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A Master in the Making: Part 8: Just Warming Up!
by Zeth Raltier

"Why do people always seem to build cities at the bases of inactive 
volcanos?" Zeth stood in front of the Ruby City Pokémon Center, looking up 
at Mt. Ruby, the volcano he had almost crashed into earlier. Turning, he 
entered the pokémon center, where there was yet another Nurse Joy sitting at 
the front desk. [How many Nurse Joys ARE there in the world?] Zeth 
wondered. "Excuse me, Nurse Joy?"

The pokémon nurse looked up. "Oh, hello, can I help you?"

"Yeah, I recently arrived... by plane... and I was hoping you would 
check out my pokémon to see if they are ok."

The nurse looked puzzled. "By plane? But Ruby City doesn't have an 

"Yeah, I noticed... I take it that you don't have time to watch the 

Joy smiled, "No, not really."

"I thought as much. Well, let's just say that I crash-landed a jet in a 
nearby field, and I've finally managed to escape the media." Zeth handed 
his pokéballs to Joy, and repeated his request. "Here, I just got my 
pokémon back from Team Rocket, so please make sure that they are all ok."

Joy stared at him incredulously. "You're kidding, aren't you?" Zeth 
shook his head. "Oh, my! How did you manage to do all that?" Zeth sighed, 
then began his story yet again......

In the meantime, Duke and Kat were bracing themselves for their report 
to the Boss. They gulped as Giovanni's face appeared on the screen. "Well, 
what do you have to report?" The Boss looked a little upset, and the two 
wondered if they had caught him at a bad time.

"Sir, we have some bad news." Kat began.

"Not more bad news... I have enough with Jessie and James."

Kat broke a weak smile, "No, sir, it's not that bad. We just had some 
problems with our flight."

"You had better not be calling me about bad service!"

"No, sir, we just... crashed..." Duke mumbled weakly.

"You WHAT?!"

Kat cut in, "It's not as bad as you think! The plane is barely damaged; 
the only thing that broke was the flight controls. The problem is that the 
Ruby City police impounded it."

Giovanni calmed down. "That's not a problem. You two go to Obsidian 
City, and I'll take care of the rest...."

"What's this?" Zeth had finished his tale, and was examining at a 
poster on the pokémon center's wall. "The Obsidian League, do you have what 
it takes?" he read. "Nurse Joy, is this a poster for this area's league?"

"Oh, yes, it is. There are ten gyms in the Obsidian League, including 
the one here in Ruby City. To compete in the league, you need badges from 
eight of the gyms. Here, I'll give you a map of the Obsidian League area." 
The nurse rummaged around in her desk until she found the map.

"Thanks, Nurse Joy. You said there was a gym in Ruby City - can you 
tell me what type of pokémon they use there?" Zeth asked.

"They primarily train fire-type pokémon at that gym, and their pokémon 
are quite strong too, as far as I can tell. I've become an expert on burn 
therapy since I became nurse here."

"Fire-types, huh? Well, I don't know if I stand much of a chance 
against fire pokémon, but I'll take a shot at it. Who knows, maybe I'll get 

Zeth gazed up at the Ruby Gym. [I didn't have to ask Nurse Joy about 
the type of pokémon they train here, the building would have been enough of 
a clue!] The building was a perfect recreation of Mt. Ruby; even the doors 
looked like they were part of the mountain. Fortunately, they weren't 
actually made out of rock, or Zeth would have never managed to make it 
inside. The inside of the building was much less volcano-like though. A 
well-lit hallway led out to the main room of the gym, where a man wearing a 
bright red shirt was speaking to a group of young children. [Probably 
future trainers getting a lesson on training pokémon from the local gym 
leader.] Not wanting to interrupt the children's lecture with a pokémon gym 
challenge, Zeth decided to take a seat behind the group and wait.

The man noticed Zeth's arrival and interrupted himself in mid-sentence. 
"Now the most important thing to remember about training pokémon is - May I 
help you?"

Zeth felt a little embarrassed, even though he had tried not to 
interrupt. "Yeah, I was looking for the leader of this gym, so I can 
challenge him to a pokémon battle. Would that be you?"

"Yeah, that would be me. My name's Cal." He shook Zeth's hand, then 
glanced down at the children. "Okay, kids, clear the field so we can have a 

"I really should let you finish your lesson first. The battle can wait 
until you're finished."

"Don't worry; it's not a problem. The kids will enjoy this and I needed 
a break, anyway."

Zeth waited at the edge of the battlefield for Cal to chose the rules. 
Sunlight shined down from the "volcano's" now-open ceiling, making Zeth 
squint. "Okay," called Cal, "We'll use two pokémon each. My first pokémon 
will be... Charmeleon!" The red fire lizard appeared with a flash of light.

"Go, Sting! Twinneedle attack!" The bee flew at the Charmeleon, but 
was driven back by a blast of fire. Cal shouted for his pokémon to use 
Flamethrower, but Sting managed to fly away from the column of fire. The 
insect swiftly circled the fiery pokémon for a few moments, then dove at it, 
bowling it over. "Good hit, Sting! Now use Double Team!" The dazed 
Charmeleon jumped to its feet, and blinked in surprise at the three 
Beedrills that it appeared to be facing.

"Charmeleon, use Fire Spin!" Cal shouted. The lizard spat out a huge 
column of fire that engulfed the "trio" of Beedrill. As the flames died 
down, only one Beedrill was still there, wobbling unsteadily. "Now finish 
it off with a Mega Kick!" The lizard stepped back, then launched itself at 
the weakened bug.

"Sting! Pin Missile!" The bee shot the missiles at the same moment the 
Charmeleon connected the kick. Both flew back, but only one got back up. 
"Sting, Return! Now I choose you, Eva! Use Take Down!" The little fox 
slammed into the weary Charmeleon, knocking it down and out of the match.

"Very good, but your Eevee won't be able to take this! Go Flareon!" 
Zeth gulped as the fire Eevee-lution popped out of the pokéball. The two 
foxes stared each other down, waiting for their orders. "Flareon, Leer!" 
The Flareon's eyes started to glow blue, mesmerizing Eva.

"Eva! Don't look at it's eyes! Use Skull Bash!" The little Eevee shook 
its head then dove at the fiery pokémon. The Flareon did not even bother to 
move. Instead, it flicked a pawfull of sand into the Eevee's face as the 
smaller pokémon rammed it. Eva yipped, and rubbed at her eyes with one paw, 
only to get a big, bushy Tail Whip in the face. "Your Flareon fights 
dirty," Zeth commented. "Eva, Bite!" The little fox was happy to comply, 
dodging around the Flareon and biting whenever it got the chance. At first, 
the Flareon treated it like a joke, but when Eva nipped it in the ears it 
howled angrily.

"Don't play around, Flareon! Use Fire Blast! The Flareon flashed a 
look of pure evil at Eva, then spat out an inferno of fire....

Zeth covered his face as waves of heat ripped past him from the blast, 
then looked over to see if Eva was ok. One glance was all it took to show 
that this match was over. The Eevee had been thrown back five feet from the 
sheer force of the attack and was now laying in a smoking heap, badly burnt. 
They had lost....