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 walking up the road contentedly. He had just won his first trainer match with spectacular results. His opponent and closest friend, Max Oak, hadn't been able to even faze Lance's Pokemon. Pewter City will be a breeze, Lance thought.
As Lance was going over the battle for the billionth time in his head, he slowed his pace. The large trees of Viridian Forest were looming in front of him. If he wanted to get to Pewter City before September became October (noting that it was September 12th), he needed to venture into this forest. There were other ways of getting to Pewter, but on foot they would take a month or longer. Lance couldn't pack enough food for that sort of trip, so the forest it was.
Beyond the first trees, the forest seemed dark. Not dark in a "slavering evil creatures live here" sort of way, more like a "come in and get lost" sort of way. As the darkness was probably enhanced by the fact that it was dusk, Lance decided to spend the night just outside the forest. He let Volvagia and Drag out, and after a small dinner gave his two loyal Pokemon a congratulatory speech (and gave Volvagia a warning about not burning the forest down.) They then settled down for the night.
As Lance was snoozing, Volvagia and Drag started talking. "That was fun!" Volvagia said, referring to the match.
"Setting a Nidoran on fire was FUN?" Drag replied skeptically.
"Well, yeah. That WAS my first ever fireball. What surprised me was the fact that you seem to be waterproof. What's with that?"
"I guess it's because I'm an aquatic creature."
"Speaking of which... um, I never asked about this before, but..."
"Do I remember much before arriving on Pallet beach?" Drag finished. "Not really, actually... I remember strange talking, a face or two a little like mine but bigger and not blue... but nothing more."
"Weird. You don't even remember swimming to Pallet beach?"
"Nope. The only hazy memory I have after that is Lance and that girl standing over me." Drag sounded a little depressed.
"Don't worry. We'll find your family along the way, I'm sure."
"Yeah, but... who am I? Could my family be dead? Am I the only Dratini on Earth?"
"You're getting a little too philosophical for me. Goodnight, Drag."
"*sigh...* Goodnight, Volvagia."
The next morning brought a good deal more light to the forest than Lance had expected. After a quick breakfast he recalled the Pokes and got a move on. There were plenty of practice opprotunities - punching bags in the form of Caterpies, Weedles, Metapods, and Kakunas were plentiful, and the other trainers plying the paths in the forest were something of a joke. Most aren't worth describing, but one match is important...
"Drag! Wrap that pathetic thing!" Lance called out, and Drag answered by twisting around the opponent's Metapod.
"Metapod! Harden! Exhaust that... whatever it is!" The other trainer ordered his cocoon Pokemon.
Drag came up to the thing and wrapped around it, his tight coils squeezing the Bug hard. Although the Metapod was motionless, you could tell it was in pain from the way it was twitching.
It kept twitching... and twitching... and TWITCHING... and then, rays of light were coming out from under Drag's coils.
"Aw, dang, it's evolving..." Lance mumbled to himself.
Drag was fighting to keep the Butterfree inside the Metapod IN. But the Butterfree was putting up one heck of a fight, apparently. After about 30 seconds of struggling, Drag got a look of shock on his face and started shaking his head. A Confusion attack, Lance thought. Drag's grip loosened a little, and the Butterfree tackled him, knocking him away.
"Drag!" Lance called out. He reached for Drag's Pokeball, but the Dratini had a resolute look on it's face. Lance was even noticing something crackling at his ears...
Wait a minute. Crackling at his ears?...
What happened next blew Lance away. Drag looked straight at the now-airborn Butterfree. His ears were definitely sparking now, and his body was tense. Then, with a resounding "DRATINI!", he shot small blasts of electricity at the Butterfree. The Butterfree moaned in agony ("Beeeefreee....") and was on the ground in seconds, unable to move. The Butterfree's trainer was speechless during all of this, a shocked look on his face.
Lance was also a bit shocked, but whipped out his 'dex and said "Pokedex, identify move just used!" a little more loudly than was needed.
"Move used by subject Dratini was Thunder Wave, a move which causes minimal harm to the target, but causes strong electric pulses to race through the target's nervous system, causing temporary paralysis. The paralysis can last for up to a day, or can be treated by a chemical mixture called Hydrophalamine, commonly known as "Paralyse Heal.""
Lance looked at Drag with awe and respect. "That's an Electric move, Drag, and a useful one too. You just get cooler with each passing day!"
"Dra!" Drag responded, wrapping affectionately around his leg. Lance looked over to the Butterfree. It was a mess. It was convulsing heavily, it's wings beating in random and out of sync, and the look in it's eyes let you know it was in a lot of pain.
"Butterfree! Return!" the opposing trainer called out. After the Butterfree was in it's ball, the trainer turned to Lance, saying, "Man, that was incredible. You're a great trainer! But what IS that, anyway?"
"It's a Dratini," Lance responded calmly. He recalled Drag to his ball and walked off, leaving the other trainer standing there, his mouth open like an idiot.
There were several other incidents like that (including a memorable occasion where Drag stunned a Beedrill that was bearing down on him, with the end result of the Beedrill landing on it's own fore-stingers.) Volvagia did (regardless of Lance's warnings) start a few fires by accident, as well. These were easily put out, but by the end of the hike through the forest all were glad to exit. The forest was nice enough, but it was still nice to get some complete sunlight on their faces. Soon after exiting, Lance found himself standing on a precipice overlooking a city which seemed to feature lots of stone archetecture. (Not sort of "Flintstone" houses, but rock was incorperated into many building designs.) He had reached Pewter City, and the battle that would decide whether or not he qualified to join the Pokemon League.
After climbing down a path to the city, Lance immediately sought out the Pokemon Center, since he wanted to place a quick call in to Professor Oak to tell him about Drag's resistance to water and his ability to use Thunder Wave. Plus, the guys needed a break.
In the Poke Center, Lance gave Drag and Volvagia to the nurse (who was just as surprised as the one in Viridian City to see a Dratini) and then headed straight to the phones. He punched up the number for the Oak Lab, and a second later the face of a fairly flustered-looking Professor Oak appeared on the screen.
"Yes?... oh, Lance. Hello..."
"Uh, Professor? Is this a bad time?"
"Sort of... have you seen Max?"
"You still can't find him? Sorry, you're asking the wrong person. Have you asked Danielle?"
"I have." The Professor responded, sounding annoyed at the slight. "I found out that she and Max said good-bye QUITE elaborately."
"They were safe about it, I hope?"
"That's the thing. I don't think they were."
"WHAT? Oy, Max, you crazy lovestruck fool!" Lance yelled to the air, attracting some looks from nearby people.
"That's how I feel. You've not seen him at all since Viridian?"
"Nope. Not a hair of him."
"Arrrgghh... well, if you see him, tell him to phone home at once!"
"Sure thing. Listen, Prof., the reason I called is a Drag update."
"A Drag update? What is that little Dratini up too?"
"A lot. For one thing, he fights primarily by wrapping his opponents."
"That makes sense, seeing as how he is a snake-like dragon baby."
"Yeah, but there's more. He seems to be weak to the cold for some reason."
"Weak to the cold? Interesting... go on!"
"Also, he knows Thunder Wave!"
"Really? Interesting! Hmmm... it would be interesting to see what TM's he can learn."
"That's what I'm thinking. I can't wait until he evolves!"
"I imagine so. When he does, you will have the biggest, baddest Pokemon in the League. Speaking of which, how did your first match go?"
"Ummm, I haven't fought it yet. I was about to set out to do so."
"Well, good luck!"
"I'm gonna need it." Finished Lance, and he hung up the phone. Retrieving his Pokes from the nurse, he left the building, heading straight for the Gym.
Lance stood in front of the Pewter City Gym, which actually did look like a Flintstone house, except it was as tall as a stadium. It wasn't as wide or long, but the height factor was a little intimidating for a first-time trainer. Gathering up his courage, Lance strode inside.
Upon entering, he found a large, dimly lit room, with a single man sitting on a raised platform at the far end of the area. He rose and said: "Welcome to the Pewter City Gym. You have come to challenge me, Flint the rock trainer, for the Boulderbadge?"
"I have," Lance responded, "and I'm ready to win."
"Very well. You know the rules?"
"Uh... you choose the number of Pokemon, we each choose from our bench of six, they fight, last trainer with a Poke left standing is the winner."
"Precisely. However, here many trainers have few Pokemon. How many have you?"
"Only two. A Charmander and..." Lance paused, thinking it was best not to pop the secret yet. "... and something else."
"Ah, so the rumors about a trainer with a Dratini are true." Lance's mouth fell to his knees at this, but Flint just laughed, "You think that would stay a secret forever? But I don't care. I shall win. Two on two." Flint removed two balls from his belt, and motioned for Lance to do the same. "Very well, let us begin! Go, Geodude!" Flint threw the ball with all his strength, and a Geodude appeared from the red energy.
"Go Drag!" Lance yelled, throwing Drag's ball. Drag materialised, ready for a fight. "Drag, Thunder Wave!"
"Draaaa!!!!" Drag yelled as pulses of electricity flared from his ears. However, as the blasts hit the Geodude, nothing seemed to happen!
"Fool! Ground-types have a special chemical balance in their skin, making them completely immune to attacks using electricity!"
"Figures." Lance mumbled under his breath. "OK, Drag, we'll do this the hard way. Wrap! Drag complied, coiling around the Geodude, who seemed vaguely annoyed.
"Geodude, pull that weak thing off!" Flint called out.
Geodude complied, pulling and grasping at Drag all he could. This was clearly a pain to Drag, having rock-hard fists pounding at him. He seemed on the verge of giving up, when he suddenly got a determined look on his face. He suddenly dashed out, leaving the Geodude spinning like a top.
"Wha?... Pokedex, what was that move?" Lance queried to his organiser.
"Move just used by subject Dratini was Agility," the Pokedex chimed. "it is mostly a psycological move, and thus falls under the classification of Psychic. It allows a Pokemon to greatly increase it's speed and reflexes. The effect is not permanent, but it can be a deciding factor in winning battles."
"Heh, excellent!" Lance exclaimed, as he saw a clever strategy to use. "Drag, Wrap one of it's hands!"Drag complied, but before he could wrap, the (still dizzy) Geodude grabbed his tail. Exactly what Lance wanted. "Now head straight for a wall! Use Agility!" Drag once again flawlessly complied, and Lance guessed that Drag could see what he was getting at. He raced straight at the rock wall (with the Geodude in tow), and as he neared a painful collision, Lance cried out: "Now reverse direction! All the speed you can!"
Drag immeditately turned around, pouring on the speed. As he did this, the Geodude's grip slipped. The Geodude kept going, and...
The Geodude slammed right into the wall, causing a boom to echo thoughout the building. It fell to the ground, obviously knocked out from the combination of being spun like a dervish and slammed into a rock wall.
"Geodude! Return!" Flint called out. "Impressive. You have a very good bond with your Pokemon. However, the match ends here. GO, ONIX!"
"Onix?" Lance asked himself, trying to remember what that was.
His question was brutally answered a moment later. Out of the mass of energy that the ball let out was a gigantic serpent, 29 feet long from tail to head. It seemed to be made from boulders joined together, and the boulders looked nearly pitch black; no light reflected from them at all.
"JEEZ," Lance said out loud, "That thing's got to be a hundred times the weight of Drag. Drag, return! Go..." but as Lance called back Drag, his mind faltered. I'VE ONLY GOT VOLVAGIA LEFT!, his mind screamed. I CAN'T WIN! WE WILL, his mind answered. TO TURN BACK NOW IS TO ADMIT DEFEAT. WHY DO SO WHEN WE HAVE YET TO LOSE?
Steeling his nerves, Lance threw Volvagia's ball out. Volvagia emerged with a grin which dissapeared the second he saw his opponent. He turned to Lance and said, with a quizzical tone: "CHAR?!"
"Just give it your best shot, Volvagia!" Lance called out, trying to hide the desperation in his voice (somewhat unsuccessfully.)
"You've GOT to be joking," Flint laughed. "ONIX, TAIL SLAM!"
The Onix roared out a defeating roar and swung around, aiming it's massive tail right at Volvagia. He connected, sending the baby dragon sailing across the room. Thankfully, he didn't hit the wall, but when Volvagia picked himself up, he was clutching his side like it hurt - which it must have.
"Volvagia!!" Lance cried out. This is it, he thought. Either you surrender... or your Pokemon could pay the price of your arrogance. "Volvagia, return!" He pointed the ball at the Charmander, and sent the laser beam out.
When Volvagia saw what Lance was doing, he jumped out of the way with better reflexes than Lance would have given him credit for right now. "Char! Charman!" he called out, a resolute look on his face.
"Volvagia? You want to keep going? But... you have no chance..." Lance said, his voice dripping with worry. He didn't want to see Volvagia get hurt - or worse - because he was too hotheaded.
"Char!" Volvagia called out, as he turned to face his opponent. The Onix looked absolutely disgusted with the puny Charmander before him, and had refrained from crushing it only because Flint hadn't ordered it - yet.
"Onix - finish it off! Tackle, use your whole body!" Onix complied, rearing up, preparing to deliver the finishing blow to the stout-hearted but foolish lizard before him. Not knowing what else to do, Volvagia started shooting fireballs at the Onix. The tiny bit of flame just glanced off of it's skin. The Onix started rushing toward Volvagia...
Lance's mind was racing, trying to figure out a way to win. There had to be a way, some way, some weakness, some soft spot...
"Volvagia! Aim for the head!"
Volvagia started shooting a barrage of fireballs at the Onix's face, but it still didn't have any effect. They just glanced off of it's cheeks, around it's nose, off of it's forehead crest...
They landed square in the Onix's eyes.
It skidded to a stop, rearing back, howling in pain. The screeches shook the building. Lance nearly had to cover his ears to stop the pain. Even though the Onix's eyes were shut tight, Lance could still see thin streams of smoke coming out. "Wow..." was all he managed to say, and even he could barely hear himself through the Onix's yells.
Volvagia wasn't finished yet. He raced up to the howling serpent, and climbed up near it's mouth. What he did shocked both Flint and Lance. He climbed up to the serpent's mouth, and started shooting fireballs down it's gullet. The Onix was thrashing about like a worm on a hook now, trying to throw the little creature off. But Volvagia just kept coming. Soon, the Onix crashed to the ground, utterly exhausted.
"By the... Onix, return!" Flint called out. He badly wounded Onix returned to it's larger than normal ball. Then Flint turned to Lance. "That... incredible... shocking... impossible..." He continued like this for about a minute, while Lance ran over to Volvagia.
"YOU DID IT! GREAT JOB, VOLVAGIA!" Lance cried out, tears of joy running down his face. "As long as we stick together, we can handle anything!" He gave Volvagia a big hug.
"Char! Charmander!" Volvagia said, the grin on it's face again.
"Here," Flint called out to Lance, while he got a Boulderbadge out of his pocket. "You've earned this. That was the most amazing fight I've ever seen." Then he looked down, and mumbled (audibly) to himself, "Again! I lost again, and this time I had the advantage in the worst way! Do I just suck, or are the kids these days just too good?"
"Probably the latter," Lance said as he approached. Flint threw him the Boulderbadge. Lance held it up to the light. It was shaped sort of like a boulder, in an octagon. It shone a metallic gray.
"Well, that makes it official. You are now part of the Pokemon League."