, stopping itself after several feet.
Koa decided to try and press his advantage further. "Electroweb!"
Meditite uncurled its legs and sprang forwards, somersaulting through the webs and landing in front of Hazard.
"Now, Bullet Punch!"
Its fists glowed silver and it delivered a blinding flurry of blows to Hazard. The Joltik tumbled backwards and landed on his feet.
"String Shot, rapid fire!" Koa cried. Maybe he could force Maylene to use up her Detect. The move became less reliable the more often it was used.
Hazard fired three, small bursts of sticky webbing at Meditite. To Koa's dismay, Meditite managed to dodge the three bursts without the use of Detect.
Maylene shot him a triumphant look. "You won't get us that easy! Meditite's my best dodger. Now, use Bullet Punch."
Meditite blurred forwards, its fists glowing. It landed three strikes before Hazard managed to spring out of range.
Koa snapped off a command. "Bug Buzz!" The attack struck its mark, though Meditite still remained standing.
"Drain Punch." Orange energy wrapped around Meditite's fist as it rushed forward, planting one hand on Joltik's body, drawing energy from him.
"Giga Drain," Koa said. Green energy struck Meditite, surrounding it, sapping its strength even as Hazard's was sapped.
On the opposite end of the field, Maylene threw a series of sharp jabs as she spoke her next command. "Bullet Punch!"
Meditite switched its attack stance, pulling back slightly from Hazard and charging its attack.
Instinct seized Koa. "Duck and roll," he called.
Hazard understood his command implicitly. Hurling himself forwards, he rolled neatly under Meditite's hovering form, dodging the attack and emerging behind him.
"Now Electroweb!" Hazard fired the attack without hesitation, pinning Meditite to the ground and shocking it.
Hesitant excitement filled Koa. This was his chance. Hazard made an urgent chitter, his eyes darting to the ceiling. Realization dawned on Koa. "Up in the air, Hazard!" Hazard shot a thin line of web to the ceiling, pulling him high, even as Meditite continued to struggle. "Do it!"
Hazard fired another Electroweb, this time straight down. He dropped himself into the web, cloaking himself in a web of electricity, and plummeting down towards its trapped opponent. Just as Meditite struggled free, Hazard crashed on top of Meditite, knocking it out soundly.
Koa grinned eagerly as Maylene returned her pokemon. "That was pretty good!" she called. "I wasn't expecting you to dodge under Meditite like that."
"Thanks!" Koa called. He glanced at Hazard, who chittered happily. Closer examination revealed a sheen of exhaustion in his gaze. No need to over-tire him. "Hazard, take a rest." He held out Hazard's pokeball and returned him.
Maylene gave him an approving nod. "Now let's see how you handle my next sparring partner. Come on out, Machoke." She tossed out a pokeball and Machoke emerged onto the battlefield. It grunted and flexed its muscles.
Koa selected his next pokemon confidently. "Time to fight, Scrapper!" he shouted eagerly. His Breloom emerged, bouncing lightly on his toes and throwing several air jabs, his gaze completely fixated on Machoke.
The referee raised his hands. "Battle, begin!"
"Your move, Koamaru," Maylene said.
Koa locked eyes with Scrapper, and nodded. "No giving up this time." Scrapper nodded and smirked. "Mach Punch!"
Scrapper raced across the field, a mere blur. His fist glowed white and he punched Machoke in the chest.
At nearly the same instant, Maylene called, "Brick Break!" Machoke lashed out and punched Scrapper, causing him to stagger.
"Bulk up," Maylene snapped.
Machoke's muscles twitched as he tensed. A split second later, Sky Uppercut connected with its chin, making it grunt in pain, though the damage was lessened slightly. Koa raised his eyebrows. So Maylene had changed up her pokemon's moves as well. Interesting.
Koa quickly called his next attack. "Seed Bomb!" Scrapper took two steps back, formed the ball of green energy, and fired at Machoke.
In a fluid motion, Maylene ducked and twisted, calling for Machoke to dodge. Machoke twisted around the attack, the Seed Bomb striking just behind him. "Now, Dynamic Punch!" Machoke's fist shone vivid orange and he swung at Breloom.
"Dodge!" Koa yelled frantically. Scrapper danced to the side, allowing the punch to pass harmlessly by him. Koa couldn't resist a grin. Scrapper's fighting instincts were strong, he realized. Probably from training with Jackie, he supposed. The two fighting-types faced each other now, glaring and sizing each other up.
"Seed Bomb, up in the air." Scrapper reared back and fired a seed bomb up into the air. It arced up and plummeted down towards Machoke. Machoke sprang backwards to dodge. The Seed Bomb crashed to the earth, kicking up a cloud of dust. "Now, Sky Uppercut!"
Scrapper raced into the cloud. A moment later, he heard Machoke's grunt of pain. Then he heard Scrapper yelp. The Breloom tumbled out of the cloud of dust, which was just beginning to settle.
"Scrapper?" Koa called.
Scrapper pushed himself to his feet and glanced back at Koa, giving a cry of acknowledgement. Across the field Machoke was shaking off the punch he'd just endured.
"Stone Edge!" Koa called.
Scrapper slammed his fist into the earth. Spires of stone erupted, shooting towards Machoke. A spire erupted underneath it just as it finished tensing, its power and defenses growing again. The sharp edged stone jabbed Machoke's chest. It grunted and shut its eyes, falling to one knee and clutching its chest.
Scrapper smirked at Machoke as it slowly stood up and shook its head. It offered a brief nod of respect before taking up a fighting stance again.
Maylene mimicked the nod. "That was a good hit. But Machoke isn't done yet! Rock Tomb."
Machoke raised its palms in the air. A massive boulder formed in its hands and it tossed it at Scrapper with terrifying ease. "Break it with Sky Uppercut," Koa called. Scrapper bounced on its toes, then sprang upwards, fist glowing. The strike shattered the boulder, sending scraps of rock flying.
Scrapper landed on his feet, tiny rocks pelting to the ground all around him. "Mach Punch, quick!" Scrapper lunged forwards, fist glowing white, striking Machoke in the chest with a quick jab.
"Brick Break!" Maylene called, bringing her own fist swinging down. Machoke mimicked the motion and brought its fist down on Breloom's head. Almost immediately, it recoiled back, its eyes widening. Then its eyes rolled back, and slumped to the ground, fast asleep.
A devious grin of delight crossed Koa's face. Effect Spore had kicked in. "Now Scrapper, Stone Edge." Scrapper thrust his fist into the earth. A huge spire of rock erupted under Machoke, launching it into the air.
Koa grinned. "Finish it with Sky Uppercut!"
Scrapper raced forwards, leaped into the air, and slammed his fist into Machoke. The two pokemon plummeted back towards the earth. Scrapper landed on his feet, while Machoke slammed into the earth, leaving a huge crater. As the dust settled, a red light flashed as Maylene returned her Machoke.
"That was some great strategy. But this isn't the end, my friend." She smiled and threw out her final pokemon. Lucario appeared in a flash of light, throwing its head back and howling a battle cry.
Scrapper snarled a cry of his own. Koa shook his head and took out Scrapper's pokeball. "You have to return, Scrapper. You don't have enough strength left to defeat Lucario."
At that, Scrapper's head whipped around and he glared at Koa, shaking his head determinedly. Koa opened his mouth to protest. No matter how much Scrapper wanted to fight, there was no way he could win. Then he understood. Scrapper knew
he couldn't win, but he wanted to test himself, and his fighting skills, against a skilled opponent.
Koa nodded in understanding. "If that's what you want, Scrapper, then we fight until the end!"
"That's what I like to hear from my opponents," Maylene said.
"Let's start this with Mach Punch," Koa called.
Scrapper danced side to side, then rushed forwards in a fighting stance.
Maylene made a swift motion with her hands. "Lucario, Bone Rush!"
Lucario mimicked its trainer's motion, a glowing blue bone extended from its paws. Scrapper swung his fist. Lucario raised the glowing bone, deflected the punch, then swung it, striking Scrapper in the side. The Breloom skidded across the battlefield and slid to a stop, one claw planted on the floor.
Koa snapped out his next command. "Seed Bomb!" Scrapper fired the glowing orb at Lucario.
"Deflect it," Maylene called calmly.
Lucario twirled the bone expertly and knocked the seed bomb aside. It smashed into the ground nearby, and Maylene grinned.
Inspiration struck Koa. "Seed Bomb, again!" Koa called. Scrapper fired the attack without hesitation. Just as he hoped, Lucario twirled its bone and slammed the attack back. "Hit it with your tail," he said.
Reacting instantly, Scrapper rushed forwards and spun, whipping his tail around striking the orb back
at Lucario again, three times as fast. It smashed into the fighting-type's chest, sending it reeling.
"Quick, Stone edge!" In a single fluid motion, Scrapper brought his fist down on the ground. The wave of stones surged forwards, erupting under Lucario and making it stagger. Koa's heart raced. "Mach Punch!" Scrapper rushed in and slammed his fist into Lucario.
Maylene grinned. Lucario held its paws out, a half-charged Aura Sphere gathering between them, blasted it straight into Scrapper's face.
Koa winced as Scrapper was thrown across the battlefield. He tumbled across the field and rolled to stop. To Koa's surprise, he stirred. Slowly, bit by bit, he pushed himself up and stood, staring Lucario down defiantly.
For a second, Koa contemplated withdrawing Scrapper. He shook aside the thought. Scrapper wanted to fight on his terms. And if Scrapper wanted that, he would honor it. "Mach Punch," he said calmly.
Scrapper walked across the battlefield. Step by step, he walked towards Lucario, eyes burning with determination. He picked up his pace, until he was moving at a jog, then raised his fist to strike Lucario.
Giving a nod of respect, which Lucario mimicked, she called her final move. "Force Palm." Lucario's hand became a blur as it sidestepped the Mach Punch and placed its fist against Scrapper's chest. Light gathered, then exploded. Scrapper crashed to the ground.
Koa stared, a mixture of pride and sadness filling him. Then Scrapper moved. He looked up and smirked
at Lucario. Sparks flared across Lucario's body and it stiffened as a paralysis took effect. Still grinning, Scrapper collapsed, unconscious, a smirk still plastered over his face. Koa almost laughed as he returned him. Now he understood. Scrapper didn't just
want to stay in the fight to test himself (though that was no doubt a large part of it), he was hoping to weaken Lucario even further
, for Echo. He was fighting for his team.
"I suppose I'm in a bit of a bind now, aren't I?" Maylene mused. "I underestimated the will of your Breloom. But my Lucario is far from done."
"For now," Koa retorted as he selected Echo's pokeball. "But you're not beating me twice. Go Echo!"
The Crobat screeched as he entered the battlefield, yellow eyes narrowed. His gaze fixated immediately on Lucario, who glared back.
"Very impressive!" Maylene called, upon seeing Echo's newly evolved form. "Now let's see how he performs in a real battle."
Koa took a deep breath. This was it. This was his chance. To show everyone, especially Echo himself, that every pokemon was great. No. That any pokemon could become
great. "You ready, Echo?"
Echo screeched in agreement.
"Air Slash!" Koa snapped. In a flurry of beating wings, Crobat hurled several blades of wind at Lucario.
Maylene and Lucario flipped forward, Lucario twisting deftly in between the blades and dodging half of them. It landed, threw its hands out and hurled an Aura Sphere at Echo. Echo flew towards the attack, twisting around the attack with an agility he'd never possessed as a Golbat.
Echo's eyes blazed yellow and he shot a trio of golden orbs at Lucario.
Lucario drew its paws and produced a glowing blue bone. In a single motion, it leaped forward, planted the bone, and vaulted over the Confuse Ray, slamming the bone into Echo. The Crobat was smashed into the ground, sending up a cloud of dust.
A second later, a trio of golden orbs shot from the dust and crashed into Lucario. Lucario staggered, swaying on its feet. The pupils of its eyes narrowed to dots. It raised its palm, energy gathering on it, then struck its own chest, blasting itself with energy.
"Now Echo, Air Slash!"
Echo flew out of the settling dust and beat its wings, sending waves of energy at Lucario, striking him several times.
"Dodge!" Maylene called. Lucario started to move, but then paralysis seized its body. It froze up, getting pounded mercilessly by Air Slash.
"Don't give up Lucario. Aura Sphere."
Shaking its head, Lucaio burst forward, energy gathering between its paws. It shot directly under Crobat, twisted, and tossed an Aura Sphere straight up.
It struck Echo, sending him whirling upwards, spinning as he tried to right himself.
"Bone Rush!" Lucario extended its paws and leaped gracefully upwards. Holding two bones, one in each paw, he aimed to bring them crashing down on Echo. One strike grazed him, then he twisted, dipping out of the way of the second. Lucario quickly followed it up with a flurry of strikes, which Echo neatly dodged most of. Growling in frustration, Lucario swung one final blow at Echo. The glowing bone crashed into the side of Echo's body, sending him spiraling through the air.
"Crunch!" Koa shouted. Echo twisted with the momentum of the attack, not unlike how he'd done when fighting Kitto, then darted forward and sank glowing jaws into Lucario. Lucario crashed to the ground heavily, and Echo hovered several feet away, panting.
A tense silence filled the battlefield as Koa watched his opponent. Then Lucario staggered forwards and collapsed. "Yes!" He shouted.
Echo did his usual trademark victory loop, though this time he threw in an extra spiral just to show off.
Maylene returned Lucario, smiling. She strode across the field and stopped in front of Koa, holding out the usual prize money and badge. Grinning in delight, Koa took the badge and slipped it into his case. "That was an excellent battle," Maylene said. "Quite the improvement over last time."
"Thanks," Koa said. He petted Echo, who had settled onto his head. "I never could have done it without my pokemon."
Maylene nodded. "True indeed. But don't discount your own strength. Pokemon can only grow strong if their trainer does too."
Koa nodded thoughtfully. "That's true too I guess. Thanks."
"This is your fifth badge, right? What gym is next for you?" Maylene asked.
Koa frowned in thought. "Snowpoint or Canalave," he said after a moment. "Probably Snowpoint, since I really want to attend the Festival of Legends."
At the mention of the festival, a look of pity crossed Maylene's face. "Oh uh... I guess you didn't hear?"
"Hear what?" Koa asked, narrowing his eyes.
"Well, I was talking to my friend Candice - she's the gym leader there - and she said they had to cancel the festival. Too many people on edge because of the incidents with Raikou and Entei recently."
Koa stared at her, dumbfounded. "Seriously? But there's not even solid proof they were responsible!"
Maylene shrugged. "Candice and I both think it's ridiculous. But a lot of people are nervous. Not to mention, the pokemon around Snowpoint have been acting strangely. Everyone up north is pretty on edge I guess."
Koa groaned. "So stupid," he muttered under his breath. "Thanks for the heads up. I guess that means I'll head to Canalave then." Heading home would be nice, he guessed. He hadn't seen Blake face to face in awhile, and he'd love to visit the library again. Bidding farewell to Maylene, he left the gym.
Once outside, he caught up with the triplets, who were waiting for him. He couldn't resist a triumphant smile. "How was that?"
Demetria gave an impressed nod. "Not bad. Although I did already say you were capable of beating Maylene, so I'm not surprised, either. That said..." she paused. "Your pokemon seem tougher than I expected. They took some hits that I wasn't expecting them to survive. Maybe they are stronger than I thought."
Well, that was good enough for Koa. He risked at glance at Dimitri, who had his arms crossed and refused to look in his direction.
"It was average if you ask me," Dimitri muttered.
Demetrius rolled her eyes affectionately. "It was good meeting you Koamaru. But we do have to get going. We're supposed to be catching a boat to the Battle Zone soon. But come find us again when you're stronger. I'd love to battle you."
At that, Dimitri nodded emphatically in agreement. "Yeah, I wouldn't mind battling you." He shot Koa a leering smirk. "Or should I say, wiping the floor with you."
Koa glared back at him. Then he relaxed and shook it off. He could see the faintest note of grudging respect in his eyes. "We'll see about that. I'll come find you guys again."
Demetria nodded, then turned and started walking away. Dimitri followed. Deuce waited until they were a short distance away, then turned to face Koa.
"Dimitri's just bitter because he was wrong," he said, giving a faint smile. "You did excellent today. Which means I was correct. There's more to all this than stats. I think your Joltik could be as strong as a Dragonite one day if you keep training. I'm glad."
"Thank you," Deuce said. "I'm happy to know that some pokemon aren't just useless."
Kos chuckled. "So does this mean you won't battle at the Battle Tree anymore?"
Deuce barked out a laugh. "Of course not. I still love the Battle Tree and all the places like it. And battles are pretty different there. But it was inspiring all the same. Maybe I can work on some new strategies."
"Oh! That reminds me," Koa said. "I was watching your siblings battle earlier and it was weird. It wasn't like a regular battle. It kinda looked like they were taking turns."
"Oh that?" Deuce said. He chuckled. "That style of battling is actually what they're all about at the Battle Tree and the Battle Subway, and other places. Unlike a traditional tournament, such as the league, they abide by a very strict set of rules. Only certain moves, pokemon, yada yada. And you have to wait your turn to attack. It's hard, but it makes it fun, too."
Koa nodded thoughtfully. "Huh... Sounds pretty sick. You know... I have to say that what you guys do is impressive. It can't be easy creating strategies and raising your team like that."
"Thanks," Deuce said. "It certainly is hard. I think it's easy for my siblings and I to get lost in that kind of battle style, and forget what made battling fun. So I guess we were both right. You won not just because of friendship, but hard work too. Bonds alone won't carry you if you don't train hard. Anyways, good luck getting your badges, yeah? Maybe we'll see you again."
"I plan on it. Here, take my number. That way I can battle you guys again." They quickly exchanged numbers, then Koa held out his hand.
Deuce shook it. "See you later, Koamaru,"
"Later, Deuce. And call me Koa."
After Deuce had left, Koa headed for the pokemon center. His pokemon deserved the rest, and he had to make some decisions about how to get home to Canalave.
Koa sat in the pokemon center lobby, enjoying a meal as he mused over his options to return to Canalave. The way he saw it, there were three main options. First, he could walk. It would be a huge trek though, and could take up to a month. Next, there were a series of buses he could take, though that would also take quite a few days. His final option was a boat. There were several ships of varying sizes that sailed to Canalave, given that it was a port city.
The light flickered, and Koa glanced up from his food. They flickered again and an electric charge raced across his body, making his hair stand on end. He froze and glanced around. The few other trainers in the center, plus the nurse, had all stopped what they were doing. The lights went out and the room was plunged into darkness.
A bright flash burst in the center of the room. Spots danced across Koa's vision and he saw a hazy figure of a pokemon move towards him. Koa started to reach for his pokeball, but something struck him, knocking him to the floor. A jolt of electricity shot through his body and he froze up, unable to move. His heart raced. What had hit him? Was he dying?
His body refused to obey his commands, though he found he could still move his eyes. With a sickening lurch, he realized he'd been paralyzed. The spots finally faded from his vision and he could make out shapes moving through the room. Dim yellow lightning afforded him only a small amount of visibility, but it was enough to make out the black masked figures. Team Blackout.
As he watched, one of the men walked over to him. His heart beat even faster and he felt a little sick as the man knelt next to him, removing his pokeball belt. He held it up to some kind of device, scanning the contents.
A toothy smirk stretched across his face, revealing a single gold tooth. "A Tyrunt, huh? And a Joltik. Perfect." Still grinning, he removed Rascal and Hazard's pokeballs. He stood, about to leave, then bent down again. "On second thought, I'll take this, too." He picked up Flurry's pokeball. "Spheal fur is quite valuable."
Koa screamed internally, begging his body to move, but it remained unresponsive. He could only watch as the man deposited his pokeballs into some kind of container, then walked away. Several minutes dragged by, where he lay still, unable to move. His thoughts raced, a fiery rage building inside him. After what felt like an eternity, the lights flickered back on. The tingle faded from his body and he found that he was able to move.
Immediately he sat up, then just as quickly regretted it. Dizziness flooded him and he fell back, catching himself with one hand. With weak, sloppy motions, he managed to pull himself into a sitting position on a nearby chair, fighting back nausea as he did. Closing his eyes, he focused, then pushed himself to his feet. He swayed, then nearly collapsed, until a pair of arms grabbed him, steadying him.
"Whoa, slow down," a voice said.
"Avis?" he asked, puzzled. His mind still fuzzy, he looked over to see Avis supporting him, her eyes filled with concern. "What... What are you doing here?"
"Sit down," she said, forcing him back into the chair. "And I told you I was going to Veilstone, remember?"
He sank into the chair, looking at Avis, then around the center. All around, several trainers were struggling to their feet, clearly suffering from the same paralysis he was. A few nurses who had managed to recover were helping them. As they did, cries of despair came from the trainers as they realized their pokemon were gone.
Koa stood back up, determination giving him strength. "My pokemon. They stole Rascal and Hazard and Flurry!" he reached for his belt and took out Echo's pokeball. He pressed the button, but nothing happened. Looking down, he noticed a few stray sparks flickering behind the button.
"They must have disabled the pokeballs," Avis stated. Her eyes darted towards the entrance. "Stay here." Without another word, she strode for the exit.
Shaking off the last of his dizziness, Koa stumbled after her, his composure growing with each step. He managed to catch up to her a short way outside the pokemon center. The streets were filled with panicked citizens, and looking around, he noted that a few police officers were around, trying to calm the people and investigate the area.
"Where are you going?" he demanded, falling in step next to Avis.
"To get the pokemon back," she replied, not slowing.
"You know where they are?"
She nodded. "I saw some unusual activity near the warehouses. I was heading to the police station to make a report when the blackout happened. They hit the department store and the police station as well." She began to walk faster, her fists clenched. "I never should have waited! If I'd just attacked right then..."
Koa didn't say anything, his own thoughts too jumbled to offer any advice. "So they're at the warehouses?" he asked finally.
"I think so. I never imagined they'd strike so soon, I thought they might wait until nightfall. But if I don't do something now, they'll leave the city. All the pokemon they stole today could be gone forever."
His heart raced. "I'm coming with you."
Avis gave a long sigh. "I can't stop you," she said finally. "But we have to be careful. I placed a call to the police already but with everything going on, they won't reach the warehouses yet. Several pokemon there were stolen, and some of the officers were incapacitated. Which means we're on our own."
Koa's gaze hardened as they neared the warehouse district. "Fine by me." As he spoke the words, a voice in the back of his mind almost made him pause. This was a little crazy, even by his standards. If Blake knew what he was about to do, he'd probably lecture him for a month and ground him for a year.
A few minutes later, they drew near to warehouses located near the west entrance of Veilstone. Several rows of buildings stretched out towards the harbor, some of which were in varying states of disrepair. Avis led the way across the street and past a few smaller warehouses to a large one towards the rear.
"Ready?" she asked. She slowed slightly as they drew near the entrance.
Setting his jaw, Koa nodded. "Ready. Let's go."
With no further hesitation, Avis rushed forwards, throwing the door open.
Koa rushed inside the main warehouse alongside Avis. Four figures clad in black, stood inside, next to what appeared to be the remaining few cases of stolen pokeballs. They all turned to look at him and Avis, shock written across their faces. Two of them snatched pokeballs off their waists, while two grabbed the cases and sprinted for an exit towards the back.
"Go!" Avis cried, gesturing to the two fleeing. As she spoke, she withdrew pokeballs of her own, releasing her Kricketune, Staraptor, Glameow and Noctowl. Almost simultaneously, the two men released a Luxio, Electrike, Magneton, and a Zebstrika.
Koa hesitated for only a second, then rushed after the two figures. Avis was a capable trainer, and besides, if he didn't go after the other two thieves, it would all be in vain. Racing after them, he managed to catch up by the door. Now that he was closer, he could see that one apparead to be a woman with short brown hair poking from her black hood, while the other was a man with fair skin and light yellowish eyes.
The two turned to face him as they reached for their pokeballs. "Last chance to turn around and scram, brat," the woman growled.
The man leaned a little closer and squinted. "Hey! Isn't that the kid Adam told us about? Said he had dark blue hair and a red jacket?"
"I think it is," the woman replied. "Hey, I've got a deal for you. How about we return whatever pokemon we stole from you, then you let us go? It's a win-win. You get your precious little pokemon back, we get to go about our business."
"How about a counter-offer?" he snarled. "You give back the pokemon you stole before I punch you in the face myself?"
The woman's face contorted in anger. "Fine, if you want to be a fool!" She grabbed the three pokeballs on her own belt and released the pokemon within. A Jolteon emerged, followed by a Lopunny and a Croagunk.
In response, Koa reached for his belt, grabbing Echo's pokeball first, then Rascal's. When his hand grasped empty air, a pang of sadness and anger struck him, then he grasped Anubis pokeball instead, releasing him and then releasing Scrapper.
Echo emerged with a mighty shriek, followed by Anubis, who snarled in rage when he saw his opponents and Scrapper, who silently took up a fighting stance.
The woman glanced at her companion. "What are you waiting for? Get to the boat!"
His eyes widened and he nodded, then turned and bolted for the turn. "And wait for me there!" she shouted after him. Eyes still blazing, she whirled back to face Koa. "Now to deal with you."
Without waiting for a command, Anubis leaped into action, tackling the Jolteon to the ground. Turning his attention on the other two pokemon, Koa quickly called out a command. "Mach Punch, Air Slash."
Scrapper leaped at the Croagunk and slammed his fist into its face, sending it flying. At the same moment, Echo blasted both Lopunny and Croagunk with blades of air. They fell to the ground, briefly stunned. A yelp sounded and Koa looked to see Anubis fling the Jolteon to the ground. Blood trickled from its leg and Koa paled.
A red glint of rage colored Anubis' eyes and he prowled towards the downed Jolteon. Anubis wasn't fighting to knockout, like a pokemon battle. He planned to kill. "Anubis!" he shouted. The Houndoom blinked, then slowly tore his gaze away from Jolteon and looked at Koa. The bloodlust faded, though Koa could still see the smoldering rage in his eyes.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Koa saw the woman start to move towards the exit. He whirled on her. "Echo, stop her with Confuse Ray!" Echo fired two golden orbs at her, striking her in the head. Her eyes crossed, then she staggered and slumped to the floor. Her pokemon stared at her, then at Koa. The Jolteon slowly stood, favoring its injured leg, then limped towards the other two, and away from the exit.
Swallowing, Koa gave the three pokemon one last glance, then made for the exit. Seeing Anubis like that gave him chills. He'd underestimated how furious Anubis must have been with them for taking Flurry. The words of the man who'd stolen her rang in his mind, and he felt sick. "Come on, let's go," he said.
Pausing only to make sure the woman was unconscious for the time being, Koa raced out the door, his pokemon behind him. Outside, a few narrow alleys of stacked boxes and crates led down to a broken pier, where a motorboat was moored. And in the boat, the man sat, anxiously awaiting his companion.
Anubis let out a terrifying howl and bounded forward. Scrapper followed, hot on his heels, and Echo flew overhead. Koa raced after his pokemon. They made it halfway down the alley. Then, a single beam of sunlight struck something on the ground, just ahead of Scrapper. It glinted. Then Scrapper stepped on it. A crack split the air and Scrapper screamed.
Koa screamed as well. His vision narrowed, and he was only dimly aware of Anubis charging to the boat and tackling the man. Echo had stopped short at the cry of his teammate and whirled around. In daze, Koa ran forward towards Scrapper's fallen form. His heart sickened as he took in the sight before him. A metal trap had snapped shut around Scrapper's leg, the teeth biting deep. Blood pounded in his ears as he dropped to his knees beside the Breloom.
He recognized the trap as the kind poachers used to trap steel and rock-type pokemon. It was designed for pokemon with tough, sturdy hides and armor on their legs. Not soft flesh like Scrapper. Scrapper himself seemed to be unconscious, and a closer inspection revealed some kind of residue on the teeth of the trap. Some kind of poison or knockout agent?
His hands shook as he reached out to examine the trap. There had to be a way to disengage it. A lever on the side looked promising, and he twisted it. The jaws of the trap snapped open and Scrapper fell limply to the ground. For a second, he sat frozen, eyes locked on Scrapper's leg. The trap had torn the flesh and drawn a thin but steadily oozing layer of blood.
Snapping back to reality, he grabbed Scrapper's pokeball and quickly returned him. pokeball technology kept an injured pokemon in stasis, so he'd be safe at least until he could get him to a pokemon center. With a grimace he shoved the trap aside.
Anubis snarled and spat a stream of searing hot flames, melting the trap. Rage sparked in his eyes. Clenching the pokeball in his fist, Koa stood and clipped it back to his belt, then charged down the alley.
No more traps were around, as far as he could tell. Ahead, he could see the man anxiously scrambling to board the boat. Koa's thoughts blurred. He made a harried assessment. The man was larger than him by a bit. He didn't care. Running faster, he lunged forward.
Koa crashed into the man, knocking him over before tumbling to the ground. He rose halfway before the man's elbow jabbed into Koa's face. Pain spiked through his skull and he fell back. Something gripped his collar, yanking him upwards. His vision swam and he reached up, feebly pawing at his opponent's face.
Then a black blur swept by. The pressure around his throat immediately loosened as the man seemingly vanished. A scream filled the air before being cutoff by a snarl. Still dazed, Koa sat up and looked over.
Anubis had the man pinned down and his fangs bared.
"Please!" the man screamed. "Get it off me!" he shouted. Rage boiled inside Koa and he fought through his dizziness to rise up, leaning on a piling for support. Something inside told him the trap had been set by the man. Callously placed so that one of his
pokemon, or some other unsuspecting pokemon, would get injured. He glared at the man, who squirmed underneath the Houndoom, panic in his eyes. His gaze shifted to Koa.
"I'm sorry, I swear. Please, let me go. I'll give you back your Tyrunt or whatever! And the other pokemon. You can have them, please just get this crazy thing off me!"
At that comment, Houndoom snarled, fire flickering in his maw as he moved closer to the man's face. Red clouded Koa's vision. His heartbeat thundered in his ears. This man kidnapped pokemon, hurt them, sold and traded them like objects.
He was a member of a group responsible for stealing from Rowan, Wyatt and hundreds of other people. And above all else, he'd left that trap in their path to maim-
A shriek sounded overhead and a sudden weight landed on his back, making him stagger. Echo gave an anxious squeak, drawing Koa from his spiral of thoughts. He heard footsteps approaching, and turned to see several police officers rushing towards him, pokemon of their own at their sides. A strange sensation of relief and anxiety flooded him, along with disappointment.
"Are you alright?" one of the officers demanded, stopping beside him. He blinked and stared at the officer, a young woman with dark magenta hair. A badge on her lapel read 'Traci'.
"My Scrapper!" he blurted. He fumbled and held up Scrapper's pokeball. "I mean, my Breloom. My Breloom was hurt. He was caught in a trap and it caught his leg and he needs to get to a pokemon center. And they stole my Tyrunt and Spheal and my Joltik and a bunch of other people's pokemon!" The words tumbled out in a rush.
She nodded curtly. "Ok," she said calmly. "First, is that your Houndoom?" She pointed behind him, and Koa nodded. "We need you to call him off, so our officers can apprehend the man."
"Anubis!" Koa called, turning around.
For a second, the Houndoom didn't move, glowering at the man. Then he crawled off and trotted towards Koa, shooting furious gazes over his shoulder. He stood at Koa's side, his warm body pressed against Koa's leg. Koa let his hand rest on Anubis' body, suddenly aware his heart was still beating furiously and he was sweating terribly. A steady ache thrummed through his skull. His hands trembled and he gripped Anubis' shoulder to ground himself, and swallowed.
"Now, are you injured at all? Are any of your other pokemon hurt?" she asked. Koa shook his head. "My pokemon are fine," he mumbled. "Just my head hurts."
"Good, I'm glad to hear your pokemon are ok," she said in a low voice, her tone soothing. She took him by the shoulder and started to lead him away. "I'm going to make sure we get you some help, alright?"
"What's your name?"
"Okay Koamaru. You can come with me and I can give you a ride to the pokemon center."
"But what about my pokemon! The ones that they stole-"
She placed her hand gently on his shoulder. "Easy. We're going to get them back. But right now, your Breloom needs treatment."
Koa nodded. She was right, Scrapper was his first priority. "Alright Anubis, return for now," he mumbled. He returned Anubis, then Echo, placing the balls back on his belt before looking up at Traci.
Wordlessly, she led the way back through the warehouses and to the street, where several police cruisers and a motorcycle were parked, as well as an ambulance. Trace led him to the back and sat him on a stretcher. He was vaguely aware of a nurse and a Meowstic examining him, but his thoughts kept straying.
"What about the other girl?" he asked suddenly. It occurred to him he didn't remember seeing Avis at all, though his mind was focused elsewhere. "Avis. The investigator. She went in with me."
Traci frowned slightly. "She's fine as well. We'll worry about your pokemon for now, but after that's settled, both of you will have a lot to answer for."
A few minutes later, the Meowstic was done examining him. It used some kind of healing technique on him, which eased his throbbing headache, but he was barely aware. After that the nurse declared he was fine, and explained that taking Scrapper to the pokemon center was the safest course of action, since they didn't have everything to treat him here. Traci led him to her motorcycle.
She started it up, then gestured to the sidecar. He climbed inside and stared ahead, barely paying attention to her words. Avis was alright, which was his only real concern. His mind kept flashing back to seeing Scrapper, injured and unconscious. If he'd been more careful, or ran ahead or called out in time he could have prevented this. Hundreds of different scenarios played through in his mind of how he wished he could have handled things. He gazed down at Scrapper's pokeball in his hand, squeezing it tightly.
"Hey, we're here," Traci's voice broke into his thoughts and his head shot up. He glanced around, realizing with a start they had stopped in front of the pokemon center. Feeling absolutely sick to his stomach, Koa clambered awkwardly out of the sidecar and walked to the pokemon center, praying to Arceus and every other legendary he could think of that Scrapper would be ok.
The hours dragged by as Koa sat on one the couches, staring at the tiled floor of the pokemon center. He glanced up at the clock again, then looked back down. 6 hours, 41 minutes and... 17 seconds had passed since he'd handed Scrapper off to the nurse. He'd also discovered this particular pokemon center contained 794 tiles on the floor, not counting the half tiles along the walls. Traci had left some time ago, returning briefly to assure him that all the stolen pokemon had been recovered. Otherwise, he'd been left alone, which was fine by him.
Another minute ticked by. Koa leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands. Why
had he been so stupid? He clenched his fists tighter, his nails digging into his palms. Scrapper had been injured because of him. Perhaps he was a terrible trainer. Just like-
Koa practically lunged out of his chair, nearly crashing into the nurse, who stood only a few feet away.
She smiled gently at him, unfazed. "Your Breloom will be just fine."
Koa took a long, deep breath, some of the tension leaving him.
"His leg was injured, but he will make a full recovery. However, you must give him at least three weeks rest. For the first week, no running, jumping or strenuous exercise. After that, no training, and no
battles. Understand?" She gazed at him seriously.
He nodded. "He'll be fine once he recovers, right?" Battle or no battle, he couldn't bear the thought of his tenacious Breloom not being able to run and jump.
Her smile returned. "Yes. As long as you give him time to properly recover, he'll be back to normal in no time. Pokemon are much more durable than we often give them credit for. The injury itself was not too serious, but to be safe we're making sure he has plenty of time to heal fully, thats all."
A weighty sigh slipped from him. "Thank you," he said. "But... I don't understand. My pokemon battle all the time and never get any serious injuries. Why was this so bad?"
She smiled gently at him. "Pokemon moves don't do much to seriously injure each other. As you probably know from your license exam, pokemon use their natural energy to use attacks. Some call it aura."
He knew the term from talks with Professor Rowan. And from working on Ice Fang.
"Just as pokemon can choose to attack without this energy in order to do serious harm, pokemon have certain vulnerabilities. Man-made devices, or being pushed far beyond their limits. So Scrapper's healing will take just a bit of time, although the injury was not as serious as it probably seemed."
Koa smiled a little wider, despite his mixed feelings. Scrapper was fine, and that's what mattered right now. He'd make a full recovery. "Thank you again," he said.
"Of course. Now, I'll need to keep him here overnight, so you're welcome to stay here and pick him up in the morning. Meanwhile, Officer Traci informed me you're to meet her at the station once I gave you the report on your Breloom. So you'd best be heading out. I'll see you in the morning." She turned and left, leaving Koa to ponder as he walked out of the center and towards the police station.
It took a couple hours to get everything settled, most of which was due to having to give a full statement on all his actions; first on the theft at the pokemon center, then his decision to pursue the gang. The officer who did it, a stern faced man who was thoroughly
detailed, took care of that. After he'd given his statement, they showed him to a waiting room where they promised to return all the stolen pokemon.
To his surprise, he found several other trainers in the room as well, all looking equally anxious. He scanned the room, and noticed the girl from yesterday who fought the Battle Triplets with her Minun. Then he saw Avis, sitting in the corner. Their eyes locked, and he waved awkwardly to her. She gave a forced smile and waved back.
He crossed the room and sat in an empty seat next to her.
"Are you alright?" Avis asked.
"I'm fine," he muttered bitterly. "But... Scrapper was injured." He explained what had happened, and her gaze darkened.
"I'm glad that we went after them," she hissed through gritted teeth. "I don't care if I never get to join the international police. Anyone who'd use such barbaric traps is disgusting."
"What do you mean, never join?" Koa asked, turning to look at her. "Will this mess up your chances with the international police because of what you did?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. They said they would talk to me afterwards. But my chances of becoming a member of the International Police are probably gone. Not only did I break the code of interference, I involved a civilian trainer." A note of bitterness entered her tone.
"Oh." Koa looked down. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she said firmly. "I don't regret what I did today, and neither should you. Getting all those stolen pokemon back was worth it. Besides, nothing will stop me from doing what's necessary. I would hate myself more if I'd stood by and not tried to help."
"Yeah..." was all Koa could think to say. Everything felt like it had become a mess.
The door to the room swung open, and officer Traci stepped inside. "We're going to begin the process of returning the stolen pokemon. As I call your name, please stand up and come quietly with me. If it is not your turn, remain seated. Understand?"
Everyone nodded, and she continued. "Joanna Abrams?"
The girl with the Minun stood, her eyes lighting up, and followed Traci.
Several minutes later, Koa was left alone in the room, save for Avis. All the other trainers had been called before him, which made him nervous, since his last name started with 'A'. Finally, Traci returned. "Koamaru Averon, come with me."
Koa stood up and started towards the door.
"Good luck," Avis whispered.
Traci led him to another room, the interrogation room they had used when he'd given his statement. He sat down on the hard chair, and Traci took a seat opposite him.
"I apologize for the wait, but there is another matter to be dealt with. Due to the nature of your actions, we had to contact your guardian. I understand that's your cousin, Blake."
Koa's heart sank. He was in a lot of trouble.
"He has elected against us escorting you home, or having your license suspended. But what you did today was serious. You endangered your own life and recklessly pursued a gang of dangerous criminals."
"They stole my pokemon!" Koa snapped. "I couldn't sit there and do nothing."
Her face hardened. "What you did today was reckless.
The police are here for a reason, you were meant to let us handle it."
He opened his mouth to protest, but she held up her hand. "However, I didn't bring you in here to argue with you. Legally, I'm obligated to give you a warning. Unauthorized pursuit of criminal activity like that is dangerous. You or your pokemon could have been seriously injured. Or killed. I have to tell you this, because these kinds of things can get you in a lot of trouble." She sighed. "But... You did good too."
At that, Koa cocked his head.
"Don't get me wrong, you should never have done it. But you saved a lot of pokemon today. Both you and your friend. And you put a serious dent in what those Team Blackout thugs were trying to do." She took out a small case and slid it across the table. "Here are your pokemon. Tyrunt, Joltik and Spheal."
Koa reached across the table and eagerly took the three balls. The knot in his stomach lessened slightly. "Thank you. May I go now?"
Traci nodded. "Yes." She stood up, then escorted him out of the room and out of the police station. He paused at the exit and turned back.
"What about Avis? What's going to happen to her?"
Traci shook her head. "I can't tell you that." She gave a grim smile. "But I doubt it's good. Some higher up in a trench coat came to speak to her. I believe he's a member of the International Police."
"Oh." That didn't sound good at all.
She gave a single nod of farewell, then went back inside.
Setting his mind on happier thoughts, he returned to the peace of his room, then proceeded to release all his pokemon. Immediately, Anubis jumped on Flurry, licking her and nosing her, whining happily as he whipped his tail back and forth. Hazard sprang onto Koa's shoulder, nuzzling his cheek, then Echo pounced on him as well, licking him and nibbling his hair. Even Rascal, who was normally aloof, nuzzled her head against his leg roughly. It quickly turned into a dogpile, all his pokemon delightedly greeting and checking to make sure everyone else was ok.
After several minutes, Koa untangled himself from his pokemon and lay back on the bed. The day had been stressful, to say the least. And the prospect of tomorrow felt even scarier. Tomorrow, he had to make plans to return to Canalave, and face Blake. Out of nowhere, Echo dropped out of the air and landed on his chest, nuzzling his chin. The rest of his pokemon all clambered awkwardly into the bed with him, Rascal nearly crushing his leg. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Tomorrow's problems would have to come tomorrow. For today, all he needed was the presence of his friends.
Koa's pokemon are safe... but what of Avis? And it seems Team Blackout is growing bolder than ever...
Echo (Male Golbat)
Hazard (Male Joltik)
Rascal (Female Tyrunt)
Anubis (Male Houndoom)
Scrapper (Male Breloom)
Flurry (Female Spheal)