Author's Note: Well, here it is. The fic I have been going on about yet didn't have the guts to start it until now. Feels like an eternity since I started on this. I only hope that I'm not being too reckless in posting this already... This is clearly a Trainer Journey fic but hopefully this first chapter will intrigue you enough to give it the benefit of the doubt. Since it's been a while since I wrote anything, I'm open to constructive criticism and any advice anyone can give. I hope to better myself as we go along. -------- Pokemon: The Black & White Adventure Chapter 1: Little White (& Blue) Lies "Rise and shine, Hilda! Today's the day you've been waiting for!" Hearing her mother's jubilant voice and the knocking on the door managed to wake Hilda up but not completely. Like a zombie fresh from the grave, she still felt drowsy as she groggily lifted herself up to see the time on her alarm clock. 7:00?! AM?! I don't think so, she thought, mentally sighing to herself. Though she was often full of energy during the day, by no means was she a morning person. At least not before eight sharp. Today was no exception even if it was very special. "Just five more minutes, Mom," Hilda managed to respond with before lying back down to resume her slumber. It was an overused as all hell line but it was all she had at the moment. Hilda shut her eyes and turned her back towards the door. She then heard the door open followed by her mother, Helga, stepping inside her bedroom. Helga sighed and frowned at the sight of her 14-year-old daughter sprawled all over the bed, her pink pajamas still on and long brown hair a mess. "You know, when you ask for five minutes, you never live up to your end of the bargain," she said with her hands on her hips in a stern yet motherly pose. "Just let me sleep a little longer and I'll be good to go," mumbled Hilda, rolling over to face her back at her mother and trying to rest up some more. "I've got time to spare before the Professor comes." Their pet Minccino, Minnie, was holding onto Helga's head and was keen to chime in. [Really now, Hilda,] she said in the language of her species, frowning sternly. [You're going to be a Trainer very soon. This isn't the sort of behavior you want to exhibit to the Pokemon. They're going to look up to you as their coach and caretaker.] Hilda was in no mood to deal with Minnie's nagging this early in the morning. She pulled the covers over her head to try and shut them out. As of now, she was deep in the heart of Snoozeville, Population: her. Helga and Minnie were upset when they spotted Hilda's now exposed feet and got a mischievous idea to really get her up and at 'em. They exchanged smirks with each other to see that they were on the same wavelength. Helga motioned for the bed and Minnie stealthily leaped down to scamper across the floor. The Chinchilla Pokemon then quietly leapt onto the edge of the bed where Hilda's feet were exposed. She tried hard to stifle in her laughter as she brushed Hilda's soles with her gray fluffy tail. Feeling the ticklish sensation caused Hilda's eyes to shoot open and her body to spaz out as she let out a laugh herself. She accidently kicked Minnie off the bed and rolled off the edge, taking the covers with her. Hitting the floor was enough to really wake her up but she wasn't hurt badly. Helga held herself as she chuckled at her little joke and squatted down to her daughter still on the floor. "I'm glad you changed your mind, sweetie," she cheerfully said, done laughing but still amused. Hilda, however, did not appreciate her rude awakening. "Seriously, Mom?" groaned Hilda as she got up to stretch out and yawn. "You and Minnie promised to never tickle me awake again!" At times, her mother could be more of a best friend than a parent. While it was fun and all, she could be a little too playful sometimes with Hilda. Minnie was also a playful, even for a neat freak and a nagger. Minnie stepped over from the bed, still feeling Hilda's kick. [I admit that I did deserve that. Many apologies, Hilda.] She was responded with a roll of Hilda's eyes. "I'm sorry too," said Helga softly, starting to show a somber look on her face. "I only wanted to have some more fun with my little girl before she set out on her journey." She then moved in to embrace her daughter with a big hug. "You know I'm going to miss you very much." Hilda let her irritation go to receive her mother's warmness and return the hug, smiling all the while. "I'll miss you too, mom," she said before the hug was over. "But hey, we can still see each other every now and then and you'll have Minnie to keep you company. Besides, I wouldn't be a Trainer without your help, Champ." Helga smiled once more. "You're absolutely right. And speaking of Pokemon Trainers," she said while reaching into her pants pocket to take out a small rectangular box tied with a bow, "guess who came early to deliver the starters?" Hilda gasped in amazement as her eyes widened. "No way," she practically whispered with her mouth quivering before swiping the box from her mother's hands and tearing it open. Inside it, to her ultimate delight, were three half-red and half-white balls each with a white button. A big bright smile widen on her face as she breathing became heavy to compose herself. "Aurea decided to have the starters delivered ahead of schedule since she assumed you couldn't wait. Also as your teacher, she told me to say 'hello' to you," Helga explained. "So are you wide awake now?" she added before Hilda suddenly embraced her in a big hug, unable to contain herself any longer. The box was tossed away in the heat of the moment but Minnie managed to catch it. "Are you kidding? This is the greatest moment of my life! I love it!" Hilda squealed as she leapt up and down while clinging to her mother. "I can't tell you how much this means to me!" Helga managed to break free and get her daughter to simmer down and sit in the bed. "Okay, okay, take in a deep breath. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel," she said smiling. "Just don't get too eager to pick one before your friends arrive, okay?" "Alright," nodded Hilda, calmer when something dawned on her and caused her to glare at her mother and Minnie. "You know, if you had shown me the box from the get-go instead of tickling me, I would've gotten up in an instant." "Hey, it was a harmless joke as all," Helga protested when the three of them heard the doorbell ringing and a familiar voice calling out to them. "Hey, Hilda! Guess who's ready to be a Trainer?" "Man, everyone's a morning person but me today," remarked Hilda before asking her mother, "Can you show them in while I get dressed?" "Will do," answered Helga before heading for the door. "Come along, Minnie." [As you wish, Miss Helga,] Minnie responded politely, placing the box on the floor and leaving the room alongside her owner. The doorbell continued to be rung as Helga and Minnie made their way downstairs. "Hold your horses, you two," Helga called out, rushing as fast as she could. Reaching the front door, she opened it up to greet her guests. "Cheren, Bianca, good morning. This is quite the surprise, I must say." "Sorry if we woke you up, Mrs. Helga," Cheren Blakely said politely as he and Bianca began to take a step inside. "We-" Minnie interrupted them by clearing her throat, getting their attention as well. [I'm sure it merely slipped your minds but any and all footwear is to be left by the front door,] she said in a stern tone of voice. Though Hilda's friends didn't understand the speech of Pokemon, they knew Minnie enough to get what she was saying. "Alright, we read you, Minnie," said Cheren as he removed his blue and black shoes to leave them by the front door while Bianca did the same with her yellow shoes along with him. She also put down her green purse too. "Sorry about that," apologized Helga for Minnie's uptight stance on cleanliness. "Anyways, why so early?" "Let's just say I had a hunch that a certain somebody would be trying to sleep in as usual despite what today is," said Cheren, adjusting his glasses. "So I left at least fifteen minutes earlier." Bianca Whitley frowned as she adjusted her green beret, knowing whom Cheren was talking about. "I told you that I would've gotten up eventually. Besides, it takes time for a girl to look her best." "Fifty years, I'm sure," Cheren said in a deadpan manner. "I've been doing this for you since the 4th grade. I think I know what I'm getting at here." Helga moved in between them to break up the argument in progress. "Anyhow, Hilda's upstairs getting dressed and Professor Juniper recently came along to deliver the starters. So how are your folks at home?" "Unfortunately, my dad had to attend a school meeting in Aspertia City early in the morning," said Cheren. "But my mom helped me pack last night." "My Dad's doing fine but I think he was a bit sad to see me off," said Bianca, seeming sort of somber in her tone. "Not that I really blame him-" She stopped when they all heard the sound of rapid footsteps from upstairs. "Hey, sorry for the hold up, guys!" Hilda said as she went downstairs to the foyer, now wearing blue denim shorts, a white tank top and black socks with her hair done up in a ponytail. "Oh, Hilda! Good Morning!" said Bianca, perking up and heading over to embrace her best friend in a hug. "Nice outfit. It's definitely you hands down." "Thanks but I'm not sure if I can say the same for yours," Hilda said while returning the hug. She took note of Bianca wearing an orange vest over a white gown and orange leggings. "I don't think that was part of Elesa's summer lineup." "Yeah, but it's a classic. Better than Cheren's any day," Bianca chuckled, referring to Cheren's outfit, consisting of a pair of dark blue pants, a light blue jacket and a white shirt. Awfully formal in her opinion. Cheren frowned and folded his arms. "Well, not that I really care about fashion but aren't those shorts cutting it a tad too close, Hilda?" Hilda giggled. "What, are they too long for you" she teased, making a lewd look on her face. The flabbergasted look on Cheren's face was enough to get Hilda, Helga and Bianca roaring with laughing. "That was never funny to begin with and you know it!" he said, red in the face. "Is it too much to ask for our Pokemon already?" Composing herself at once, Hilda took the box of Pokemon out from her right pocket as she began heading for the living room with everyone following. "Fine, it's best we cut to the chase already," she said as she sat down on the couch along with Bianca and Cheren. "I'll fix us up some breakfast," Helga said as she headed for the kitchen. [And I'll stay here and inspect the new arrivals for any germs,] Minnie said, leaping onto the couch alongside Hilda. Hilda placed the box onto the table before them and took off the lid to reveal the Poke Balls to the excitement of herself and her friends. "I'll let you two go first and the one left is all mine," she offered generously. "Don't mind if I do," said Bianca as she took the Poke Ball labeled "Tepig" and pressed the white button to enlarge the ball, deactivating the locking mechanism. "Tepig, come out and meet your Trainer." The ball opened up in half with a "click" with blue-white formless energy bursting out of the ball like flooding water after a dam burst. The energy leapt down to the floor near the couch and took on physical shape as the orange-black Fire-Pig Pokemon known as Tepig. The Fire Pig stretch itself out after being in the ball for sometime and took a look at his new surroundings. "Wow-," Bianca begun to say before Minnie cut her off." [Don't get up just yet,] the Minccino said as she leapt down to the floor and went over to inspect the visitor. She sniffed Tepig and eyed him for any kind of grim while making him feel uncomfortable. [You pass. Just don't sneeze any smoke, understood?] She tiptoed away with her eyes still on Tepig who was confused by this. Bianca giggled at Tepig's face of bewilderment and got up to see her starter Pokemon. "Don't mind her, Tepig, she's just a neat freak as all," she said while squatting down to get a closer look at her Pokemon. "Anyways, it's good to meet you. I'm Bianca." Looking up at Bianca, Tepig recognized the voice as the one who called him out. [Oh, so you're my Trainer. Hi, I'm Tepig!] he proclaimed while shining his brightest smile that pierced the heart of Bianca. "Oh my goodness, you're even cuter in the flesh," Bianca squealed as she grabbed Tepig and hugged him, pushing him up to her chest while jumping up and down in joy. "And you're so warm! I just know that we're going to be such great friends!" [Likewise,] Tepig managed to say despite the tight embrace; though appreciative of the affection he's receiving. In addition, Bianca was very pretty like Professor Cedric Juniper's daughter… "I'd recommend not hugging him to death before you can find out," Cheren quipped as he took the Poke Ball labeled "Snivy" for himself and pressed the button to enlarge it. "Come on out, Snivy." The ball opened to release energy that leapt onto the table to become the green-white snake Pokemon, Snivy. He was taking in his new surrounding when Minnie lashed out at the newcomer, seeing where he was on. [You there!] the Minccino yelled with the utmost anger. [I just had that table swept ten times over in the last four hours! Remove yourself from there immediately!] Snivy didn't take kindly to others ordering him about and was naturally irritated by Minnie. He turned to the source of the voice while still keep his cool. [Then just clean it again later, hothead,] he said smugly, smiling at how worked up Minnie was. [That shouldn't be so hard to figure out. At least, I hope it's not, simpleton.] Minnie was furiously gritting her teeth at such condescension thrown her way but tried her best to put a lid on it. A worried Hilda was almost surprise to not see steam coming out of her ears. Snivy ignored the elephant in the room and turned to the two humans before him. [So who was the one who called for me?] "That would be Cheren," answered Hilda, pointing to her friend on her left. Snivy took a good look at his new Trainer, maintaining his cool and collected demeanor, and sniffed, folding his tiny arms. [Eh, you look okay. A bit pale and scrawny for a Trainer but beggars can't be chooser, now can they?] Cheren frowned at Snivy's tone and mannerisms. "I don't know what you just said but I doubt I'd like it." "Well, it was blunt, judgmental and a bit too honest," Hilda said before laughing a little. "On the bright side, you two already have something in common." "How reassuring," said Cheren drolly, rolling his eyes at Hilda's brand of humor. Hilda took the last Poke Ball left in the box that was labeled "Oshawott" and pressed the white button to enlarge it. "And now for the moment I've been waiting for," she said with excitement. She took in a deep breath to calm down and held up the ball, saying, "Up an' at 'em, Oshawott!" The same blue-white energy burst out of the ball and landed on the floor to take physical shape as the blue-white Sea Otter Pokemon, Oshawott. The little guy looked around himself with a wide-eyed look of curiosity and nativity, being use to the inside of the laboratory. He saw Hilda getting up from the couch and walking over to him with a smile on her face. Unsure of whom she was, Oshawott began to feel nervous. [Um, hello,] Oshawott said in a meek tone of voice that gave off a vibe of timidness. [Are you going to be my Pokemon Trainer?] "I sure as heck am," said Hilda happily, smiling warmly so as to make Oshawott feel more at ease. "My name's Hilda. Don't ask if I have a last name because I don't. Well, I use to before Mom removed it but that's beside the point. It's nice to meet you, Oshawott." Hearing this, Oshawott soon realized that he himself should've shown more respect to his Trainer. [It's a pleasure for me as well,] he said, bowing like a Samurai. [I hope that I can serve you well on your journey.] Hilda giggled, endeared by Oshawott's humbleness and politeness. "Oh my, aren't you the littlest gentlemen now?" she complimented, petting Oshawott on the noggin. "Please, don't be so formal with me. I'm your friend as I am your Trainer. And I prefer Hilda for the record." Oshawott blushed and smiled at the gesture and the compliment when a stern-looking Minnie surprised him upon turning to his left. She made a menacing "I have my eye on you" gesture before tiptoeing away to attend to Helga, leaving Oshawott speechless. "Don't mind Minnie," Hilda said. "She just tends to be on-edge when cleanliness is a concern." She put out her right hand to Oshawott. "Anyways, here's to our friendship and our team to be. One down, five to go." Hesitant at first, Oshawott put out his left paw for Hilda to take and shake with. [Sure, I look forward to working together.] He had a good feeling about this girl, better than he had expected. Hopefully, he could be better than she had expected in due time. "Hey, guys," Helga yelled from the kitchen. "Breakfast will be ready soon. Why don't you go outside and practice a few moves with your Pokemon? Maybe get to know each other better with a few games too, you know?" "Sure, Mom!" Hilda responded. -------- The three friends and their Pokemon headed outside where the weather was moderately warm, being the middle of June and all. After playing a few games, Cheren had suggested they let their Pokemon show what they were made of. Hilda got out three posts with a target on each one to stick into the ground and went over to stand a distance from them with everyone else. "Alright, Bianca," said Hilda, now wearing black shoes with pink laces for outside, "Ladies first." Bianca nodded and turned to face three metallic target a short distance from them. "Go on, Tepig. Show us the power you're packing." Tepig's nostrils flared with determination with actual smoke puffing out and stepped up from Bianca's side. Figuring that bringing out the big guns would make for a good impression, he began concentrating to amplify the Fire power in his body. Once ready, he dashed off like a comet and looked like one too with a bright, fiery tail streaking behind him. In just one second, he hit the middle target head on and calmly landed back on the ground, leaving a big, smoldering dent in the bull's eyes. To say everyone else was surprised would've been a flat-out understatement. Even Snivy looked awestruck before returning to his stuck-up demeanor to save face. Bianca smiled as she went over to praise her Tepig. "That was one excellent Flame Charge!" she cheered joyfully, picking Tepig up to look at his in the eye. "I knew I had the right Pokemon in mind choosing you! You're a real cute bruiser for sure." [Aw yeah!] Tepig squealed and snorted, happy to gain praise from his Trainer and see her smile. [I kick butt!] Snivy sniffed. [How very optimistic of them,] he said before turning to Cheren beside. [What's say we display my capabilities so they can remember their place, shall we?] He noticed Hilda shooting him a dirty look along with Oshawott strangely enough. Cheren saw Snivy talking to him and could figure out what he was being told. "Alright, we'll be going on up next. Snivy, show your stuff!" [With pleasure,] said Snivy as he stepped up closer to the target on the left-hand side. Two green vines sprouted from under his yellow shoulder growth and he swung them each to strike the target again and again, creating dents in it with his Vine Whip attack. One final whip was enough to make a hole in the bull's eye. [And now for the coup de grace,] said Snivy with glint in his eyes. He leapt up high into the air and, once above the target, began spinning around to create a Leaf Tornado. The wind around him formed a green cyclone with his Grass power that wrecked the target below. Hilda, Bianca and Cheren were naturally impressed but the same couldn't be said for Oshawott and Tepig who knew Snivy was showing off. Oshawott, in particular, felt uneasy seeing the target destroyed like that, having been a regular victim of Snivy's power during sparring sessions in the lab. Once the cyclone dissipated, Snivy landed on the ground gracefully and walked back to Cheren. [No need for any applause. I'm well aware of my greatness, thank you.] Yeesh, Hilda groaned mentally. And I thought Watcher was full of himself. She took in a deep breath and turned to look down at Oshawott. "It's our turn now, Oshawott. Show us your moves." Gulping, Oshawott nodded yes and began to walk up to the target on the right, his heart racing in anxiety. You can do this, Oshawott. It's just a harmless target. Imagine Snivy's face on it and you're good. [Go get it, Oshawott!] cheered Tepig. [Yes, do break a leg out there,] Snivy said with a snide undertone. [Oh, and do your best as well.] Ignoring that obvious insult, Oshawott took in a deep breath to gather his Water power and spewed from his mouth a concentrated column of water. The blast hit the target in the bull's eye dead on, making a major dent in the circle and bending the post back a bit. The impact made the others jump a bit from the sound. To finish things off, Oshawott removed the Scalchop from the suction of his bellybutton and held it before him with both of his paws. Concentrating his power on the shell, a blue aura appeared on the Scalchop and stretched into a sharp Shell Blade, hardening into a solid. Hilda and the others were intrigued by where this was going. With his weapon ready, Oshawott sprung up into the air and began his descent towards the target with his Shell Blade held above himself. When the moment and position was right, Oshawott brought down his blade on the target and, as he fell to the ground, sliced through it down the middle. Landing gracefully, he made the Shell Blade disappear and swung around to stick the Scalchop back on his bellybutton. Behind him, the target, post and all, split in half and fell to each side. As per usual, everyone else was speechless, including Snivy (not that he would admit it). Hilda was the one to break the silence. "That… was… awesome!" she managed to say with building elation as she ran over to Oshawott. She squatted to look him in the eye. "Those were some really slick moves. That last one was a real killer most of all." Oshawott made a bashful look on his face as he laughed. [I'm glad you liked it,] he said, glad to have made a great impression. [Though I must admit that I wasn't really giving it my all.] "If that was you going easy," started Hilda as she stood up, "then I can hardly wait to really see you in action." Just then, she saw a nervous expression appeared on Oshawott's face, making her concerned. "Is there something wrong?" Realizing he's setting off alarms, Oshawott tried to hide his misgivings the best he could. [Nothing's wrong at all. In fact, I look forward to showing what else I can do in battle.] Snivy sniffed and rolled his eyes at such a lie while Tepig got concerned for his friend. Hilda was still concerned but thought it best not to push it. "Oh, okay," she said. "I think Mom should be done making breakfast, right about now." "Finally," Bianca chimed in. "I didn't get to eat much of anything at home." She eyed Cheren glaringly as they all turned to walk back to the house. "At least I would've in due time." "At your pace?" quipped Cheren. "Don't make me laugh." Just as he touched the backdoor's knob, they all hear someone clear their throat and looked to their left where Minnie had the hose turned on and in her paws. [My apologies for the inconvenience,] said Minnie with a smile on her face, [but outside is where you're most susceptible to grim and germs. Something I absolutely cannot tolerate.] [Oh, good grief,] said Snivy. This time, nobody could blame him. -------- After a thorough wash and drying courtesy of Minnie, Hilda, Bianca and Cheren got seated at the table to eat breakfast with Helga. Meanwhile, down on the floor, Oshawott, Tepig and Snivy ate their Pokemon food out of bowls along with Minnie, much to their discomfort. The humans chattered amongst themselves while the Pokemon did the same. [You know, we really lucked out on these Trainers,] said Tepig, upbeat as usual. [I already love Bianca. She's so sweet.] [Eh, Cheren's okay so far,] Snivy said, shrugging after swallowing. [But the verdict is still out on his battling skills.] [Well, I think Hilda's great already,] said Oshawott with his smiling mouth full yet still speaking timidly. [I can't wait to see how great of a Trainer she is.] [With your losing streak?] sniffed Snivy, folding his arms indignantly. [Don't get your hopes up, Water Boy. I've mopped the battlefield with you figuratively and literally in every sparring session and very few times have you ever won.] [Well, but-] Oshawott begun to protest with a worried look on his face but he didn't know what to say. As rude and stuck-up as he was, Snivy had a point… [You know that it's true and soon Hilda will once you drag her down with your constant losses,] Snivy went onto say. [Then it'll be only a matter of time before your discarded like common trash. Of course, you've only known her for an hour so really who knows. Not that I'd risk it in your place.] Oshawott tried to talk back in further protest but soon saw Snivy's point. Looking at Hilda at the table, he recalled how stoked she was to become a Trainer and how she seemed in it to win lots of battles. With his persisting losing streak, who was to say that after six losses in a row, Hilda wouldn't realize how Oshawott was ill suited for battle and let him go as soon as possible? In fact, Oshawott could easily imagine her leaving the Sea Otter back at the laboratory and saying, "I'm sorry, Oshawott, but I'm afraid that it's pointless to keep you when you can't get a single victory. You're on your own, pal. It's for the best." The scary part of it was how vivid it seemed in his mind. Oshawott was left speechless as he continued feeding himself solemnly. [I told you so,] said Snivy, rubbing salt in Oshawott's wounds before feeling Minnie's painful Tailslap attack hit him hard from behind. His nose even inhaled a piece of food to his displeasure. [I think we've had enough of you for one day, thank you very much,] said Minnie sternly. The humans at the table were too engaged in a conversation to pay attention to the Pokemon down on the floor. Just then, Helga checked her X-Transceiver to see that it was 8:03 AM and told everyone of the time. "Just a little head up, guys," she said as a warning. "We're expected at the lab in about a quarter of an hour so we best finish our food and maybe make some last minute check ups too." "I'm all good," insisted Hilda. "I don't think I've forgotten any-" She stopped herself before widening her eyes in realization. "Oh crap!" she exclaimed as she bolted up from her chair, making everyone else jump in surprise. She held her head and pulled her hair in a panic. "How could it have slipped my mind? I am such a terrible friend." Helga knew exactly what her daughter was talking about. "You can still get to them with time to spare if you leave now." "Oh, thank you, mom!" Hilda said before turning to her Pokemon. "Oshawott, finish every bit of food as fast as you can. We're leaving in a minute sharp." [Okay!] answered Oshawott before scarfing down all the food he had left, slow enough to not choke at least, whilst Hilda did the same. After washing down all the food with milk, Hilda was good to go. "I'll meet you all in the woods when you guys are ready to go," she said while getting up to rush out of the kitchen for the front door. Oshawott trailed behind as fast as he could keep up with her. [If you don't mind me asking,] Oshawott began to ask as he stepped through the door and onto the front porch, [where are we going?] "Well, you're about to meet some very good friends of mine," said Hilda as she reached into her left pocket to take out a metallic case and opened it up. She picked out a Capsule labeled "02: Bicycle" and pushed its button before tossing it down the stairs to the ground. In big burst of steam, the Capsule changed into a bicycle with the kickstand already up. Hilda then picked up Oshawott as she ran downstairs to the bicycle and placed him into the basket while she got onto the seat, ready to ride. "Hold on tight, Oshawott," said Hilda with a determined tone of voice. "We don't a second to spare." With that said, Hilda began pedaling the bike fast onto the sideway while Oshawott shut his eyes and held tight to the basket, scared he might fall out. She then made a swift turn at the corner to go down the street and straight to the entrance leading to the West Wood of Nuvema Town. [Why exactly are your friends in the woods?] Oshawott asked as the bike jumped and bumped on the dirt path. They passed bushes and trees along with various wild Pokemon that watched them go by. "It's a surprise," said Hilda as she swerved off onto a smaller pathway. "You have to see it to believe it." She eyed her X-Transceiver to briefly check that she still had enough time left before she came to a small clearing. She braked as she rolled alongside a small tree stump and put up the kickstand. Oshawott was lifted out of the basket and put on the ground to move about more and so Hilda could recapsulize it. He looked around at the woods in wonderment. It wasn't often that he got to go out into the woods with the Professors or even this deep. [So how long until your friends-] Before Oshawott could asked anything at all, Hilda cleared her throat and shouted on the top of her lungs, "HEY, YOU GUUUUUUYYYYYS!" making the Sea Otter Pokemon jump in surprise. "You're about to get your answer soon enough," she told Oshawott with an excited grin and a chipper tone of voice. "Though I suggest you step away from me." A few seconds after she spoke, Hilda and Oshawott heard the sound of rustling leaves getting closer from all around, coming their way. Oshawott did as Hilda suggested and moved away from his Trainer even though he was still unsure why. In mere seconds, six Pokemon burst straight out from the bushes two at a time on all sides and tackled Hilda one at a time to dog-pile on her. First, a Watchog and a Patrat, then a Herdier and a Lillipup and finally, two Sewaddles that swung on a branch using String Shot. Though it was painfully, Hilda wasn't upset but rather very happy to see her good friends again as she laughed along with them. All this nearly made Oshawott jump right out of his skin seeing his Trainer attacked by wild Pokemon. [Hilda! Are you Okay!?] he cried out. He dared not attack given their strength in number yet his Trainer was in trouble. "Alright, guys, you can get off me now," insisted Hilda as the six Pokemon on her got off and stood up beside her. The Watchog actually helped her up on her feet. "Everyone, meet my starter Pokemon, Oshawott." Seeing how his Trainer wasn't upset or appeared to be in any sort of danger, Oshawott settled down and realized something. [Wait, are these the "friends" you've been speaking of this whole time?] "Uh huh," nodded Hilda. "I'll introduce you to the gang." She pointed to the Watchog by her right side. "This is Watcher, the default leader next to me and the one who tried too hard to be cool." [I don't need to try,] Watcher said while folding his arms. [I already am.] "Right, how could I've forgotten?" said Hilda sarcastically. She then squatted down to where the Patrat was, near her legs. "This is Patrick, Watcher's little brother and one of the cutest members of our group." She petted his head a little getting a giggle out of him. [Hi, Oshawott!] greeted Patrick, waving to the newcomer. [It's nice to meet you and not be the smallest for once.] "Um, that's not a nice way of putting it," said Hilda in a concern tone. She knew that Patrick meant well but could be a bit careless with what he said. She dismissed it to move onto the Herdier by her left leg. "Anyways, this is Herdy, a pretty heroic Pokemon who got us out of a few scraps now and then." [I hardly consider 34 times a month "a few?"] said Herdy indignantly. "I didn't realize you kept count," retorted Hilda. She then pointed to the Lillipup who was panting heavily, tongue stuck out, with excitement. "That's his little sister, Lilly, a real firecracker who can really bounce off the walls. And I meant that literally too." [Hey, Hilda, is Bianca coming soon?] Lilly practically shouted out loud. "Soon, I hope," Hilda said, checking her ears. She pointed to the twin Sewaddles next to Herdy and Lilly. "Next, these two are the Sewaddle Sisters, Sue and Addle. They're wild, reckless and aren't the kind you wanna pick a fight with." [We're here to kick tail…] Sue began with fiery passion. […and chew bubble gum!] Addle finished with similar passion. [And we're all outta bubble gum,] they both finished. [At least we would if we knew what it was] "Lastly, here's…" Hilda began to say before realizing that they were one member short. "Wait, where's Pidove?" [Ah yeah,] said Watcher as he remembered. [I went to get him but he was really bushed from last night so I left him be. I'm sure he'll catch up soon.] While observing the group, Oshawott began to pick up on the banter and realize that Hilda was responding to the Pokemon like she knew exactly what they were saying. In fact, she seemed to reply to what he'd say to her before but he figured they were lucky guesses. Still, it never hurt to ask once. [Um, Hilda,] Oshawott ventured forth, getting everyone's attention. [Is it me or does it seem like you're communicating with these Pokemon? I don't wish to sound crazy but that's how it looks like.] Hilda and her Pokemon friends exchanged dumbfounded looks until someone broke the silence. [You mean you only now caught on?] asked Watcher, befuddled. Hilda decided to use a nicer response. "Yes, Oshawott, I have the ability to communicate with any and all Pokemon," she said. "My Mom has this ability as well with it being passed down through her family line." [Wow, really?] said Oshawott, now very intrigued. [How do you do it?] "I… have no idea," said Hilda, now unsure. "It's basically like my brain has a build in translator that helps me understand Pokemon and vice versa. I don't really have any control over it and I try to keep it under wraps in public. Aside from mom, Cheren, Bianca and others, it's a total secret. Minnie use to be wild before she followed me home and decided to stay." [So this ability helped you make friends with everyone here?] Oshawott deduced. "You sure catch on quick," stated Hilda. "Living in town can be fun and all but coming out her to the great outdoors is great. These guys have been like a second family for me here and it sometimes feels like I'm a Pokemon too." [But enough about us,] said Herdy. [What about you, Oshawott?] [Yeah,] said Lilly, perking up as she trotted over to probe Oshawott with questions. [What's it like in that lavatory?] [Um, it's called a "laboratory" actually,] said Oshawott, feeling uneasy without his personal space as Lilly got up-close to him. [And to answer your question, it's quite nice, I guess.] Patrick moved in to question the newcomer as well. [I hear some people perform experiments there. Does it hurt?] [How's the food there?] Sue asked, crawling over alongside Addle. [Why do the people there wear those white coats?] Addle asked as well. Being swarmed with questions and curious little ones was very overwhelming for Oshawott before Hilda stepped into sort everything out. "Alright, you guys. Lay off him already. He'll answer when he's good and ready." [Okay, Hilda,] sighed Patrick as he and the others moved away from Oshawott. [We're sorry.] [It's okay,] said Herdy. [To be fair, I'm curious about how tough lab Pokemon can be.] [Eh, not much if you asked me,] said Watcher with a hint of arrogance. [Out here in the wild is where you can really learn to toughen up.] Hearing this, Oshawott was provoked into responding. [Actually, Watcher, the lab Pokemon I've met are well-trained and could perhaps even work you over in a battle. Myself included.] The last tidbit was a lie but he figured that what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. Even if it wasn't right, he still wanted to make a good first impression on Hilda's good friends. [Oh really?] said Watcher skeptically. [And how many battles have you won?] [Uh,] Oshawott hesitated for a second before choosing a random number. [Fifteen! In a row!] Watcher, Herdy and the other woodland Pokemon exchanged expressions of amazement with themselves and Oshawott, eating up such a claim as the truth. Lilly and Patrick were especially in awe, being the impressionable youngsters they were. Hilda's face made a dubious expression at her starter's claim. She wasn't entirely sure but something didn't seem right with Oshawott's words and actions. But then she smiled, dismissing the idea. He's probably just exaggerating to make a good impression, she thought. Might as well let him have his harmless fun. Though her doubts still remained in the back of her head… Oshawott wasn't use to such praise even though he was fibbing but for him, it was a nice change and little more probably would hurt. [They were really sparring session with my two fellow starters but the Professors made them like real battles to prepare us. I go easy against Tepig since he's a fire-type but with Snivy, I hold nothing back.] Oshawott began to puff himself up as he spoke of himself with pride. Lies or not, he liked the feeling being admired and for once, he wanted to feel like he was great. [And outside battle, the Professors always making sure to have us practice our moves such as…] He took off his Scalchop and created the Shell Blade, which took everyone by surprise. […my Razor Shell!] "Well, it's nice to see that I choose a real go-getter to start my journey with," said Hilda, cheerfully despite her underlying concerns. "Try not to let it go to your head now." [I promise,] said Oshawott, smiling as Hilda patted his head. It felt good to gaining her approval even if he wasn't being truthful. She'd find out eventually but for now, he'd make these moments last… [You know,] said Watcher. [hearing all that makes me wanna take a crack at you, squirt.] Oshawott gulped but thought fast. [Maybe some other time but not now, if you don't mind.] "I actually have to agree, Watcher," said Hilda. "I'm planning to have my first battle at the lab where they'll check up on my battle skills." Oshawott sighed in relief. For now, he got lucky… The sound of rustling footsteps gets everyone's attention as they all looked to see Helga, Bianca and Cheren making their way towards the clearing along with Minnie. Happy to see their friends again, Lilly and Patrick dashed over to greet Bianca and Cheren respectively while Minnie went over to greet her old friends from the woods. In the midst of all the various chatter, Helga went over to Hilda and Oshawott to talk. "We're expected at the lab in less than a half hour but if it's all the same with you, could you battle me? I'd like to see just how good my little girl is so far." Clasping her hands together in joy, Hilda smiled. "I'd be more than happy to, Mom. I own you for helping me even get this far." Oshawott was unable to share such a sentiment, freezing up and going a bit blue in the face. He pulled himself together enough to protest to his Trainer. [B-but Hilda, what about our check-up battle?] "It can wait," said Hilda, dismissively. "Mom has taught me how to be Trainer before I took classes and believe me, this is the least I can do to repay her. You're not upset at this, are you?" [Oh no,] said Oshawott, frantically trying to not get her too suspicious. [If this is what you want to do, then I'll go along with it.] He made a faux-smile to hide the immense feeling of anxiety welling up inside of him. He had dug his own grave and all that was left was to bury himself with his own lies. It would've happened sooner or later but he would've preferred later if anything. Everything was sorted out soon enough. Helga and Minnie stood together at one end of the clearing while Hilda and Oshawott had taken many steps back to create enough space for their makeshift battlefield. Bianca, Cheren and the woodland Pokemon sat on a picnic blanket right on the sidelines to spectate along with Snivy and Tepig who were let out to watch the battle. "Get ready, Oshawott," said Hilda, feeling her heart race excitedly for her first battle as an actual Pokemon Trainer. "This will be our first battle and our first victory." [Yeah, let's clean their clocks!] proclaimed Oshawott, faking enthusiasm to hide his anxiety the best he could. Luckily, Hilda couldn't see his face with his back turned or how he was sweating like a Tepig. Hang on, Oshawott thought. Minnie hates griminess and nothing gets you dirtier than a battle. Maybe I can win this if she holds back. He prayed silently for that to be the case. "I'll let you make the first move, Hilda," said Helga with a confident look on her face. "Just don't expect me to go easy on you in the slightest. Daughter or not, you're still my opponent." Minnie nodded in agreement with a determined, battle-ready look on her face. "Wouldn't have any other way," said Hilda with spunky and pep before taking in a deep breath to compose herself and shift to a serious demeanor. "Get ready, Oshawott. Wait for my order." Oshawott snapped out of his thoughts hearing this and knowing its crunch time for him, he took in a deep breath like her. [Ready when you are, Hilda,] he said, trying to be as stoic as possible and pretty unsuccessfully at that. "Fire your Water Gun now!" Hilda ordered loud and clear. A quick long range attack should do it. Plus, Minnie hates the smell of wet fur. [Got it!] said Oshawott as he took in a deep breath while building up power. He quickly spewed out a concentrated column of water straight at Minnie. "Jump and Swift!" Helga ordered just as the Water Gun attack began. From her orders given, Minnie knew how to proceed with the situation given. Before the column of water could hit her, Minnie pounced into the air as the water passed below her. She began to do a backflip forward while powering up her tail and when her body rolled over airborne enough, she whipped her tail to launch a bunch of energized star-shaped projectiles. Seeing this made Oshawott frantically remove his Scalchop for protection but each and everyone of the stars hit him dead-on. This caused his shell to fly out of his paw as she fell to the ground and drop and few feet from him. Hilda was also caught off-guard by Minnie's moves and utterly speechless Her mother wasn't a champion once for nothing, that much was clear. However, this wasn't the time to admire her foe and was about to speak out her next order when her mother beat her to it. "Tickle him, Minnie!" "Oh crap, no!" exclaimed Hilda, eyes widening after hearing the dreaded word. "Oshawott! Razor Shell! Quick!" Regaining his bearings, Oshawott stood up and looked for his Scalchop. Seeing it on the ground at 8 o'clock, he began to head over to get it. A big mistake as he would soon see. With her foe's back turned, Minnie took the opportunity to run over and latch on to him from behind. She moved her tail to tickle Oshawott's bare belly, making him laugh out loud and stumble about while dropping his defenses. Hilda blushed at how cute the whole scene looked but concentrated on the battle. "Come on, Oshawott! Shake her off!" "Tailslap!" shouted Helga. Minnie got off of Oshawott and stopped tickling him, allowing him to pant a little from laughing so much. When he turned around to face her, Minnie swung her tail around back and forth to strike Oshawott four times in a row. Oshawott fell face first onto the ground, in pain and out of stamina to battle anymore. Hilda and the spectators were speechless at the whole battle and how it went so damn fast. Snivy broke the silence with a pompous sniff, having known what to expect. Realizing she had gotten carried away, Helga made a look that basically said, "Uh oh." She saw Minnie return to her, visibly sharing the sentiment with a frown. "I'm really sorry, Hilda," she said to her daughter eight feet away. "It's been so long since I had anything close to a real battle that I kinda went overboard. Hope this doesn't hurt your confidence." Snapping out of her shock, Hilda heard her mother's words. "I understand, Mom," she replied, not sad but still befuddled by the battle. "I only wish we could've made this one last longer." "We could have a rematch," offered Helga. "Nah, we haven't got the time," said Hilda, looking at her X-Transceiver. She then looked away to see Oshawott looking very sorrowful as he slowly picked up his Scalchop and placed it back on his bellybutton. Figuring she know how he was feeling, she went over to him and squatted down to his level. Oshawott's self-esteem was at an all-time low, far more than before, as he tried to avoid eye contact with Hilda. "Don't worry, Oshawott," said Hilda as she smiled in attempt to comfort her starter. "There's still room for improvement and there'll always be next time." Hearing this, Oshawott's eyes widened as his mind went back to Snivy's words and his fantasy of Hilda letting him go. Tears welled up in his eyes, soaking his furry face, as he breathed quickly and heavily while sniffing to everyone's surprise. Hilda made a look of astonishment at Oshawott's suddenly sobbing. "H-hey! It's just one loss. There'll be plenty of battles to win-" [No, there won't!] Oshawott burst out with great emotion. [I've barely won a single sparring match, let alone any sort of battle. I was lying so you wouldn't be disappointed in me so soon but now… what's the point? I'll never ever improve. I'm just a pathetic weakling. No better than trash.] Bianca, Cheren and the Pokemon exchanged looks of discomfort and unsureness due to the sudden heavy atmosphere. Even Snivy held his tongue out of a rare instance of decency. Helga and Minnie felt the same way only worse due to the role they played in this. Hilda made a solemn look on her face. She didn't know what to say at the moment but seeing that Oshawott needed time to cry it out, she took his Poke Ball from her pocket and enlarged it. "Here, return and rest up for now," she said very softly. Oshawott, still tearing up, looked up and nodded sadly, allowing the red recall beam to hit him and revert his body into pure energy that the ball took back in. Feeling responsible, Minnie ran up to speak to Hilda. [I am very sorry this had to happen, Hilda. I-] "Don't be," said Hilda. "There was no way you could've known… unlike me. I should've paid closer attention to the hints." "I just hope this whole thing can be sorted out soon," said Helga as she walked over to her daughter. "Yeah," said Hilda as she gazed at Oshawott's Poke Ball. Hilda bid a fond farewell to her forest friends before heading back to her home with Cheren, Bianca and Helga. After a last minute inspection of what they packed, the three Trainers got into the car and were driven towards the laboratory courtesy of Helga, Minnie waving goodbye. Sitting in the back seat near the window, Hilda said nothing on the way while staring vacantly, deep in thought. Normally, she wouldn't have been able to contain herself with excitement but instead; she was pre-occupied by Oshawott's breakdown and was wondering what to do. She had dealt with similar issues before but this was really sudden. Cheren decided to break the silence while leaving Hilda well enough alone. "Um, Mrs. Helga, could you maybe turn on the radio or something?" "I guess," said Helga. She turned on the radio and adjusted the volume before tuning into a News Station. "…in related news, reports of stolen Pokemon have been growing numerously for the past two months. The police have recommended that all Trainers must keep their Pokemon close by and be exceptionally cautious of suspicious characters they may encounter…" Helga switched off the radio while scowling in discomfort. "On second thought, we're almost there anyways." "This is so scary," gulped Bianca. "Those poor Trainers…" "That's putting it mildly," Cheren added grimly. Hilda paid no mind to everyone else when she saw a playground coming up and got an idea to set things straight with Oshawott. "Mom, can you stop the car here? There's something I need to do…" "I understand, Hilda," said Helga, knowing what she was talking about and eased on the brakes to stop the car. "But before you go, take this." She opened the glove compartment to take out a baseball cap. "Wear it as a memento of me for your journey. Good luck." "Thanks," said Hilda as she took the cap and stepped out of the car. She closed the door and watched it drive off as she put on the cap, making sure her ponytail fit through the back. Looking around the playground, Hilda saw an Ice Cream Vendor she recognized from some years back and figured that Oshawott could use a little pick-me-up before their talk. She ran over to the elderly man who was nodding off from boredom when he heard her approaching him. Lifting his head up, he opened his eyes and was surprised to see a familiar face before him. "My word, Hilda!" the old timer exclaimed happily. "How much you've grown! Is it true that you're a trainer now?" Hilda smiled and nodded. "I'm on my way to the lab but I figured my starter and I could use some Ice Cream. Oh, speaking of which…" She took out Oshawott's Poke Ball from her right pocket and pressed the button to unlock it. "Oshawott, come on out." Oshawott burst out of the ball and stood on the ground before Hilda. He wasn't crying anymore but it was obviously still in low spirits. He looked up at his Trainer, fearfully saying nothing and awaiting what she had in store for him. Perhaps she had a punishment for his deception… But to his surprise, Hilda was smiling and showed no feelings of disdain at all. "So Oshawott, I heard from Professor Juniper awhile back that you're allowed Ice Cream and I figured we could use some to cheer us up. What flavor would you like?" Oshawott's eyes widened in further bewilderment and he wondered if he was in any trouble at all. Nevertheless, he dared to speak up. [Um, vanilla please,] he feebly asked. "Alrighty then," said Hilda as she turned over to the vendor. "One chocolate for me and one vanilla for the little guy here." "Coming right up," said the vendor, in the dark about Hilda's ability and figuring she guessed. He took two cones and slide the freezer open to scoop out vanilla and chocolate ice cream for both cones. "Here you are," he said as he handed both cones for Hilda to take. "Thanks," said Hilda as she began to walk to a nearby bench. "Come along, Oshawott. We can sit at the bench to eat." Oshawott ran alongside Hilda while looking at her in a confused manner, wondering if she even remembered his breakdown. Hilda sat down on the bench as he leaped up onto the bench alongside her. He was handed his vanilla ice cream cone and started eating it. He was almost done when he felt pain in his head from eating to fast. [AAAAAAHHHHHH! My head!] cried Oshawott as he flailed about on the bench in agony. [Makeitstop, makeitstop, makeitsetop!] Finishing her ice cream, Hilda put down her cone fast and moved over to Oshawott as he cried. "Now, now," she said soothingly and motherly as she rubbed his head. "Just calm down and the pain will go away faster." Oshawott looked up at his Trainer, despite the headache, and felt that Hilda was truly concerned for him, not mad. He did just as he was told and soon the pain dissipated. He sighed in relief and even started laughing a little over his little escapade. Hilda smiled and laughed a little herself. "It's good to see you perking up more. I was really worried about you after that breakdown you had." [So…] Oshawott began to say before hesitating a little, [you're not at all upset at me? I lied about my strength and lost horribly as proof.] Hilda made a look of confusion. "Why would I be mad? I could tell that you weren't being truthful actually and just played along mostly. I've done my share of it years back and really there's no harm in it." [Are you really?] asked Oshawott, needing reassurance. "Of course," said Hilda. "I mean, do I strike you as the type to get super-uptight at even the smallest of mishaps?" [Not… really,] Oshawott responded timidly. [I was really afraid of continuing to lose your battles. You'd get fed up and let me go, seeing that I'd never improve.] "What?!" said Hilda, flabbergasted. "Hold up, can you start from the beginning? From when you were being prepped in the lab." [Well…] said Oshawott, hesitant to spill the beans. "I promise I won't be mean to you," insisted Hilda. "I just want to help you as your Trainer. You do trust me, right?" The last part was enough to convince Oshawott. He took in a deep breath and began his explanation. [During sparring session, Snivy would always beat in no matter how hard I tried. Even if I'd get a few hits in, he'd always be the winner and kick me when I'm down. That is, rub my loss in. I'd refine my moves outside the battlefield but it never made a difference. I was very nervous about meeting you and though you seemed nice, I couldn't help but be afraid. I didn't mean to lie but it felt good to be liked even if it was wrong of me.] "I see…" Hilda said solemnly. "So the reason you sobbed and said how you'd never improve?" [Because it's true,] Oshawott said, beginning to tear up. [I haven't even won a hand full of battles and even Minnie made mincemeat of me. I might as well face facts and quit while I'm ahead…] "Stop!" said Hilda, holding out her hand to Oshawott to interrupt him. "How would you know that when I've only been your Trainer for a few hours? Where's the harm in giving it a shot?" [You'd be wasting your time with me,] said Oshawott. [I'm not worth it.] "I think it could be worth it," said Hilda. "But we won't know unless we try. You're still young and I'm just a beginner so we can't be the best from the get-go. Though I hate to pull rank, as your Trainer, I'm going see to it that you become one of my best Pokemon." [But I'm weak!] Oshawott began to protest. [That battle in the woods was-] "-against my mother, a former Pokemon League Champion," Hilda interrupted. "I knew full well that I could've lost even against Minnie who's not much of a battler. We trainers do half of the work in battle strategizing and barking orders for you Pokemon to carry out. If anything, I'm to blame because I could think fast enough against my own mother, a Veteran. But I'm not going to give up now when I have such a long way to go if I want to be a great Trainer. "The point is," she continued, "that any Pokemon can go from weak to powerful if given the chance and a Trainer willing to help them. They just need confidence in themselves and give it a shot rather than worrying if they can do. Well, that's what my mother drilled into my head for years on end but I know to take her words for it." Hearing his Trainer speak all this with such determination left Oshawott in awe. [Do you really mean all that? Even if I turn out to be a big disappointment in battle?] "Even if you don't become instant champion material, I'm not going to discard you like trash," said Hilda. "I'd hate to get all sappy but human or Pokemon, you are my very good friend and I want to keep it that way. Maybe you'll end up being the most skilled Samurott Unova ever witnessed or maybe you be the end-all-be-all worst battler ever. We won't know unless we try." Oshawott was unsure when Hilda reached her hand out to him. "I'm more than confident to try. If you are, let's shake on it." Oshawott hesitated for a few seconds, still unsure, until he replayed her words in his head. He had only known this girl for a short while yet now it felt like he knew her his whole life. Like he knew her as somebody he could always rely on and put his trust in if worst came to worst. And, to be honest with himself, he really did want to battle and see where he could go. With that settled, Oshawott plucked up enough courage to put out his paw so Hilda could hold it as they shook on their new friendship. [I'm still uncertain of myself but I'm at least willing to try. And… I trust that you'll do your best to help me.] "Thank you," said Hilda. "Of course, you're the first member of this team. There'll be five more and they could help you too." She then stood up from the bench and saw the time on her X-Transceiver. "My, how time flies. We better hurry to the lab now." Then something dawned on her. "Say, could you show me one of your move since we'll be battling soon? I assume you know Tackle but what's the fourth one?" [Um,] said Oshawott blushing. [If I show you, will you promise not to laugh?] "Sure," said Hilda. "Go ahead and show me." Oshawott did just that but Hilda found herself stifling a laugh, breaking her promise. [Hey!] Oshawott shouted, stopping his move. [You promised!] "I'm sorry, really," insisted Hilda as she composed herself. "But thanks to you, you gave me an idea…" -------- Author's Note: Unfortunately, I had to make two separate posts for this one chapter. Whoops... While I'm confident in the story itself, I can't say the same for the narration and the dialogue since... it lacks "flare" in my eyes, especially since this is mostly a pilot to see where I can go with this. I would greatly appreciate constructive criticism on what I did right and what I need to work on. Thank you very much. Add. Notes: The Capsule concept is obviously taken from Dragon Ball to replace the Hammerspace backpack. Hilda did make a reference to "The Electric Company." She liked it as a youngster. I'm sure I don't need to explain the usage of brackets for PokeSpeech translated. The Poke Balls work like in the Anime but I explain that the shrinking is because it's part of locking mechanism that few Pokemon can get out of. A lot of stuff under explained or ill-elaborated will be in future chapters (assuming I don't forget). In other words: http://markreads.net/reviews/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/riversong_spoilers.gif ---------- Post added 08/06/2013 at 12:47 PM ---------- Author's note: I'm back. Here's Chapter 2 where the story truly pick up with a certain team making their debut. -------- Chapter 2: Lab Rats. After getting out of Helga's car, Bianca and Cheren stepped through the automatic dual-doors into the Pokemon Research Laboratory, sighing in relief that they made it at last and that the lobby was well air-conditioned. Being Sunday, the employees weren't around on their weekly day-off. Coincidently enough, they saw Professor Aurea Juniper and her father, Cedric, coming down the hallway at the moment, prompting them to run over to meet up with them. "Right on time, you two," quipped Cedric Juniper whose eye always seemed to be closed when they weren't. His face then made a look of concern. "But where the heck is Hilda? You'd think she'd be the first one barging through those doors." "It's... complicated," said Bianca, recalling the "incident" with unease. "Well, to make a long story short, Hilda's just giving Oshawott a little pep talk to boost his self-esteem," answered Cheren. "If it's Helga's daughter, then Oshawott's in good hands," said Aurea happily. "Speaking of which, before the check-up battle begins, we'd like to see how you're Pokemon are doing now." The two Trainers nodded yes and each took out their starter's Poke Balls to unlock them with the white button. After the balls grew, the two starter Pokemon, Tepig and Snivy, let themselves out onto the floor by their Trainer's feet. Bianca bent over to pick up Tepig. "This little guy awfully spunky and awfully adorable," she said joyfully as she wrapped her arms around the Fire Pig Pokemon who smiled as he received her affection. "I love him so much already." "And I see Tepig feels the same about you," said Aurea as she leaned in to see how Tepig was in high spirits with his Trainer. "Incredibly impressive how you bonded with him so well." "I see Snivy's still acts all high and mighty," said Cedric, kneeling down to look at Snivy who turned his head and sniffed in offense. "He's pretty indifferent towards me," said Cheren. "Can't win them all over, I guess." "It'll take time with the likes of Snivy," said Cedric, standing right back up. "Either way, my daughter has certainly taught you well in your classes." At that very moment, the Professors and the Trainers heard the dual-doors slide open followed by multiple footsteps before looking to see four sharp-suited people (two male, two female) walking over to them. The young man with black facial hair, sunglasses and gray fedora was leading them and spoke as he and his associates reached the four they were looking for. "A pleasure to meet you, Professors Cedric and Aurea Juniper," he said. "My associates and I are the inspectors sent from the League to perform a standard surprise inspection of this establishment. I presume you were called about this yesterday." "Huh?" said Cedric before it all clicked in a second. "Oh, that's right! Aurea and I were expecting you, Mister-" "Willis. Bertram Willis," introduced the lead inspector before motioning towards the violet-haired female inspector to his left. "To my left here is Janet Alans," he then motioned towards the young man with short brown hair and the young lady with long black hair. "and to my right there is Bright Alexanders and Vanessa Allison." "The pleasure is all our's," said Aurea as she motioned towards Cheren and Bianca. "As it happens, these two along with a third have recently become Pokemon Trainers and are having a check-up battle to display their current skills before heading out on their journey. Meet Bianca Whitley and Cheren Blakely." "Well, might I say that it's great to meet new and promising Trainers," said Bertram as he thrust out his hand at Bianca. "We wish you the best of luck." "Thank you," said Bianca as she took Bertram's hand to shake on it when she noticed something familiar about his face yet she could pin it down. "Um, have we met before?" Bertram seemed to wince at her question. "I- don't believe we have. Sorry but I'm sure you're mistaken." Overhearing this, Cheren took a look at Bertram himself. "I dunno. You seem kind of familiar but... where have I seen you before?" Wanting to change the subject, Janet cleared her throat in order to get attention. "Um, this third Trainer you mention will be arriving soon, will she?" And speak of the devil, the dual-doors opened up to let Hilda and Oshawott run right on inside. Upon joining everybody else, the two of them stopped to catch their breath after bicycling and running all the way. "Sorry for the holdup, Professors. I was just trying to help Oshawott lift his spirits." "Well, I'd say your efforts were not in vain," said Cedric as he and Aurea saw Oshawott with a happy look on his face. "And since you're here, we can finally hand out the Pokedexes and get the battles started. Aurea, if you would." "Right away, Dad," replied Aurea as she reached into her lab coat pocket and took out three rectangular devices that almost looked like i-pods. She handed each one to Hilda, Bianca and Cheren and began explaining them. "You can look up any information on any Unovan Pokemon such as their current moveset, what they can learn via experience or Technical Machines, gauge a Pokemon's battle power be it their own or their foe's." As the Trainers marveled at their new tool, Tepig and Snivy went over to see Oshawott. [Are you really all better now, Oshawott?] Tepig asked with concern. [You were pretty broken up there.] [I was until Hilda helped me,] answered Oshawott, slightly smiling. [I really feel like I have a shot with her as my Trainer.] Snivy sniffed snootily. [We'll see how long that lasts after I put you through your paces. As per usual, of course.] Though Oshawott initially got mad, he then thought how Hilda wouldn't get all wind up like some toy. He smiled with that in mind. [We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?] Snivy was taken aback by the unusual response he got and smiled slightly in intrigue. This will be more fun than I thought, it seems. Vanessa cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. "I hope that we are all ready to go. We're awfully eager to see what these rookies can do." "Well, you all heard the lady," said Cedric, "the battlefield is straight upstairs. I'll lead the way." With the decision being unanimous, the nine of them began down the hallways straight ahead after the starter Pokemon were recalled to their Poke Balls. Just as they all reached the staircase door at the end of the hallway, Bert cleared his throat to speak up. "I'm terribly sorry," he began to say, "but Jan and I need to use the restroom for some, er, last-minute unfinished business. Mr. Juniper, could you escort us?" "By all means, I'd be happy to," said Cedric. "You lead the others upstairs, Aurea, and get things started. We'll catch up soon enough." With that settled, Aurea opened the staircase door with a key and led the Trainers, Bright and Vanessa upstairs while Cedric turned to lead Bert and Jan down another hallway where the men and women's bathroom were close by. "I hope we're not being such a bother," asked Jan. "Think nothing of it," said Cedric. "When you gotta go, you gotta go." He took out a ring with keys on them and began searching for the right one while Jan reached into her pocket and took out a tiny vile. "Ah, here we are," he said as he found the corrected key and used it to unlock the doors. He swung around to tell the inspectors that they were allowed it when Jan sprayed a perfume in his face that made him fall to the floor out-cold. His body stopped the bathroom door from closing. "Out like a light," Bert sighed. He took out a tablet phone to dial a number and contact other associates of his. "Simon, Sammy, Phase One of Operation Lab Rats has been completed. Standby for Phase Two…" -------- "The battle between Cheren Blakely and Bianca Whitley will soon be underway," announced Aurea as she stood on the sidelines acting as referee. "Trainers, get ready to send out your Pokemon!" Bianca took in a deep breath and exhaled deeply, holding Tepig's Poke Ball in her hand as she looked right at Cheren across from her on the vast battlefield. She was confident that she'd win with Tepig's fire-type moves being super effective against grass-type Snivy but knowing Cheren, he'd have a clever trick up his sleeve. Not to mention that strategizing wasn't really her strongest suit... Behind the Professor, Hilda, Bright and Vanessa each sat on folding chair to view the battle with Oshawott out of his Poke Ball and sitting on Hilda's lap to watch the battle along with her. "This match begins now!" shouted Aurea. "Go, Tepig!" yelled Bianca as she unlocked her Poke Ball and held it out so Tepig could burst out onto the battlefield. Tepig snorted and flared his nostrils with determination, trying to look cool for Bianca. [Let's heat things up.] He didn't notice Hilda rolling her eyes yet smiling at his cheesy one-liner (or at least how her mind translated it). "Showtime, Snivy!" yelled Cheren as he held his Poke Ball out to let Snivy out onto the battlefield as well. Snivy folded his arms haughtily and sniffed at the sight of Bianca and Tepig. [Hardly a challenge, if you ask me. But if I must, I guess a tiny workout isn't so bad.] Hilda groaned as such blatant arrogance. "Is he always like this?" she asked Oshawott, whispering. "There's being a cartoony snob and then there's this." [I'm afraid so,] replied Oshawott sighing. Neither one of them saw Vanessa glance at them for a second and wonder why Hilda seemed to talk with her Pokemon. She pondered for a moment on the possibility. Nah, that'd be too freaky of a coincidence. She's probably the imaginative-type. "Make the first move, Bianca," offered Cheren, looking stoic to reveal little emotion like a poker face. "My treat." "Thanks, Cheren," replied Bianca, jubilantly before thinking to herself. One Flame Charge and one Ember oughta do it. This is almost too easy. "Tepig, Flame Charge!" Carrying out his Trainer's orders, Tepig charged up his internal fire power and then began his mad dash as a fiery aura surrounded him, making him look like a streaking comet. He headed straight for Snivy who was standing by for his Cheren's orders. "Gotcha," Cheren said under his breath before shouting at the top of his lungs. "Snivy, elevate yourself with your vines now!" In a swift yet calculated maneuver, Snivy had his vine protrude from under his yellow shoulder growths and had them push down on the ground so he could rise straight up into the air. He did so just a couple of seconds before Tepig could strike and the Fire Pig Pokemon raced below him, missing the target. Bianca was shocked speechless by such a tactic as was Tepig who stopped his attack, making the fiery aura dissipate, to look back in befuddlement. Snivy used his vines to lower himself down onto the floor with distance from Tepig just as Cheren issued out his next order. "Grab Tepig!" Snivy stretched out his left vine further towards Tepig who was still in a state of shock and began to wrap it around the pig's torso. Bianca tried to warn her Pokemon but it was far too late. Tepig found himself squeezed around the belly and hoisted up into the air as he flailed his legs, trying to get loose with little results. "Jeez louise," grimaced Hilda. "Cheren's not holding back even against Bianca." Oshawott gulped as recollections of being beaten by Snivy flashed in his mind. [And Snivy's as ruthless as ever...] He was still unsure if Hilda could help him win and watching this wasn't helping. -------- "By the way, Jan," said Bert as he walked down the hallways with his partner. "Thanks for the save back in the lobby. If they recognized me, it would've been all over." "I was just seeing to it that our mission doesn't falling apart," replied Jan before making a teasing smile. "Although, that Bianca was pretty cute like you said." "Yeah, a cute pain in the ***, to be exact," grumbled Bert. "If you had her as your sister, you'd know. Anyhow, we have a job to do so let's cut the chatter and focus." Jan sighed and rolled her eyes. "Sir yes sir." Upon arriving at a metal dual-doorway labeled "Pokemon Storage Room," Bert took out an ID card he stole from an unconscious Cedric and swiped it in the card reader by the door, wearing gloves to protect his fingerprints and, subsequently, his identity. When the door closed behind them, the lights switched on to let Bert and Jan observe their surroundings better. On their right was a big computer monitor and control panal that seemed embedded in the wall. The computer itself seemed to be on sleep mode after being used recently, displaying its Patrat-themed screensaver. Looking to their left was something they swallowed hard at. There were three wide shelves, each one of them holding twenty Poke Balls that each contained a Pokemon meant for the purposes of research. The two glared at the "disgusting" sight. "Let's not waste any more time," Bert replied with a very stern look on his face. "Jan, start collecting each and every Poke Ball and I'll get the transfer all set up." While Jan walked over to take every Poke Ball on the shelves, Bert went over to the computer and pressed a key to get it out of sleep mode. The screen lit up but displayed only a password engine to be filled out. Bert typed in the letters, spelling out "IDUNNOAUDINO" and hit the enter key to access the Desktop screen. He then moved the arrow over to click an icon that opened a window that accessed the Pokemon Transfer System. He used his tablet phone to call Simon and Sammy. "Are you two ready?" said Bert with a commanding tone of voice. "Ready and waiting, Bert," replied Simon from the other end. "Just connect with our signal and start the transfer," added Sammy, cheerful as usual. Bert looked at the window on the screen and saw a GPS of the nearest signal to start a connection with. After typing in a few keys, a connection was established and a plastic cover opened up to reveal a hole to place a Poke Ball in for the transfer. "I'm all set over here, Jan," said Bert. "You?" "Way ahead of you," said Jan as she held a bag with many of the Poke Balls. She had one in hand and moved over to insert it into the transfer hole. She whispered, "Don't worry, little guy. You'll be safe soon." -------- Come on, Bianca! Hilda thought intensely. Have Tepig used Ember right at Snivy! A Trainer should not hesitate this much! Unfortunately, as a bystander, she could give Bianca any sort of heads up when she was in an official battle. Not without an automatic forfeit. "Cheren, please don't do this!" pleaded Bianca but he cried fell on deaf ears. "Snivy, Vine Whip now!" Cheren ordered at once. Stretching his right vine out towards his restrained foe, Snivy had it strike Tepig's face back and forth to attack. All Tepig could do was let his foe smack him as Snivy's left vine would not loosen one bit no matter how much he struggled. Of course, a fire-type like him wouldn't be affected by a grass-type attack like Vine Whip so much but if Bianca couldn't help him get out of this jam, he'd be done for eventually. [Like I said,] snarked Snivy, sneering while enjoying his foe's plight, [hardly a challenge.] Bianca was zoo distressed from seeing her Pokemon getting harmed like this that she was at a loss of what to do. Then it hit her like a Bouffalant stampede and her face made a determined expression once more. "Ember!" Tepig heard the order loud and clear and couldn't have been more relieved. He snorted in deep as he built up as much fire power as he could, tilting his head back just when Snivy saw what he was doing, making him stop whipping his vines. Aiming well and moving his head forth, Tepig shot small fireballs right out of his nostrils (some of which were his snot) right towards Snivy who reflexively ducked. However, Snivy's tail was hit dead on which made him wince and loosen his grip on Tepig. The pig was able to escape at last and landed back on the floor, still able to see the fight though yet the whipping pain still lingered. "Hurry up and use-" Bianca began to say before Cheren cut her off. "Leaf Tornado!" Snivy didn't waste a second in his attack and his little legs moved him very swiftly towards Tepig. Once close enough, he leaped up into the air above Tepig who looked up in awe and spun around fast to create a cyclone of green glowing leaves (or at least what looked like leaves) around him. The Fire Pig Pokemon was engulfed by the twister which lifted him up into it to toss and spin him about. Eventually, it dissipated with Tepig landing on the floor roughly and Snivy landing gracefully. Worried for her Pokemon, Bianca took out her Pokedex to check Tepig's stats and was shocked to see that he was almost done for. "No..." she muttered before holding her hair in frustration. "Come on! Why can't I be fast enough?" Tepg managed to stand back up and saw how sad Bianca looked, making his heart sink at how his Trainer was in a major tizzy. He bit his teeth in frustration, wishing he could do something. It then dawned on him and even though it wasn't really the right thing, drastic times called for drastic measures. Cheren was nice enough to let Bianca vent a little before she got up, feeling a little better. "Let's finish this battle already. Snivy, Tackle Tepig!" [Not my idea of a flashy finisher but might as well with this weakling,] said Snivy before he made a dash towards Tepig. Bianca gasped as her mind raced. Now what? Do I attack or dodge? Who knows what'll happen? Just as Snivy got close, Tepig curled himself into a ball to soften the impact from Snivy who was pushed back by his own force to his surprise. The pig was still hurt but not as much and still able to fight as he uncurled himself. "What in the-?!" exclaimed Hilda who was shocked along with Oshawott. Bianca didn't tell her Tepig to use Defense Curl. Or... did she? Bianca was also surprised to say the least. I don't know why Tepig did that but he saved himself in any case. I don't know if this is right or not but I'm desperate enough either way. Cheren too was shocked before he composed himself once more. "Snivy, Vine Whip! Make it fast!" Just as Snivy drew his vines out, Tepig began charging up for a Flame Charge Attack and made a dash for Snivy who also made his move. But as the Grass Snake's vines hit Tepig, the fiery aura singed them both, making him wince and open for attack. Tepig rammed right into Snivy and sent him tumbling back to Cheren, unable to battle anymore. Tepig stopped to see that he won, feeling tall, tired and triumphant. The face of exasperation Cheren made was indescribably priceless. "What- the hell just happen?" "Snivy has fainted and can no longer continue," declared Aurea. "The victory goes to Bianca and her Tepig." Bianca could hardly believe it at first but soon, a bright happy smile formed on her face as it all started to sink in. "You really did it!" she cheered as she ran onto the battlefield to scoop up Tepig and give him a big cheek-to-cheek hug, feeling his toasty warm body. "I'm sorry I put you through all that but I'm so glad that you pulled through just for me." Tepig smiled as well, feeling great that he was able to make Bianca as happy as she could be. Snivy was still shaken from his sudden defeat as he got up. [Well, color me surprised,] he said, trying to keep his ego in check. "Alright, Snivy," said Cheren, taking out the Poke Ball, "return and rest for now." His words were recognized by the Poke Ball and the red recall beam hit Snivy, converting him into energy that the ball took in. He went over to Bianca and Tepig, not hugging anymore, across the battlefield. "Well, that was quite the gambit you pulled off there. You were pretty clever to give Tepig a few orders ahead of time incase you were really in trouble." "I did?" said Bianca before realizing what she should say. "I mean, of course, I did. It pays to be prepared." Tepig looked up, feeling a bit hurt that his trainer was taking all the credit but could understand why. While not against any rules, trained Pokemon attacking on their own in official battles wasn't really smiled upon. "Anyhow, you were pretty neat yourself, to say the least," Bianca began to say when Hilda caught her off-guard with a surprise hug from behind, making her yelp. "That was so awesome, Bianca!" praised Hilda as she embraced her BFF tightly. "You turned that match around in no time flat." [Great job, Tepig!] yelled Oshawott as he ran up to give Tepig a high hoof on an excellent victory. [That Snivy never knew what hit him,] the Sea Otter Pokemon said gleefully. "You certainly blew me away as well," said Aurea Juniper as she stepped over to the three Trainer. She turned over to the sidelines to where Bright and Vanessa were. "What were your-" she paused upon seeing the two "inspectors" were sleeping on the job, "-thoughts?" The two were snoring soundly when they awoke abruptly, realizing that what they were doing. "Um, great battle, you two," stammered Bright. "Real champion material there. No doubt about it." "We were just resting our eyes after a rough night," Vanessa hastily added. She and Bright stood up and began to head for the doorway. "Now if you excuse us, we have a private call to make. Just a few minutes and we'll be good." They left the room and closed the door behind them. "There's something odd about those two," said Aurea, feeling suspicious but decided to forget about it. "Anyways, the next match will be decided once your Pokemon are healed properly." -------- While Bright stood guard by the door, Vanessa moved down the hallway a tad to contact Bert and Jan on her tablet phone. "Hey, boss," said Vanessa. "The first battle is done. Hilda will be fighting in the next battle so when that Oshawott of her's is weakened in the process, we'll swipe it away from her and join you once you're done." "That's good news," replied Bert. "We're halfway done down here and we'll all rendezvous at the back exit downstairs. Oh, and for the last time, call me Bert. 'Boss' makes you sound like some thug off the streets." Vanessa cleared her throat indignantly at her leader's remark. "Oh," Bert said awkwardly, "right. Sorry about that last part. Anything else to report?" "Well," Vanessa began to say, "I did notice how Hilda seemed to be talking with her Pokemon." "Come again?" asked Bert in confusion. "I noticed it too," added Bright. "Her Oshawott spoke in its own language and Hilda seemed to reply like she understood what it said. You don't think she could be related to... him, do you?" "It could've been your imaginations or her just being cute with her Pokemon," suggested Bert before he was heard muttering to himself. "But then again, I did have my own suspicions back then." "Did you say something, Boss?" asked Vanessa. "Um, nothing you needed to hear," said Bert, trying to cover his tracks. "Get back in the room and wait until the time is right to strike. And stop calling me 'Boss.' Over and out!" Bright and Vanessa stepped back inside the battle room where they found Bianca sitting in Hilda's chair with Tepig resting in his Poke Ball as they themselves sat down. On the battlefield, Hilda and Oshawott were on the left side while Cheren and Snivy were on the right side, each trainer staring straight at each other with a competitive look in their eye. Snivy folded his arms with smug and confidence, feeling rejuvenated after eating an Oran Berry and looking forward to working Oshawott over. After his recent embarrassing loss, he felt that taking the twerp to the cleaner would make up for it with interest. Oshawott, however, was shivering fearfully about just that as he knew how cruel Snivy could be all too well. He tapped Hilda's leg to get her to look down to him. [C-couldn't we battle Bianca and Tepig instead?] asked Oshawott with his usual timidness. Hilda sighed with a solemn look on her face and squatted down to look Oshawott in the eye. "Yes, we could but it's fine time you faced your demons and stand up to this bully of yours. Even if we don't win now, I assure you that Snivy will get a run for his money and you won't be his punching bag anymore. Just remember what I told you and follow my orders. As the saying goes, we won't know unless we try." Oshawott looked right back at Hilda and saw how she meant every word she said. He recalled the pep talk she gave him at the park and the vow he made then. He couldn't go back on his word, especially when they came this far. Just then, his train of thought was rudely interrupted. [Could you stow the motivation speech away for later?] Snivy said condescendingly as he stepped away from Cheren and onto the battlefield. [I'd like to pummel the squirt as soon as possible. And don't think that your Trainer will make a lick of difference, Water Boy.] Hearing that jab at Hilda, Oshawott frowned and turned to look right at Snivy with a stoic face, determined to prove him wrong. [Alright, Hilda,] he said as he stepped away from Hilda and walk onto the battlefield. He pushed all of his fears to the furtherest corners of his mind the best he could. [I'll give a shot and put my faith in you. Of course, I'll do my best too.] He turned to shoot a determined grin at Hilda who returned fire. Hilda looked straight at Cheren. "I hope you don't hold back for our sake, Cheren." "Wouldn't even dream of it, Hilda," Cheren replied. "Now let's stop beating around the bush already." Seeing that everything was set, Aurea made the call. "The battle will now begin with Cheren having the first move!" Not wanting to end the battle so soon, Cheren decided to start out small. "Tackle him, Snivy!" Snivy started to move swiftly towards Oshawott, determined to make a direct hit, when Hilda barked out her order at that moment. "Whip your tail back and forth, Oshawott!" Oshawott sighed in embarrassment and turned around to face his back at the incoming Snivy to wag his tail from side to side. Seeing this made Snivy baffled as he slowed down to a stop to see just what the heck his opponent was doing. Even Cheren had little words to say about the ridiculous gesture, being flabbergasted as well yet finding Oshawott's move familiar. Snivy chuckled a bit. [You know, I was aware of how weak you were but I thought that you'd put up more of a fight here. Or is this your sign of an unconditional surrender?] "Hardly," said Hilda, smirking triumphantly before shouting out her next order. "Water Gun! Quick!" Oshawott quickly swerved around while taking in a deep breath and building up power to blast Snivy with a concentrated column of water. Snivy tried to stand his ground but was pushed back and was getting weaken due to the force. The blast eventually ceased but the grass-type Pokemon had been hit hard by the Water Gun attack. [But that was a Water-type attack] said Snivy, panting in pain and in disbelief. [How did you hit me so hard?] Noticing how Snivy seemed to had been more weakened, Cheren was confused too when it hit him, making his eyes go wide. "Snivy, be careful! They-" "Tackle him, Oshawott!" Hilda interrupted loudly. Oshawott made a mad dash for Snivy and hit his opponent directly. Snivy was sent tumbling back towards Cheren and felt even weaker due to the impact. "Don't pay attention to them, Snivy," ordered Cheren. "Vine Whip!" Snivy drew out his vines to stretch them out to strike down on Oshawott when he instinctively took off his Scalchop to form his Shell Blade and swiftly deflect each strike, hurting Snivy a bit. "Another Tail Whip!" ordered Hilda. Oshawott, still holding his Scalchop, turned around to wag his tail back and forth, annoying Snivy again. [Okay, seriously,] Snivy said, disgruntled. [That's starting to get on my nerves! Stop it!] "As you wish," Hilda replied. "Throw your Razor Shell!" After reforming the Shell Blade's shape from straight to curved, Oshawott turning around to throw the Scalchop right at Snivy as it spun in the air like a boomerang. Snivy was struck by it and with his defense power lowered more, the hit hurt more than it should've. The Scalchop meanwhile returned to Oshawott with the Shell Blade now dissipated and he placed it back on his bellybutton. "One more strike and it's all over," said Hilda. "We're almost there, Oshawott." His poker face faltering, Cheren checked his Pokedex to see that Snivy's battle power had gone down a lot. "Dammit. Now what?" he muttered to himself when he realized that he never saw Snivy's fourth move, having slipped his mind until now. "Let's see." He brought up the list of moves and saw an attack name that gave him an idea to turn things around. Snivy staggered up, mustering up the stamina to carry on. [Cheren, now would be a good time to turn things around and fast. I am NOT losing to that squirt.] "Here goes," Cheren sighed before shouting, "Snivy, move in close to Oshawott!" [This better work,] grunted Snivy as he ran towards his opponent who was just standing there, bracing himself. I didn't hear Cheren say a specified move, Hilda thought. What is he up too? "Leer!" commanded Cheren loudly. Getting in close enough, Snivy looked Oshawott right in the eye and a glint was enough to make Oshawott shudder all over, dropping his defenses. Before Hilda could say anything at all, Cheren cut her off. "Tackle!" Hearing the magic word, Snivy sped up and rammed right into Oshawott, making him slide on the floor back to Hilda painfully. Hilda gulped when she realized that Cheren figured out her previous ploy and how to use it himself. She looked at her Pokedex to see that Oshawott's Battle Power had a big bite taken out of it. Things did not look good but she wasn't about to turn tail and run just yet. Snivy sniffed and smiled egotistically as he watched Oshawott struggle to stand back up, panting all the way. [That should even things out for now. Sorry to burst your bubble, Water Boy, but your luck has officially run dry.] "Leaf Tornado!" ordered Cheren. [Told you so,] sneered Snivy as he leaped up high into the air and began to spin around. A green cyclone of green glowing leaves formed around him as he controlled it to go after Oshawott. Unable to strategize properly, Hilda told the Oshawott the one thing that came to mind. "Beat it! Don't even stop to catch your breath!" All too glad to comply, Oshawott ran to his right to avoid the attack but Snivy pressed on by pursuing his foe with the Leaf Tornado. Oshawott ran about on the battlefield in random directions, hoping to wear him out, but Snivy was determined to finish his opponent off. Cheren made a ****y smirk, seeing how he had Hilda on the ropes. Hilda all the while was trying to figure out a way out of this jam when she noticed something. Whenever Snivy formed the Leaf Tornado, he was in the center or rather "eye of the storm" and Pokemon that got engulfed into it would pass him by while being hit by the leaves. And Oshawott's Torrent would kick in when low on battle power... It's risky but it just might work, she pondered. Looking back on the battlefield, she saw Oshawott slowing down and the cyclone catching up to his horror. Not that I have much of a choice. It's do or die now. The grass cyclone engulfed Oshawott who was lifted up and spun about in it. Despite being battered by the leaves, he was able to hear what Hilda had to say. "Razor Shell!" And like that, Oshawott knew what she had in mind and took off his Scalchop, held it with both paws and formed the Shell Blade as he got closer to Snivy. With all his might and endurance, Oshawott delivered a sharp slash to Snivy that caused him to lose control of the cyclone and make it dissipate instantaneously. Both Pokemon dropped to the ground hard and could not carry on the fight, pushed to their very limits. Falling out of his grip, Oshawott's Scalchop dropped and skidded across the battlefield which caught Cheren's eye. "Both Pokemon can no longer battle!" announced Aurea. "It's a tie!" Overjoyed, Bianca happily leaped from her chair and ran over to Hilda who was sighing in relief before she saw her best friend come towards her. "Way to go, Hilda!" cheered Bianca, waving her hand in the air. She exchanged a high five with Hilda upon reaching her. "You really had me worried there but you still pulled through." "Thanks, Bianca," said Hilda as she turned to look at Oshawott laying on his front in exhaustion and smile proudly. "But I don't deserve all the credit here." Oshawott struggled to stand back up but fell flat on his back in the process, panting to catch his breath. As he looked up at the ceiling, he heard Hilda's footsteps coming towards him and could help but feel a little nervous. He saw Hilda stopping as she tilted her head down to look at her Pokemon. As she squatted down, Oshawott was relieved to see her beam a warm smile down on him. "We did it, Oshawott," said Hilda joyfully. "We may not have really won but we showed Snivy what we were made of and even defeated him. It's like I said: we won't know unless we try. We tried and now we know." Hearing all this managed to make Oshawott smile out of genuinely happiness and give him the strength to stand back up and look back at his Trainer with admiration. His doubt about Hilda and himself no longer plagued and he now felt better than even before. His future was uncertain but he wasn't afraid to figure out what he could do. And with Hilda's guidance, it was looking very bright indeed. [Well, how about that?] said Snivy, his body bruised along with his ego as he laid on the floor. [He actually managed to do it.] "Sorry for the second loss, Snivy," said Cheren as he came up to his starter and recalled him into the Poke Ball. He made a grim expression on his face. "Two losses in a row. This doesn't feel right..." "A very nice display of skill, you three," Aurea announced. "I wish you all luck on your journey." Bright and Vanessa stood up to walk over and clapped their hands so they could get everyone's attention, cliched as it was. "I agree, Professor," said Vanessa. "You three have great potential as Trainers. Especially you, Hilda. Your last minute save was very ingenious." "Unfortunately, we'll have to relieve you of your Oshawott," said Bright as he reached into his right pocket. "Nothing personal, it's just for your own good." Everyone was baffled by what Bright had just said and he took full advantage of it. He took out the Capsule from his Pocket and pushed the button so it'd become a Net Launcher. He pressed the buttons on the handles he held as a net burst out and ensnared Oshawott to everyone's further shock. Neither Hilda, Cheren, Bianca, Aurea or even Oshawott could properly process what just happened. [Hey, let me outta here,] wailed Oshawott as he struggled in the net. Not only was it made out of strong materials but he was also very weak and exhausted at the moment. "Well, that about wraps everything up," said Vanessa as she took a black ball out of her pocket. "Ta-ta for now!" She threw the ball as it exploded, making everyone jump from the shock and spreading smoke everywhere to cover their escape. "Let's beat it," she told Bright as they headed for the door with Oshawott in the net. [Hilda! Help me!] Hilda heard her friend's cries through the smoke and the automatic door opening and closing. In a burst of adrenaline, she made a dash for the doorway, recalling where it was despite the smoke, and sprinted into the hallway, determined to save Oshawott at all costs. Cheren, Bianca and Aurea followed behind as well, hoping to see to it that Oshawott is safe. "Stop!" shouted Hilda, looking positively livid and baring her teeth. "You let my friend go NOW!" "They're gaining on us," said Bright, looking behind. "Better suit up fast or things could get messy." Vanessa nodded in agreement as they both rolled their sleeves back slightly to reveal a watch. They each pressed button on its sides and a bizarre knight-esque outfit materialized on themselves over their clothes. This came as yet another surprise to their pursuers but they weren't letting up. Hilda especially. "Bianca, Tepig, NOW!" Hilda commanded in the most rage filled tone of voice she even used. Though intimidated, Bianca saw it fit to comply given how mad Hilda clearly was and took out Tepig's Poke Ball. "Tepig, Flame Charge!" She unlocked the Poke Ball to let Tepig out as began his attack. However, Vanessa stopped and turned as she took out her own Poke Ball. "Go on ahead and bust down the stairway door," she told Bright as he went on ahead of her while she held out her Poke Ball. "Roggenrola, stop them with Harden!" Roggenrola burst out of his Poke Ball and, as per Vanessa's orders, make his short, rocky body even harder to block Tepig as he struck him and stopped in his tracks, the impact barely affecting Roggenrola. Tepig pressed onwards against Roggenrola but the Mantle Pokemon stood his ground, not budging a inch. "Rock Blast!" ordered Vanessa. Bianca gasped hearing those words. "Tepig, pull out!" she frantically shouted. It was too late. Roggenrola's "head" glowed and produced silvery shockwaves from it that were as solid as actual rocks. At a close-range and a type disadvantage, Tepig was blown back towards Bianca on impact and defeated in a One Hit Knock Out. Bianca grimly recalled Tepig, sad how he was hurt so much in so little time. Nobody else moved given how defenseless they were. Cheren's Snivy was exhausted and Aurea had no Pokemon on her at the moment. "Sorry about that," apologized Vanessa. "I swear you'll thank us later." Just then, she and everyone else heard the sound of a door being busted down and turned to see that Bright has his Timburr do just that. "What are waiting for?" Bright called out to his partner as he recalled Timburr. "Let's get back to the campsite and fast!" Vanessa recalled Roggenrola back into his Poke Ball and rushed towards the staircase with Bright. Oshawott cried out for help again, prompting Hilda to continue chasing after them with Bianca, Cheren and Aurea following her too. They ran as fast as they could down the stairs and turned to their left where they saw the two faux-inspectors rendezvous with Bert and Jan who were in similar knight-esque getups. "Hey, stop!" shouted Hilda furiously. The four knights dashed into a hallway that lead to the backdoor at the very end and together, they rammed it off its hinges and ran out towards the woods straight ahead. Hilda, Bianca, Cheren and Aurea continued their pursuit and were gaining on them but that wasn't about to last. "We're heading back to the campsite! Everyone, ready your Jetpack Capsules," ordered Bert as he took out a capsule along with everyone else. "NOW!" They all pushed the button on the Capsule and held it to their shoulders so it'd form into a fully-fueled Jetpack that was strapped to them already. Each knight pressed a button on their left strap to activate the engines and jumped up to take flight over the trees. Hilda and the others stopped in amazement as they watched them flew away. Oshawott was shocked by this and thrashed about in the net, crying out for help. [HILDA!] That was the last thing Hilda heard before the four knight blasted off until they were out of sight. Grief-stricken, she sank to her knees and felt on her hands as the cold harsh reality of it all crashed down on her. Oshawott was taken from her. Tears welled up in her eyes despite how hard she tried to hold them back and her heavy breathing turned into crying. Ultimately, she let out a scream of frustration, cursing how she let this happen before finally sobbing. Cheren, Bianca and Aurea were hesitant to approach Hilda given how they weren't sure what they could say to console her. Aurea finally broke the silence after about half a minute. "I'll go find my father and try to raise the police. You three come with me." Cheren and Bianca turned around to walk back towards the lab with Aurea when they looked back and were surprised to see Hilda walking towards the woods. "Hilda," Cheren said in a meek but shocked voice. This got the attention of Hilda who turned to shoot him a tear-streaked face. "Y-you're not actually thinking of-" Hilda's sad face changed into a frown as she turned back towards the woods. "Do yourselves a favor and save your breath," she said harshly. "I'm saving Oshawott and that's that." With that said, she sprinted right into the woods in the direction she believed the knight flew off too. "Hilda, wait!" cried Bianca. "You idiot!" cursed Cheren, more mad than sad. "You'll be killed!" "You two go get Hilda while my dad and I get the police!" ordered Aurea. "Hurry! There's not a moment to lose!" The two Trainers nodded in agreement and ran after their friend while the Professor turned around to rush back to the laboratory. How the hell did things turn out this way? What is this all about? -------- Author's note: All done. Although I feel this got a tad rush towards the end, I hope you manage to like this for what it's worth and tell me what you think. Again, I'm still learning the ropes so any advice you can offer would be much appreciated. Add. Notes: I refer to Professor Juniper and her father as Aurea and Cedric because I want to avoid as much confusion as possible when addressing them. Also, Aurea taught Hilda, Cheren and Bianca in their Trainer course at school. So no Pokemon Trainer School. Here we're introduced to four members of Team Plasma's Seventh Squadron. We learn hints of Bert, Bright and Vanessa's past already. Jan, Simon and Sammy are to follow soon. Cedric makes an early appearance because... well, I like him a lot. I like his upbeat fatherly type of character.