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
"Leviathan!..." Lance said, once again exasperated by his Magikarp's utter inability to fight. He was going to be useless against Rock Pokemon in Mt. Moon. That was because he was useless against EVERYTHING.
"Karrrrppp!" Leviathan yelled, as the Caterpie rammed him again. Leviathan had tried to flop onto the little bug, but he just couldn't. When the Caterpie hit him in the head again, Lance knew it was all over. For Leviathan, anyway.
"Leviathan, come back! Now it's serious! ATTACK, VOLVAGIA!" yelled Lance, and Volvagia the Charmeleon emerged from the Pokeball's energy. Seeing the little bug before him, and the ten-year old commanding it, he laughed out loud. ("Charcharcharchar...") One well placed fireball later, the battle was over. Lance Ketchum had won again.
This same sort of scene was repeated numerous times over the course of the trip. Despite his seeming uselessness, Lance still had respect for Leviathan. It was mostly because it was so painfully OBVIOUS that Leviathan was trying his best to win. He just couldn't. Lance's Pokedex had warned him of this. Magikarp were regarded as the most useless Pokemon in the world. Still, that day that Lance had held Leviathan... he could feel power inside that fish, bursting to get out...
"Why am I so useless?" Leviathan said that night. (He was, of course, speaking in Poke-Speech to Drag and Volvagia.)
"Well, you ARE a young Magikarp, for one," Volvagia responded, trying to buck up his comrade. "You can't be a Pokegod immediately."
"Well, OK, but STILL, I'm not doing ANYTHING HERE! He could get rid of me!" Leviathan lamented.
"Get rid of you? No way. Lance isn't like that. He's probably the best trainer in the world (when it comes to caring for his Pokemon, anyway,)" Drag comforted. He, like his trainer, saw a hidden potential in the red fish that he just couldn't put his finger on...
"Thanks, guys, I needed that. Someday, maybe I'll do well..." Leviathan wished in his slightly stupid-sounding voice. With that, the trio dropped into slumber.
That was the only word that Lance could think of to say when he finally reached the foot of Mt. Moon. It was huge, and curious in that it was a solo mountain - it wasn't part of a range, specially not the part that seperated all of Lance's home country from the rest of the continent. Yet it wasn't a volcano; it was a simple giant rock. But for a rock, it's outside was very green. The forest that surrounded the area had also taken hold on the mountain, all the way up to the summit. With September here, the leaves were all golden and red, making the mountain look like a great pile of gold and rubies, silouetted against the cerulean blue sky.
"Wow," Lance said again.
At the base of the mountain, the entrance to a tunnel was located. Through this tunnel was Lance's next destination - Cerulean City, city of the Sea.
With a final glance at the beauty surrounding him, Lance made his way into the caverns. Inside it was almost pitch black. Thus, he immeditately called out Volvagia. When his Fire-type had emerged from the ball, Lance asked "Would you mind leading the way, Volvagia?"
"Meleon!" Was the emphatic reply, and so Lance began his journey under Mt. Moon, led by his faithful Charmeleon.
Within the caves of Mt. Moon there was little beauty. This was only a partially man-made cavern; much of it was still unexplored. The walls were barren and grim-looking, cold and uninviting. The air was still, and felt a bit stale. In the gloom, Lance thought he saw some shifting shapes.
Some of those shapes turned out to be other trainers. These battles were a good deal more difficult than the others, since the trainers often used at least one Rock-type. Drag and Volvagia could deal with these, but it was *very* difficult. It would have been easier if Leviathan could attack, but he was still essentially useless. Still, Lance kept training him, as they made their way through the vast network of holes.
They had been in there a whole day, the light of Volvagia almost being the only light they ever saw, when it happened. What happened on that day set the destiny of millions. Lance was walking along, following Volvagia's tail flame, when he felt his foot sink a little. He looked down, and it seemed a little of the floor had given way. His foot also seemed stuck. He swore softly, and started yanking at his foot.
"Stupid..." He continued to yank, and then in exasperation put almost all of his weight on the stuck foot.
All the floor under Lance gave way, opening to an extremely long hole. With a yell, Lance fell in. Volvagia ran over, but Lance was already out of sight by then. There was only one thing to do...
"Charrrrrrr!....." yelled Volvagia as he dived into the hole after his trainer.
It was a good thing this hole wasn't straight, Lance thought, as he continued to fall. He had been going in a downward for 45 seconds now, and if it had been straight he would have broken both legs. After 15 more seconds, the hole finally ended, and Lance fell 6 more feet down onto a floor - a floor that was far below where Lance had started. Lacne gave a yelp of pain as he hit the hard floor. He had barely gotten up, when he heard a sound from the hole, 3 feet above him - "Charrrrrr!..."
Lance dove out of the way just in time, as his faithful Charmeleon came plunging into the room - if Lance had stayed where he was he would have caught fire from Volvagia's tail. "Volvagia!" Lance cried out - now that his Charmeleon was here, he could see. Volvagia managed to get himself upright, and then started looking around, with the help of the light his tail provided. Lance did the same.
They seemed to be in a deep part of the caverns - this cave was not man-made. There were other forces at work down here, some older than humanity, some which shouldn't see the light of day. The cave Lance found himself in was very long - it streched out far beyond the feeble light of Volvagia's tail. The were scattered rocks about, some almost reaching to the ceiling. As Lance still had some idea where he should be heading, he motioned for Volvagia to get ahead of him. The duo started walking toward what they hoped was a way out.
They had been walking for hours, stoping only twice to rest, when they came upon something VERY unexpected - voices in the dark, ahead of them. At first Lance was going to call out to them, but then he heard what they were saying... hearing it, he went behind a nearby rock, recalling Volvagia to hide the tail flame. He was not engulfed in total darkness - during the walking, he had been able to tell that he was going up, so now there was a hole in the ceiling, which let a few slivers of light in. He kept listening.
"Bah! Why do we have be down in this filthy hole? Stupid boss's orders!"
"Shut yer hole! We'll do as the boss says. He's powerful, ya know."
"He isn't enough to hunt us down if we's leave!"
"Gah! Enou'! He could hunt us down like doggers if he wanted to! And we be looking for that stone, remember?"
"Yeh, yeh, I remember now. Well, let's look for it. How I hate this fowl pond!" *plink*
Two male voices. Both sounded pretty rough. Lance didn't know what they wanted, but he thought that they wouldn't bother him. He started to get up, but then his foot touched something. He turned, and in the pale light, he found the most curious thing yet.
Right in front of him was a silver-looking sword. In the middle of the blade was a star-like figure traced into the thing. From the star flowed many fair designs. In the small bit of morning light that seeped in, the designs shone like they were etched in gold. It was one of the most beautiful things Lance had ever seen. Taking it in his hands, he could feel the edge was very sharp - and yet it had to be extremely old. He took it's hilt, and he could see that it was bound with gold. Yet, the sword was oddly light. Lance felt he could not leave such a treasure behind, yet there appeared to be no sheath. He couldn't just walk past those guys holding a sword openly, they'd kill him. But as he turned, behold! There was the matching sheath - Lance could from the star design on it. Putting the sword in the sheath, he attached it to his belt-buckle with a bit of string and stepped out.
He definitely caught the two guys off guard. Even in the dim light of the tunnel, he could see them quite clearly. They looked suspiciously like the lackeys that Giovanni had brought with him when he confronted Flint. They both had on overcoats, but Lance could see that they both wore black shirts - with big, blood red R's on them. Lance noted the Pokeballs at their waist - two each. "What th... who are you?!" one of them said.
"My name is Lance Ketchum. Would you gentlemen know the way out of this dungeon?"
"We might. What's it to ya?"
"Bah! Cash or Pokemon is what we'll take. Or..." the thug said, eyeing the blade at Lance's waist - "that thing there. Take it or leave it."
Lance's eyes narrowed. "No way are you taking my Pokemon. And I'm not really willing to give this up. It is fairly valuable."
"Well," the other thug said, with an evil grin on his ugly face, "Now we're tellin' ya:GIVE US YOUR POKEMON!"
Suprisingly, Lance grinned too. "You want them? Here they are!" he yelled, as he threw the balls of his three Pokemon. Out came Drag, Volvagia, and even Leviathan. The goons just laughed.
"So! Ya think ya can defeat us!" he mocked, as he threw his balls. The other did the same. Out came a Muk, a Weezing, a Raticate, and a Fearow. Lance's Pokes were clearly overmatched.
"We'll give you a last chance, punk!" one of the thugs yelled. "Give 'em up... or DIE!"
"NEVER!" Lance cried, and his Pokes seemed to agree, as they started attacking. Drag took on the Fearow, Volvagia the Weezing, and Leviathan tried to challenge the Muk, flopping over to it. However, it started mocking it in Poke-speech.
"You pathetic fish-stick!" it jeered, as it used it's ponderous fist to slap Leviathan out of the way. The fish sailed through the air, and landed in the cave pool, a short distance away.
Now the Muk advanced on Volvagia, who was engaging the Weezing. He was doing OK, but was starting to choke on it's gases. Drag was faing little better. It had Thunder Waved the Fearow, so it was stunned and on the ground, but it was still trying to get Drag off of it's neck. Plus, the Raticate was making passes at Drag. Drag knew it was only a matter of time before it connected, with it's huge, sharp front teeth...
Lance watched his Pokes getting beaten, and he knew he would probably have to fend for himself. He pulled the sword from it's sheath, and the tracing shone out, the brightest thing in the cavern. He looked at the two Rocket Industries thugs, but they had revolvers drawn.
"I wouldn't think about it, kid," one said. "I'm afraid it's lights out..."
As he said that, a deep thrumming sound started to fill the cavern. The pool also started to glow. All stoped what they were doing and turned toward it. Within seconds the light coming from it was almost too much to bear. Then, with a gigantic wave, something emerged from the water. It was huge - the part showing out must have been 12 feet long. Thus, it was bending over in the cavern. It had two large whiskers, a very large mouth which contained a row of very menacing fangs. It's hide looked like armor plating, and it was blue with an off-white underbelly. On it's back, it had spiked fins, and near it's mouth were two more fins. It exploded from the water with a resounding cry of "GYYYYARADOOOOOSSSSS!!!!!!"
Lance knew what it was: the mythical dragon of the Sea, a Gyarados. Legends held that in ancient times, just one had enough power to reduce a city - and it's population - to ruins in a day or two. One here would either seal his fate or save him - depending on who it attacked first. And poor Leviathan! He must have awoken this beast, and became a snack in the process.
After looking at the group a second, the dragon turned toward the nearest target: the Raticate. It squealed to get out of the way, but it wasn't fast enough. The dragon's great jaw caught up with it, and bit down. Hard.
The blood went everywhere. They all heard the Raticate's death squeal, and then it was still. The Gyarados dropped it, his muzzle covered in it's blood. It then proceeded with killing.
The Muk was the next target. The monster reared back, and a second later shot out a stream of water at the Muk with as much force as a water cannon. Whole chunks of the Muk were stripped away, the Muk howling in agony, before it punctured the core - and the Muk disintegrated into a puddle of goo.
Next, the Weezing was destroyed. It was taken out in much the same fashion as the Muk: a high power Water Gun attack. It was pushed to the far wall, like it was hit with a piledriver, and exploded when it hit the rock wall.
Finally, the Fearow was killed. Drag had long since unwrapped, and now stood (if you can say a snake-like creature stands) a bit behind the vulture. Yet, Drag didn't seem afraid like everyone else except Volvagia (the two toughs had dropped their guns); it was like he knew this thing. The Fearow, on the other hand, was mortally afraid. It tried to fly up, but the Gyarados bit off it's wings. Screeching in pain, the Fearow fell to the ground. The Gyarados promptly proceeded to bite it's head off. The mutilated body of the bird rolled over. The Gyarados spit out the head on to the floor.
During all this, Lance saw what needed to be done. He despaired to do it, but if he didn't he would probably get killed. He quietly drew his sword, and when he was ready, tapped one of the Rockets on the shoulder. When he turned around, Lance brought his blade down on him. He made a cut from the guy's left shoulder, cutting diagonally, down to his right buttock. The sword was so sharp it went through even bone easily. The body of the guy seemed to hesitate for a moment, then it exploded in a spray of crimson and the cry of the thug, who fell in two pieces. When his partner turned to see what had happened, Lance drove the sword through the other thug's heart. Another explosion of red, another cry of agony before death.
Lance had taken out the last thug at the same time the Gyarados had... well, eaten... the Fearow. However, Lance didn't clean off his blade just yet. He knew that he would probably have to fight the thing off next - it was luck it had attacked only it's enemies so far. He tightened his grip on the hilt and looked up. The Gyarados was looking right at him, as well.
And it was smiling.
It was the strangest thing Lance had ever seen. It no longer looked angry at all. However, now that Lance could look at it closely, it seemed familiar... VERY familiar... the whiskers... the mouth... the... the EYES, which were now merry...
No... it couldn't be... Lance was stuck down in shock, and almost fell over...
"Leviathan?..." Lance said at last, his voice expressing his awe.
"Gy!" Leviathan said happily (well, happy for a Gyarados) in reply.
Lance couldn't believe it. That must have been the potential I felt in him, he thought. Now, I have one of the most powerful Pokemon in the world!
"Woohoo!" Lance cried in joy, raising his fists to the air.
That's when he noticed that his hands were covered in blood. So were his arms, and his shirt was also pretty wet. He could even feel a bit on his face. Of course, it wasn't HIS blood...
"Dang, I think I better wash this off," Lance said. Going over to the pool (Leviathan had removed himself from it, and now Lance could see that he was 20 feet long), he stripped off his shirt, and proceeded to wash it first, then his hands.
However, despite that, Lance knew inwardly that he would never really wash this stuff off...
Then, at the realisation that he would have a murder on his back for the rest of his life, he burst into tears.
Lance emerged into the sunlight. It was a curious feeling, after having been in darkness for so long. Now that he had come out of Mt. Moon, he felt ready for the next challenge: Cerulean City Gym.