Yes, it has been a while. Almost 6 years since the last chapter! I highly recommend you go back to the start and read from there. While I have edited the chapters since then, they only contain a few spelling and grammar fixes, and a handful of passages have been changed to flow better, but nothing major has changed.
Also if you haven't, take a read of Pokemon Gray. The recent chapters are part of the reason why this one has been finished now. And Gray will soon be going to Johto!
Now the next step is to start writing Chapter 10, and kick myself into gear and do some work on the server...
I stood up, a little dazed. The force of the door slamming into me knocked me to the ground. I pushed open the door to my room and saw a figure clad in black clothes running down the hallway of the Pokémon Centre's trainer dormitory towards the stairs that lead to the centre lobby. I watched them disappear around the corner at the end of the hallway as I rubbed my nose to numb the pain. Whoever that trainer was, they sure were in a rush. "Early Pidgey gets the Weedle I suppose," I muttered to myself as I stepped back into my room to gather up my belongings. Amber was curled up on a rug in the corner of the room. He had been quite reluctant to sleep inside his Poké Ball unlike the rest of my party, who seemed eager to get back inside their Poké Balls after I let them out here. I thought perhaps my other Pokémon, who were all originally wild, found this enclosed room a bit intimidating, after having spent their whole lives outside. Now that I think about it, I have no idea where Amber came from, or the Pokémon in the other two Poké Balls I could choose from, back at Professor Oak's lab. My Pokédex gave me no locational data on where a Charmander could be found in the wild, and it was the same for the Bulbasaur and Squirtle I had encountered during my battles. These thoughts took over my mind as I grabbed my bag and double checked everything was still there. I roused Amber from his sleep, and we walked down the hallway, up the stairs, across the lobby, and out the front doors of the Cerulean City Pokémon Centre.
The morning sunlight greeted my eyes and a cool breeze blew through the empty street I was now standing in. There was no one in sight. I decided to take a walk around the city for a bit before walking down Route 5 to Saffron City. Once again I visited the bike shop, but had to leave before the price tags made me dizzy. I passed by an overgrown tree that looked like it had never been cut back before. It had grown through the fence at the edge of the city, and a large root system spread out under it. As I rounded a corner, I saw a poster on the side of a house. It was identical to the one I took down in Pewter City. It was bad news if my wanted poster had already caught up with me. I should probably get a move on to the next city. I pulled the poster down and walked around looking for the exit to Route 5, but all I saw at the south end of the city was tall, dense shrubs, a high fence, and an overgrown tree. When I looked up at the tops of the tree, I could see a silver metal object tangled in the uppermost branches. I peered upward and saw it was actually a fence gate. I looked back down where the base of the tree met the fence and sure enough, there were remnants of what looked like hinges, albeit bent and twisted, on the edge of the fence next to the tree bark. It would be impossible for me to climb the fence, or otherwise get around the tree, so I would have to find another way. I left the tree, cursing the Cerulean City Council and their inability maintain a gate and prevent a tree from growing in its place, and continued my search for a city exit.
The ground shook as the explosion rung out across the city. I could see smoke rising from behind the Pokémon Gym. Lots of residents were poking their heads out their doors and windows to see what the noise was. With this many people suddenly emerging, one of them was bound to recognise me from the poster. I ran off through the streets, towards where I saw the smoke rising from. An explosion might mean something happened to the city fence over there, and with some luck I could sneak through.
I arrived at the building producing the smoke; a small blue house. The front door had been blown clean off its hinges and was laying on the ground on the other side of the street. As I got closer, a man came running out screaming. As soon as he saw me, he ran over. "H-h-help! C-call for h-h-help!" he cried out. There were small shards of glass in his face and on his arms, drawing small trickles of blood. It was an unpleasant sight and I winced thinking about the pain. The main dropped his gaze from me when he saw Amber, who had just caught up with me. "P-pokémon trainer..." He looked up at me and then started dragging me towards his house. I reluctantly went with him, being careful not to let his blood run onto my arm. We went inside the house and the main room was a complete mess. Glass shards and wood splinters littered the floor, the furniture was all broken, and there was a giant hole in the back wall leading outside. Standing in the space of the hole was a person wearing all black, with a large red letter R stamped onto their shirt and hat. He had two Pokémon standing by his side; a short greyish humanoid and a weird brown and yellow creature with a short trunk for a nose. The short grey Pokémon was standing over a small hole in the ground, repeatedly stamping on the sides.
The man next who was still holding on to my arm turned to me and shrieked, "T-team Rocket!" The person in black finally spoke up, "I am a Junior Grunt from Team Rocket, and I have come here in search of rare and valuable Pokémon!" Ah, Team Rocket again, I thought. "I couldn't find any rare Pokémon here, but I did find this valuable TM!" The Rocket Grunt held up a large golden disc in his hands. "Handing this in to the boss is sure to get me promoted!" He smirked with enthusiasm, and then looked at the man I was with. "You won't be teaching your lousy Pokémon this attack anymore!" The moment he said that, a small brown shape shot out of the little hole in the ground, only to get stamped on by the grey humanoid Pokémon. It let out a squeal before sinking back into the hole. "DIGLETT!!!" the main squealed out. "I'll be taking my leave now," the grunt said enthusiastically as he began to turn around. "C'mon Machop, Drowzee. We'll become the best Team Rocket has to offer." "Not so fast," I said, shaking the man off my arm and stepping forward. "While you can't undo this mess, but you shouldn't have created it in the first place. Let's do this, Amber." Amber took a step forward, small wisps of smoke coming from the corners of his mouth. A low growl escaped him, right as the Rocket Grunt ordered his Machop to attack with a Chop. Amber was able to take the blow, minimising the damage by guarding with his arms, before flowing in to a close range Flamethrower. The Machop's midsection was engulfed in flames, and after a few moments, the smell of burning flesh was in the air. The Machop staggered backwards, clutching its stomach. They grey skin was now charred black in places, and resembled melting plastic. If it weren't such a hardy Pokémon, I'm sure the damage would be worse. Seeing the damage done, the Rocket Grunt commanded his Drowzee to hypnotise his Machop. "Team Rocket does not experience pain!" he shouted out. Amber let forth another Flamethrower, this time at Machop's head. When the flame subsided, the flesh could be seen melting off the skull of Machop, but it just shrugged off the attack like it was nothing. The Drowzee's hypnosis was troublesome. "Amber, we'll have to take out the Drowzee!" Upon hearing that, Amber rushed past Machop, pushing it out of the way, and slammed headfirst into Drowzee. The impact knocked them both backwards and into the Rocket Grunt, who toppled over. The golden disc he was holding flew out of his hands and rolled across the floor. Amber scratched at the Drowzee's face, opening a large gash in its trunk. A moment later, the Machop let out an earsplitting scream, as it started scratching at the flesh peeling off its face and body. The Rocket Grunt looked in terror before grabbing two Poké Balls from his belt and throwing them at his two Pokémon. They disappeared into the Poké Balls in a flash of red light, and the Rocket Grunt scrambled to his feet before running off, without saying a word.
"T-thank you," sobbed the man behind me. He walked past me and picked up the disc off the floor, and then turned back to me. All of a sudden, he regained his composure. "I know it's not much, but I want you to have this. I was going to teach it to my Diglett, but that won't be able to happen for a while now. Not until he is taken to the Pokémon Centre." He held out the disc to me. I just stared at it, until he thrust it into my hands. "Uh, thanks. But what exactly is it, and how do I use it?" I asked the man, as I rotated the disc in my hands. It resembled an old vinyl record, but this one was badly scratched and looked unusable. "This is a Technical Machine, for the move Dig. I want you to have it, for saving me, and my Diglett. Just give it to your Pokémon and they will learn the move if they are compatible with it. Just remember this one thing: it can only be used once. I have heard that scientists have been trying to find a way to reuse them, but they haven't had any luck so far." I nodded at this odd information. I couldn't see how giving this to a Pokémon could let them learn a new move, but nevertheless, I stowed the bulky record into my bag. "And what is your name? I want to remember the person who saved me." "Um, it's Lavender," I replied, rather unenthusiastically. "Ahh, so that's the name of the girl on the posters." Upon hearing this, I froze. He knows who I am! Should I run now? Maybe when the police arrive, they won't believe him. I decided to tell him he was mistaken. "Ah, no. You must be mistaken. That person is someone else..." "Oh ho, you do have a sense of humour! There's no way you could be mistaken for someone else. Your hair has a very distinct colour!" A million thoughts started racing through my mind what to do with this man. Before I had a chance to act on any of them he spoke again: "Don't worry though. I won't report you to the authority. You saved my life, and my Diglett. And I don't need any reward. I'll cash in on my home owner's insurance!" I figured the blood loss was finally catching up to him making him delirious. I was about to leave his house when he spoke again: "I'm sure the police will be here very soon, and it would be bad if you're still here. The back of my house borders the city edge, so if you leave through this hole here, you can escape covertly." With that, he began ushering me to the back of the house and push me out the hole. I looked back when I heard the sound of hurried footsteps just in time to see a Growlithe as I disappeared around the side of the house.
I ran for a bit to make sure I had enough distance between myself and the city. I stopped to take a break next to a giant overgrown tree, not dissimilar to the one that blocked the gate in Cerulean City. Maybe, just maybe, this area was a hotspot for untamed trees to grow.
After I had caught my breath, and Amber had too, we both set off south towards Saffron City.
I stuck my head around the edge of the doorway. The guard was sitting behind a desk, staring straight ahead. On the wall directly in the guard's line of sight was a notice board. I recognised the poster warning about Team Rocket, and also the poster with my picture on it. There were some other notices pinned to it, but I couldn't make out what they could be from the distance I was at. I decided to watch the guard for a bit to make sure I would be able to sneak past him. For the few minutes I was watching him, he didn't move an inch, not did I see him blink. I was about to walk past him into Saffron City, but then I saw a Growlithe walk out from behind the desk. It was sniffing about the air and the ground, and slowly making its way towards my location. Then it started bounding towards where I was, seemingly excited by a new scent. It was at this moment I decided I would have to find another way into the city, so I turned around and ran back towards Route 5 and hid behind a building, observing the Growlithe from my new hiding spot. It reached the spot where I was just a few minutes earlier, sniffing around the location. Fortunately a small breeze began blowing, and after a few more minutes of sniffing around the location, the Growlithe turned around and went back into the building. I heaved a sigh of relief, and looked at Amber next to me, who appeared equally relieved. We crept out from behind the building and I read the sign next to the door. "Underground Path to Vermilion City." I recalled from my map that Vermilion City was south of Saffron City, so I might be able to find a way in from the other side. I walked through the open doorway, stepping inside.
There was a lonely lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, below which was a spiral staircase descending into the depths of Kanto. I approached the staircase, with Amber by my side. His tail flame could not piece the darkness below. Together we descended the staircase, and after a few minutes, we reached the bottom. A long hallway stretched out before us, with fancy lights along the walls, and fancy patterns tiled on the floor. The other end of the hallway was shrouded in darkness, a sign that this would be a long walk. "C'mon Amber," I said, and we began the trek down the hallway.
"Hello?" I called out to the man sitting on the ground, his back resting against the wall. He was the first person I had seen down here in the hour or so of walking. There was no response from the man, and I didn't want to get too close to him in case he recognised me. I turned and continued my path down the hallway when I heard a small voice behind me. "...verending..." I turned and saw the man looking up at me. "This path. Never ending," the words escaped him again. "Every step forward, is two steps backward. Some force, distorting perception, space and time. I'm sure. Very sure." "Hi?" I called out again. He continued talking, his speech a bit more normal this time. "I don't know how long I've been down here, how far I've come, or how far is left. I don't even remember where I came from. I just know I can't reach the end." He finished his rambling and turned his gaze to the floor. It was true that I had spent quite a long time down here, and I wasn't sure how far I had travelled, but seeing someone here made me feel like I had made progress through the tunnel. "..." This time I wasn't sure how to respond. Still looking down, the man spoke, "The end is coming, but this is only the beginning. Something big is going to happen." As he finished speaking, his body slumped to the ground. I backed away slowly, and when I felt like I was a good distance from him, I turned around and continued my path. The instant I turned around, I heard a small click echo down the path. I looked all around but there was no indication of anything that could've made the sound. Strangely enough, where the man had been lying moments earlier, that space was now empty. I picked up my pace down the path, trying not to contemplate that odd encounter. With Amber by my side, I continued my way.
"STAIRS!!!" I squealed in delight and started sprinting towards the staircase that had just become visible. Amber was right behind me, muffled sounds of delight escaping him. I'm sure if he could, he would be crying tears of joy.
We ascended the staircase posthaste, and after bursting out of the doorway, the late evening sunlight blinded my vision. After a few minutes, my eyes adjusted, and I took in the view before me. A winding path lay before me, the gravel turning to cement where the route met the city. Further in the distance I could see a giant ship with two large funnels, both jetting small plumes of black smoke into the sky. Even from this distance, I could see "S.S. Anne" printed on the hull of the ship. I bounded down the gravelly path towards the city. There were a few trainers in the grass, but they did not appear to notice me, being absorbed in their own battles with wild Pokémon. Reaching the end of the path, I set foot into Vermilion City, and hastily made my way to the Pokémon Centre. I decided tomorrow I would board the S.S. Anne and enjoy a relaxing cruise.
There was silence as Gray slowly paced into the final chamber. This was the challenge he had been preparing for his whole life. As he made his way into the room, he covered his eyes from the bright lights that lit up the massive stadium. Ahead of him stood a single individual.
"So, you're the new competitor," the individual spoke, "Heh, I was hoping to rest on my victory a little longer before having to face a challenger to my throne. No matter, there's no breaks for champions I suppose."
"Who are you?" Gray questioned.
"My name is BjZrGooD. But all you need to know me as is the new Kanto Champion after my lacking predecessor has now been removed."
Gray grinned, "I'm afraid you'll be meeting the same fate soon enough!"
Bj frowned. As Yob and Tene took their seats in the viewing stands, Tymac called a start to the match. Both opponents sent out their first Pokemon.
Gray's Butterfree, the first Pokemon he caught and his first choice, faced off against a confident looking Pidgeot. Tene noted that the initial line-up did not look favourable for Gray, "The initial line-up does not look favourable for Gray."
Butterfree soared up high and tried to cover its opponent in Sleep Powder, however, Pidgeot matched Butterfree's movement and sped up to meet them, cutting past Butterfree with an Aerial Ace that caused the Butterfly Pokemon to yelp and fall out of the sky. It came crashing down onto the arena floor. However, as Pidgeot descended for another strike, Butterfree recovered and pelted Pidgeot with a desperate Silver Wind. This caused the bird to halt its advance, but it flew back up high and launched a Whirlwind that sent Butterfree flying into an uncontrolled frenzy. From this vulnerable position, Pidgeot was able to cut through once more and finish off Butterfree.
Gray was concerned at how quickly his first Pokemon was defeated by this new Champion. This man had ruthlessly defeated Ta, the only person Gray might have admitted to being better than himself. He reoriented his thoughts and sent out his next Pokemon; Rapidash. The flaming horse Pokemon sent a Fire Blast at Pidgeot but it dodged the attack and swooped in for an Aerial Ace. However, Rapidash was ready and cloaked itself in fiery embers. As Pidgeot connected, it was singed from the flames and crashed onto the ground. Rapidash turned around and launched another Fire Blast into the recovering Pokemon, causing it to faint in an explosion of fire.
Gray jumped for joy and congratulated him Pokemon. Bj had a look of irritation on his face as he sent out his next Pokemon; Alakazam. Rapidash sent a Flamethrower at it but Alakazam used its psychic powers to redirect the flames away. Gray was frustrated and ordered Rapidash to charge in with a Mega Horn. However, Alakazam was ready and caught Rapidash mid-way with a Psychic, halting its charge and causing it to float in the air above. Before Alakazam could follow-up, however, Rapidash sent a Flamethrower right at it, connecting with the Pokemon. It recovered and the two Pokemon sent attacks back-and-forth between each other before eventually Rapidash was overpowered. Regardless, Alakazam was exhausted. Yet in its strain, it became confused as Gray sent out his Hitmonchan.
"Uh, Tene," Yob spoke, "I don't claim to be a better battler than Gray but surely this isn't a wise decision."
"I have confidence."
Alakazam recovered and moved to launch another Psychic attack but before it could move it was hit with a flurry of punches and was out cold. Hitmonchan had used Bullet Punch and connected before Alakazam could even react.
"I knew my Rapidash had done a number on your Pokemon. It only needed a slither of health gone. Though perhaps a little embarrassing still for your Psychic type to fall to my Fighting type."
"You want to play that game?" Bj was irritated, "You think I can't do the same when you're at full health?"
Bj sent out his Rhydon in response. It had a type disadvantage to Hitmonchan but that didn't stop it from decimating its opponent with an Earthquake. Hitmonchan wasn't even able to land a hit before it was KOd by a repeated onslaught of Earthquakes from the infuriated Champion's Pokemon. Gray sent out his Dugtrio in response, who immediately sent an Earthquake back, toppling the powerful opponent. Gray knew not to keep Dugtrio underground too long in case of an Earthquake but his Pokemon needed to dodge the repeated Take Downs that were coming its way. Eventually, it was able to outsmart the Rhino Pokemon, appearing behind it and launching a Sand Attack into its eyes as it turned. Before it could respond, it was hit with a Sucker Punch to the face. As Rhydon toppled back in confusion, it was struck with a final Earthquake from Dugtrio and finished off.
Bj was furious at this point and sent out his Gyarados to respond. It made short work of Dugtrio with a Hydro Pump. Gray only had two Pokemon left but persevered, sending out Tauros in response. The bull Pokemon endured through a flurry of Dragon Rages before slamming into the giant serpent with a Horn Attack. As it toppled, Tauros picked up a part of its body, using all its strength, and threw it across the stadium. Gyarados recovered and sent another Dragon Rage into Tauros but it stood defiant and finished off the sea serpent with a final Stomp. Gray's triumph didn't last long, however, as Tauros was immediately defeated by a Flamethrower from Bj's Arcanine. Gray looked to his belt and withdrew his final Pokemon; Blastoise. His partner had been with him from the beginning and was still with him at the end. With confidence in his heart, Gray sent out his final Pokemon. Blastoise stood proud and after shrugging off a Flamethrower, it launched a Hydro Pump into Arcanine, sending it back into the wall. It recovered and traded blows with Blastoise but was ultimately defeated.
"You have a powerful team, but it will soon mean nothing. I am champion of Kanto and I decree your challenge is done!" Bj called before sending out his final Pokemon; a Dragonite. It roared with furry, sending shivers down the backs of everyone in the stadium. This Dragonite was larger and more intimidating than Mario's and spent no time hesitating before launching a Hyper Beam right at Blastoise. It didn't have time to dodge and hid in its shell instead, taking the blast full on. As the dust cleared, it managed to recover to its feet.
"Let's show them our true power buddy!" Gray yelled, before holding the Mega Stone on his bracelet. A bright light filled the stadium as Gray's and Blastoise's souls connected once more. Gray's partner let out a triumphant roar as it transformed into Mega Blastoise.
Bj had a look of frustration. Blastoise immediately sent a Hydro Canon right into Dragonite, launching it back with the powerful attack. It recovered and slammed into Blastoise with an Outrage. At Bj's command, it continued to assault Blastoise with repeated Outrages, hammering the Pokemon. However, Blastoise persevered and sent Dragonite flying back with a Hydro Pump. Blastoise was exhausted at the repeated onslaught but it held on. Gray remembered the gift from Ta, finally understanding its purpose. He ordered Blastoise to use Ice Beam. The super-effective attack hurt Dragonite severely, relenting at the frigid cold. However, Bj was not done. He ordered Dragonite to use Dragon Dance, raising its attack and speed before commanding it to fly up high and send a powerful Hyper Beam down. Blastoise was already injured and in its larger form, struggled to dodge the attack. It was hit dead-on, causing it to collapse onto the ground; its eyes closed.
"Ha!" Bj called, "You thought you could take my title from me. ME! The Kanto Cham..."
He was cut off as, despite all the odds, Blastoise's eyes opened and it laboured back to its feet.
"Good job pal," Gray spoke to his partner, "Whether we win or lose, let's do it together."
Yob and Tene cheered from the stands as Blastoise launched a triumphant Hydro Canon at Dragonite. It dodged but the shockwave from the explosion launched it back down into the ground. It tried to recover but was hit with a Dark Pulse before another Ice Beam. The attack was too much to bear and Dragonite collapsed once more, finally defeated.
Gray was speechless. He had done it... No, he and his Pokemon had done it, he thought. Regardless, he realised, he was now the new Champion of the Kanto Region.
Bj struggled to contain his fury, but he managed, looking up and giving Gray a single congratulations, before returning his Pokemon and walking out the door behind his opponent. Gray was too shocked to respond but soon enough the full realisation came to him. He let out a cheer before jumping around the arena with triumph.
"Wooo! I'm the best aroouuunndd! And nothing ever gonna keepp me doowwnn!"
Yob and Tene were happy to indulge Gray this time and came down to congratulate him. They all did a group hug together as Tymac spoke, "Congratulations Champion. I'm sure Ta would be proud."
"That I am."
Everyone turned to see Ta limping in, with the support of League staff. By his side were Professor 1cec0ld and Gray's mother, Miosio.
"You think I'd miss the big occasion?" Mio spoke, "I mean I did try but was told my presence was probably expected ...and 'mother of the Champion' does sound nice. Regardless, I'm very proud of you."
"As am I," added 1ce, "You really are 1 in 8192; a Pokemon Master. Well done, son."
"Oh yes, I am your step-father now. That happened," he spoke as Mio clung onto his arm.
Gray was a little mortified but didn't let that get him down, as Tymac showed him the way to the Hall of Fame, where he healed his Pokemon and registered them into the system. His team were immortalised into the records. Gray could hold the title for years or minutes, they would be preserved. And that really would be put to the test as another individual calmly strode into the Champion arena, just as Gray was adoring in all the attention and introducing himself as the 'Champion of Kanto' to everyone's annoyance.
"Afternoon friends," Tactic called from the arena entrance, "I must say well done Gray for your achievement but I'm afraid I'm here to challenge you for Champion."
"Tactic?" Tene questioned, "How are you challenging the league? Viridian Gym was closed down after we left."
"A new leader has taken over. He goes by the name Stuffjunk, since well, that's his name, I guess."
"Tactic, Tactic, Tactic," Gray mused, "I'm afraid if you wish to face me and the awesomeness of my team, you will stand little chance."
"Well, we'll have to see about that won't we," Tactic smirked with confidence.
Tymac took his place at the side of the arena once more and initiated the battle. Tactic sent out his Pikachu to face Gray's Butterfree. It was unevolved but carried a Light Ball for added attack, which it put to use shocking Butterfree out of the sky, unconscious. Gray was able to take it down with his Dugtrio but it too was defeated, falling to Tactic's Lapras. Gray's confidence kept him going as his Hitmonchan defeated Lapras with a powerful Close Combat. However, it began to wane as Hitmonchan was then squashed under the weight of Tactic's Snorlax. The Pokemon was giant and it took repeated Horn Attacks from Gray's Tauros to take it down. Next Tactic sent out a Venasaur that launched a flurry of Razor Leaves into Tauros. As it was standing through the pelting onslaught, it was grabbed by Venasaur's Vine Whip and thrown across the stadium, crashing into the ground, unconscious. Gray responded with his Rapidash, which was able to take the Venasaur down with a Fire Blast, however, Tactic then sent out his very own Blastoise.
"Hey, no copycats!" Gray called.
The Blastoise quickly swept Rapidash away with a Hydro Pump. Gray was still filled with confidence and sent out his own Blastoise, before mega evolving it. The two turtle Pokemon fought each other until Gray's came out on top.
"Ha! You thought you could mimic me! I mean, I get the impulse but still, you gotta do your own thing Tactic. I'm afraid my mega evolution is gonna be a bit too much for your ace."
"Oh, we'll see about that."
Tactic sent out his partner Charizard, which had a unique band around its neck, with a stone in the middle.
"After the battle at Cerulean, I travelled back to Lavender Town with Zombie to help him recover. He gave me something special."
With that, the stone on Charizard shone in unison with the stone on Tactic's own bracelet. Charizard mega evolved itself into Mega Charizard X. Gray was shocked but let his frustration side as he ordered Blastoise to use Hydro Canon. The attack missed and Charizard smashed into Blastoise with a powerful Dragon Claw. Blastoise launched it back with Hydro Pump but Charizard continued its onslaught on Dragon Claws before sending a final Dragon Pulse that was enough to knock Blastoise out.
Gray fell to his knees. His reign as Champion was over ...already. He was about to cry before he was met with an out-stretched hand from above. Tactic helped him to his feet and thanked him for a good battle before continuing on with Tymac to the Hall of Fame.
"You did great Gray," Tene spoke.
"Yeah, fantabulous to the end," Yob added.
There was silence. The Trio sat together in the middle of the stadium as the rest of the crowd joined Tactic in the Hall of Fame. Tene mused that she didn't feel the need to go back to Viridian and face the new leader. She had gotten more pleasure out of training Gray for this challenge and didn't want to hold onto the auspicious and over-glamoured title. Yob too declared he was done with battling for the time being and wanted to direct his efforts to raising Pokemon.
"I'm happy for you guys," Gray spoke, "Yob, I'm sure you'll do great. I know no one else more obsessed with breeding. And Tene, I'm happy you've realised your true cause as observing my success."
Tene gave him an irritated frown before he continued, "But... I'm not done. I dedicated my life to this dream and now it's over. But I don't want it to be. This journey with you guys has been the highlight of my life and I want it to continue."
Tene thought for a moment before responding, "Well, there's always the Johto Region. It lies just to our west. Maybe we could check it out."
"A splendiferous suggestion Tene!" Yob exclaimed.
"Yeah, that... that sounds nice," Gray mused.
After giving final congratulations to Tactic, the Trio made ready their new adventure. They travelled back to Pallet Town with the entourage and a crowd met them as they arrived in town, congratulating Tactic and Gray for their achievement as both Champions. Ta chose to stay and recover in Mio and 1ce's house, taking Gray's old room. 1ce met with the Trio and Tactic in his lab to examine the Pokedex's he had sent them out with.
"You only caught six Pokemon, Gray?"
"Tene only caught five! You can't tell me what to do, you're not my real dad!"
Tene and 1ce sighed.
The Trio packed their bags with all the essentials for their journey ahead; Oddish Oinment, GoPros and the new MangoMunch PokeX Energy Bar flavour. With that, they began their journey west into a new and exciting adventure. As they skipped onwards, at a distance overhead flew a Meowth Balloon on the same course.
"I'm excited to battle a new Pokemon League," Gray smirked, "But as the 'Former Champion of Kanto' I'm afraid it'll be a pushover for me."
"You were Champion for like five minutes," Tene remarked.
"Whoa, and how long were you Champion for, Tene?"
Yob added, "I think we should seek peace..."
The sun rose as our heroes embarked onwards, arguing all the way. What new and exciting adventures should await them; we'll have to see...
Thank you to everyone who read and supported my story over the years. It's been a long journey but we finally made it. A Johto arc coming soon!
As Gray walked into the next room, he felt an eerie cold. Not like the frosty halls of Envs' arena or the cold, hard sternness of Jotr's dojo. It was a vacant cold, as if all life was absent from the room. He hadn't felt this way since exploring the Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town, with its' ghost-type Pokemon. Yet in the darkness, ahead of him stood a person he recognised, draped in indigo and surrounded by radiant purple light.
"Welcome to your next challenge," he spoke.
"Hey, I know you. You're a member of the Resistance; Tnguyen," Gray identified, "Did you not see your leader just now dethroned and cast out?"
"I serve a new Champion now."
No further discussion occurred as Tn summoned his first Pokemon; Gengar. Gray led immediately with his Blastoise, who let off a super-effective Dark Pulse. However, Gengar dodged by descending into the floor below. Its shade hovered around at a rapid pace before resurfacing and hitting Blastoise with a Shadow Punch. Blastoise responded by launching it back with a Hydro Pump and then a Dark Pulse that landed while the Gengar was recovering. This was enough to knock it out, giving Gray early confidence. This was furthered when Blastoise was able to defeat Tn's Golbat, using Hydro Canon to knock it out of the air then finish it off with the newly acquired Ice Beam. However, Blastoise couldn't endure much longer and was knocked out by the opponent's Haunter, which used Hypnosis and Dream Eater to suck out Blastoise's energy. Dugtrio met the same fate. Gray decided to respond in kind, sending out his Butterfree, which used Sleep Powder before pelting Haunter to defeat with Silver Wind. Gray tried this again on the opposing Arbok, but the attack missed and Arbok was able to knock Butterfree out of the sky with Sludge Bomb before KOing it with a Bite.
Gray was scared. Not just from the spooky vibes all around him that made him want to squeal and perform an exorcism, but also Tn's prevailing confidence. The Arbok curled up and hissed with vicious intent.
Gray sent out his Hitmonchan to deal with the threat. The two traded blows and Hitmonchan was poisoned by the Arbok's Sludge Bomb. Gray knew Hitmonchan's fighting-type attacks were resisted but needed to use him now while he was not facing a ghost. Hitmonchan endured through the poison and delivered a Fire Punch to Arbok's face. It retracted in pain but countered with a harsh Iron Tail that knocked Hitmonchan out.
Gray's confidence waned further but Tene's motivational words echoed in his head, 'Omg, stop complaining for once! We're not even a kilometre in and you're asking for a day spa. How would we even pay for it? You blew all our money on a signature 'Hero of Kanto' embroidered fedora, remember? Arrggh!'
He was filled with confidence once more. He tipped his fedora before sending out his Rapidash to face the imposing threat. The flaming horse Pokemon hit the Arbok hard with a Fire Blast that was enough to knock it out. However, Tn sent out his final Pokemon; another Gengar. This one was more ferocious than the last and immediately hit Rapidash with a Shadow Ball. It then repeated the tactic of its' companion and delved into the floor below as a shadow. However, Gray was ready and ordered Rapidash to torch the floor with Flamethrower. Embers charred all throughout the room and Gengar was singed, resurfacing in pain, only to be hit with another Fire Blast. However, it recovered and landed a Hypnosis on Rapidash before using Nightmare. Rapidash shuddered in fear as it slept, all the while be pelted by Shadow Balls. Resistance was futile but Gray knew what he had to do. As another Shadow Ball flew towards his Pokemon, he returned it and sent out his Tauros in response. Tauros absorbed the Shadow Ball, completely immune, before launching forward with a super-effective Pursuit that was able to finish off the singed Gengar and win Gray the fight.
Tn congratulated Gray and wished him luck in bringing justice for Ta. As Yob and Tene began to move to the next set of viewing stands, Tymac spoke to them, "The final elite member is not to be messed with. He is not only a skilled scientist but a powerful dragon tamer who has worked to understand the subtleties of dragon energy."
"I'm a big eater of dragon fruit," Yob responded, "and I appreciate how it tastes like soil; reminds me that we are all a part of the Earth. Is that what you mean?"
"Uh, not quite. I'm trying to say that Mariofighter3 understands the intricacies of his Pokemon's power and will not be an easy challenge."
"Maybe this is why Ta gave Gray the Ice Beam TM?" Tene added.
The next room Gray walked into was much brighter and had royal blue coloured walls. Ahead stood Mario, who Gray recognised as another former Resistance member and ally of Ta. Mario had been integral at Cerulean in rescuing people in the zeppelin crash with his Dragonite. Gray had idolised these trainers and was now facing them.
"So, you've made it this far? I'm impressed. I suppose I shouldn't expect any less from a 'Hero of Kanto' like yourself," Mario declared before Gray gestured to Tene in the audience, mouthing 'See?' as Tene eye-rolled. "But I'm afraid I pose a new level of challenge that you won't be surpassing. Ha! Bow before the might of my dragons!"
With that, he sent out his Gyarados, which filled the stadium with its roar. Gray responded with Butterfree, who flew around the arena, dodging Gyrarados' Hyper Beams while trying to land a Sleep Powder. The effect was not enough for the goliath and only made it dizzy. Butterfree did its best to pelt it with Silver Wind but was eventually taken out with a Twister, that caught it up in its vortex and sent Butterfree flying back into Gray's arms. He thanked his companion, before sending out Tauros. The bull Pokemon rammed into Gyarados' belly, toppling it to the ground. Tauros then proceeded to KO it with a Headbutt to the face. However, Tauros was then defeated by Mario's next Pokemon; Dragonair. The sleek serpent gracefully obliterated Tauros with a series of Dragon Rages. Rapidash endured through the barrage but when they were able to take their opponent down, Mario sent out yet another Dragonair, which overwhelmed the horse Pokemon. Hitmonchan was also unable to handle the pure dragon power. Gray then summoned Dugtrio that was able to shake the building with its devastating Earthquake, finally overcoming the sly foe.
Mario simply responded with a smirk, before summoning an Aerodactyl. Dugtrio was unable to get a hit of the flying-type and fell to its wing attacks. Gray had a frustrated frown on his face, before commanding his partner Blastoise to knock Aerodactyl out of the sky with a Hydro Canon. However, it dodged and hit Blastoise with an Ancient Power while it was recovering from the fatigue. Blastoise finally recovered, though, and defeated the ancient Pokemon with a super-effective Hydro Pump.
Mario finally sent out his ace; Dragonite. Both Pokemon stood opposite each other. Dragonite used Hyper Beam, while Blastoise launched a Hydro Pump in response. The two attacks crossed each other before blasting the opponent. There was a large explosion of steam that filled the battlefield. Both recovered and the battle was on. Dragonite sent itself into an Outrage and hit Blastoise with the devastating attack. Blastoise used Hydro Pump to propel itself backwards, out of the range of the onslaught. Yet Dragonite continued its' advances. Blastoise had to dodge and finally made it to a safe distance. From there it used Ice Beam on the dragon. The attack was brutally super-effective and managed to freeze Dragonite in place. Before it could break free from its frosty prison, Blastoise launched a powerful Hydro Canon right at it, concluding the match.
Gray had done it. He had defeated the Elite Four and all that remained was the Champion. He was almost on his way to becoming a Pokemon master. Mario patted him on the shoulder while congratulating him. However, his smile turned to a frown as he mentioned the challenge ahead.
"Good luck up going forward. You'll need it... I saw firsthand the power of the new Champion. But I've also seen you. Ta believed in you and now I do too."
Gray smiled before continuing on to his final trial. His dream was moments away, yet he knew it could we whisked away as swiftly and relentlessly as Ta was dethroned by this new Champion. Gray gulped before remembering his training. Tene had spoken of overcoming fear before an important battle but did anyone really understand the position he was in? He always imagined himself becoming the very best but to be here was different. He turned to his companions in the stands, where he saw a small nod of reassurance from Tene. Confidence brewing in his heart, he progressed to the final challenge.
The next chapter will be the final one of the Kanto series. Get excited!