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Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon, etc., etc., etc. I do own the story and Max Oak and Danielle. Copy them at your own risk. (Not one you want to take when confronting a dragon. Trust me.) - Andrew Dice (AKA SpacedOutDragon)

The Journeys of Lance Ketchum
Book One: The Pokemon Trainer
By Andrew Dice


Lance was giddy. That was the word. Giddy. He wasn't just happy, or an average joyful; he was about to burst. He had prepared for this moment for years, but he still couldn't believe it. He finally had a Pokemon. He was beginning the journey of a lifetime. Tens of thousands of people went on journeys similar to what he was doing now... but he didn't care. All that mattered now was the fact that he was a trainer of a Pokemon.
Well, two actually. Although he wasn't supposed to have the other one.
As Lance went up Route 1 toward Viridian City, he looked back again at Volvagia and Drag. He was still in shock that Drag had wanted to come with him; he had expected that he would need to search the world over to find another Dratini. On top of that, Prof. Oak would probably - no, DEFINITELY - demand that Drag be sent back. Drag was one of a kind, after all.
At least he could keep Volvagia, his Charmander. Lance was a little worried that he had commited a breach of taste by naming his Charmander after the fire dragon in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. But he couldn't think of a better name. Volvagia was a little thing, about 2 feet high. It was walking on it's hind legs, and it looked a little like a tiny Tyranasaurus Rex that had gotten it's tail stuck in a forest fire. There appeared to be no fuel for the ever-burning flame on it's tail. And, despite what Lance thought would be obvious reasons for discomfort, the little baby dragon didn't seem to pay any heed to the tail fire.
Lance saw a fairly large rock ahead. It was the perfect place to sit down for a while; the three of them had been walking for a few hours now. When they got there, Lance hopped up on the rock, but it was clear that Drag and Volvagia were going to have it rougher.
"Don't worry guys, I can get you up here using Poke Balls." He got one Poke Ball and pointed it at Volvagia. He hit a switch on top of the ball, and a small red beam shot out of the button on front of the ball. It struck Volvagia straight on, and he turned into a red energy. That was then sucked into the ball. When the transfer was complete, Lance pointed the ball at the place on the rock next to him. he hit the button again, and the energy came out, and materialised into the form of Volvagia. He didn't seem to have cared about what had happened at all.
Lance then looked down on Drag, who was having a very, very different reaction. A look of utter shock and amazement was on his face. I should have anticipated this, Lance thought. Drag's never seen a Poke Ball before. This all must be very new and strange to him. Well, one experience with a Poke Ball and he'll see there's nothing to fear.
"Come on, Drag, your turn," he said, pointing the red-and-white ball at Drag.
The instant Drag saw that Lance was pointing one of those things that had sucked up Volvagia at HIM, it panicked. Not me! he thought, slithering behind the nearest rock.
Lance let out a sigh of mild frustrasion. "Drag... come back here! It won't hurt you, right, Volvagia?"
His Charmander turned to him and nodded, saying "Charmander!" a little louder than he most likely normally would. Volvagia was also a little annoyed with his colleague's behavior; he had explained some of the things about being a trainer's Pokemon to Drag as they had walked. Lance couldn't understand what they had said, as they were using the Poke-speech, which is difficult for humans to master, as there are no real "words" as we would define it; ideas were expressed by a near-infinite number of vowel-shades, speech-lengths, and many, many other factors.
"You don't need to worry, Drag," Volvagia had explained. "Poke balls are harmless. You only feel a tingling a few times when they are first used on you. After that, you're fine. All you do is get sucked into the ball to make it easier for you to get around - Lance is the one who does all the walking."
"But I prefer to be out in the open. Besides, I don't trust the idea of being broken down into energy," Drag retorted.
No matter what he said, Volvagia couldn't persuade Drag to put some trust into Poke Balls. Now, both Volvagia and Lance had to look for Drag. It took a while, seeing as how Lance kept holding the ball instead of putting it away. Finally, they managed to get Drag who had gotten his tail stuck under one of the many rocks. He panicked when he saw the Poke Ball.
"Drag, will you get into the Poke Ball!" yelled Lance, who was now quite exasperated with Drag. Drag looked ready to faint. He thought that this guy understood dragons, that he would be a good trainer. But how could that be true? if he wanted to keep Drag locked up inside a strage-looking ball?
Drag's eyes betrayed his feelings. Lance could see that Drag's trust for him was quickly wearing away. Seeing this, Lance said: "Drag... do you really think I would do something to hurt you? I wouldn't dare use a Poke Ball if I didn't know it was 100% safe. But it is. Please... just trust me..." his voice waivered at the end.
When Drag heard this, he understood at last. Why would Lance have saved him, just to be cruel to him? So Drag slithered nearer and nearer to the ball, and touched the button around the circumference. The ball flew open, and Drag was sucked in. Startled, thinking Drag would panic, Lance opened the ball at once. Drag came out, and had a look of... joy... on his face.
"Dra! Tititi ni!" he said, which runs in English: "WOW! What a rush!"
Lance, pleased that Drag seemed pleased with the balls after all, recalled both of his Pokemon with their permission - he still wasn't sure whether he should leave them out, or keep them in balls. Drag now seemed more than happy to go inside a Pokeball, and Volvagia, having been raised in captivity, didn't really mind. In their balls, they were safe - on the other hand, some of the world's best trainers had ignored Pokeballs completely. After talking things over with his Pokemon (as best he could) that night, he decided on using Pokeballs. Some weird stuff happens on journeys...
It took four days for Lance to reach his destination, Viridian City. It lay about 40 miles north of Pallet Town. Lance had just barely brought enough food for himself and his Pokemon - and then, of course, there was the sleeping bag, the spare clothes, and a map. I almost look more like a hiker than a trainer, Lance thought to himself.
He didn't meet any other trainers along the way, not even Max Oak. This was just fine with Lance, however. He needed to train his Pokemon to fight more effectively. He had explained the whole Pokemon League thing to Volvagia and Drag the first night, and while Volvagia seemed to think this was no surprise, Drag looked thunderstruck. He seemed to think it was an OK thing to do, but this isn't exactly what he had expected.
"Wow," said Drag that very night. "This is incredible. We could go all the way."
"That won't be easy," replied Volvagia. "The guys who are the League champs right now are EXTREMELY powerful. I've heard that there are occasionally accidental DEATHS at their matches, the challengers are so weak in comparison..."
"Well, we're not going to go marching right up to their gates today, are we?" Drag responded. "Trust me. We'll go all the way."
"If we want to, Lance needs to find some help. Just the two of us isn't enough." Volvagia said, as he nodded off.
Over the four days it took, Lance learned how his Pokemon fought, and what they should be used for. Volvagia was an expert at using his claws to scratch his opponents into submission. His courage was just as firey as his tail, as well. When they were jumped by a Rattata, Volvagia flung himself eagerly into battle, completely whipping it's butt.
Drag was a little different. He wasn't quite as hotheaded as Volvagia, but he was just as powerful. His strength lied not in his claws (he had none),but in his great length. If streched out completely, he was long as Lance was tall. He often dwarfed his opponents, which were scared stiff by his size - a mistake, since he would then wrap them up tight. Particularly small ones disappeared completely under his Wrap. With four days of constant training, Lance's Pokemon were fired up to win a badge in Viridian City.