Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 7
“Not bad,” Elise remarked, as she reached for a new Poké Ball. “However, this battle is nowhere near done. Go, Krookodile!”
From the light of the open ball she threw came a bipedal, red crocodile with black stripes and small, menacing eyes. It remained completely still, staring at Fireball with a savage glare. The look of bloodlust in its eyes served to frighten Fireball. His eyes widened, a sense of dread sweeping through him. Its ability, Intimidate, lowered Fireball's overall physical strength.
“Krookodile, Protect!” she commanded.
Like Hippowdon before it, Krookodile's body was embraced by an impenetrable shield of blue light.
Antoshi heaved a sigh of frustration. At the same time, Fireball's cough was getting worse. The pain of being in the sandstorm gradually bit harder. The duo weren't able to do anything other than wait until Krookodile's shield dissipated. Once it did, Antoshi smirked.
“Let's give them a little surprise, Fireball!” he said. “Focus Blast!”
Elise's eyes widened. She was surprised by the sheer variety of attacks the Typhlosion knew.
While the move's Fighting type would be very effective against Krookodile, it was also inaccurate due to Fireball's lack of experience in using the maneuver. Fireball held his forepaws to one side, spacing them just far enough apart to summon a rapidly growing ball of bright blue energy. Fireball steadied his ragged breathing, taking aim at his target.
Elise narrowed her eyes, reading Fireball's movements to predict when he was about to strike.
“Move!” she commanded just before Fireball thrust forth the ball of energy.
The attack covered the distance between them in a heartbeat, flailing erratically through the air while doing so. Krookodile dove to the side, narrowly avoiding a glancing blow. The energy ball vanished harmlessly upon striking the wall behind Elise.
“Crunch, Krookodile!” Elise shouted.
A sense of dread swept over Antoshi. He clenched his teeth, his eyes full of panic as Krookodile sprinted toward Fireball. Krookodile hissed as it opened its long maw, its teeth glowing white with a magical energy.
‘Please don't let this be the end …’ the boy thought, bracing at the same time Fireball did.
Its powerful jaw snapped shut on Fireball's shoulder, digging its rows of sharp glowing teeth in. Fireball shouted in pain, fighting to shove the flailing beast off of him.
The damage was already done by the time Fireball escaped its jaws. He fell to a knee, holding his bloodied shoulder as Krookodile headed back to its side of the field.
“Fireball!” Antoshi shouted in concern. “Are you okay?!”
With a pained look on his face, Fireball forced a grin and nodded.
Fireball's grueling struggle was obvious. Very rarely had he seen his best friend in such dire straits. It upset him and worried him. Antoshi clenched his trembling fists, pondering a tactical surrender. Yet, Fireball's eyes burned with a powerful sense of surefire confidence. The Typhlosion's gaze stirred up memories of their dream to make it to the top.
‘This is our life's work you're facing — our heart and soul!’ Antoshi recalled himself proclaim proudly.
'We're gonna win it all, and win it big! I can't wait to see how big the tournament stage is at the Indigo Plateau. Are you excited, too?' Fireball had asked him not all that long ago.
Antoshi slowly exhaled, closing his eyes for a moment to steady his resolve. He looked toward their opposition with a firm, serious expression on his face.
“All right, Fireball, one more Focus Blast!”
Fireball's body trembled as he held his hands to one side as before. However, just as Fireball began to charge the attack again, Elise was quick to interrupt.
“Krookodile, Protect!” she instructed. The beast was once again surrounded by its protective shield.
Fireball hunched over, coughing loudly while the sand continued to whip hard at him.
“Hang in there, Fireball …” Antoshi muttered.
‘So, he's going to try another Focus Blast,’ Elise thought, holding her chin. ‘There's nothing I can really do to stop it, except to keep Krookodile on the evasive. However, if it does hit, will it be enough? I can't help but wonder just how strong that type of attack from his Typhlosion would be.’
The moment Krookodile's shield faded, Antoshi was ready to give the order.
“Now! Focus Blast!”
Fireball panted, ignoring the excruciating pain in order to charge another Focus Blast. He took careful aim through the endlessly stirring sands before he threw the ball of energy forward.
“Dodge it again!” Elise said.
When Krookodile leapt out of the way for the second time, the ball made an unexpected curve straight towards it. Elise and her Pokémon's eyes widened in shock just before the attack connected and exploded violently. The force of the blast shot Krookodile through the air, flying past Elise, before crashing hard against the back wall. Krookodile was unresponsive.
Elise's was impressed by the sheer power of Fireball's attack.
‘So, it does make sense,’ she thought, staring at her fainted Pokémon. ‘Rather than having a full roster of six Pokémon whose gains are evened out with each other, he instead has one Pokémon that garners all of the strength and experience. With the amount of Type coverage his Typhlosion has, it's as if fighting six Pokémon at once. He's a clever Trainer, but strength isn't tantamount to stamina. His Typhlosion is running on nothing but willpower by now.’
She recalled her Krookodile and grabbed the last Ultra Ball on her hip.
With only one Pokémon to go, exhaustion had taken its toll on Fireball. He groaned as he fell to a knee again. He let out a hacking cough, holding his injured shoulder, clenching his eyes in the fury of the whipping sands.
“Fireball?” Antoshi asked, deeply worried. Fireball had taken an incredible toll that pushed him to his very limits.
‘It has to be hurting him,’ Elise thought, ‘seeing his Pokémon in so much pain like this. Yet, both of them continue on fighting. They have an incredible resolve. For them to push forward and bring me to my last Pokémon after taking such a beating, … I may not win this one after all.’
Fireball groaned as he rose to his hind feet once more. Antoshi was incredulous that Fireball was still standing, let alone ready to continue battling.
“For the sake of your Pokémon's well-being,” Elise said, “are you certain you don't want to forfeit?”
“Not a chance!” Antoshi shot back. He was bitter over Elise's continual badgering. “Fireball's stronger than anyone I've ever known. If he's ready to go, then so am I.”
“Remarkable. That you would get this far with just one Pokémon — a Fire-type — is remarkable. Your determination is truly admirable. However, I'm afraid this is where your battle ends.” She maximized the final ball and threw it out. “Go, Steelix!”
Antoshi and Fireball watched with astonishment as the light gave way to a massive serpent comprised of segmented steel-plated boulders. It towered high over their heads, letting out a roar that rattled the foundation of the building.
"That's probably not good," Fireball joked.
“Let's make the first move!” Antoshi exclaimed. “Fire—”
“Protect, Steelix!” Elise shouted over him.
Antoshi bit his tongue, scowling in frustration. ‘I can't believe this,’ he thought. ‘They all know Protect? She's definitely come prepared for battles like this.’
Fireball coughed even harder than last time. He appeared light-headed, unable to steady his feet, especially in the constant winds of the sandstorm.
“This battle's been going on for some time, young Trainer.” Elise said. “The severe poison has been gradually worsening with every beat of your Typhlosion's heart. How much longer do you think he can hold out?”
Antoshi's gaze shifted to his friend. As much as her browbeating irritated him, she had a point.
"No way!" Fireball shouted in defiance, struggling to keep his balance. "We didn't come all this way just to fail. Not after all the training we did to make it this far."
Antoshi grinned proudly at him. Elise didn't have to understand Fireball's speech to know what he said, she only needed to see the look in his eyes. She smiled and hummed in intrigue.
“Fire Blast, Fireball!” Antoshi said in the moment that Steelix's Protect dissipated. Give it everything you have!”
"Now that's the kind of pep talk I like to hear," Fireball replied with a weak grin.
He brought his trembling claws up to his neck, clasped down, and began to inhale deeply. Small tufts of flame emanated from Fireball's mouth as he summoned up his strength for one final attack.
Suddenly, Fireball collapsed.
“Fireball, no!” Antoshi exclaimed.
The boy's heart sank at the same time Fireball fell to all fours. Fireball groaned wearily, overcome by exhaustion. The poison, the sandstorm, the injures — they had all accumulated to a critical level.
‘We can't lose now,’ Antoshi thought, a panicked expression on his face.
'We're going to win,' Fireball thought.
Elise took advantage of the situation.
Steelix gave a mighty roar, its heavy tail stamping the ground and causing it to rumble.
“Fireball, use Fire Blast!” Antoshi ordered once again.
Fireball remained on his knees, managing to straightened his back. He steadied himself amid the quaking earth. He reached up again, holding his neck, straining to bring forth every ounce of energy he had left to give.
The ground abruptly cracked underneath Fireball. With only a moment to spare, Fireball roared as loud as he could. He fired a five-pointed blast of fire from his mouth just before the ground beneath him was smashed to pieces. Fireball thrashed around violently from Steelix's attack. The flames on his back went out.
‘Steelix is too large to evade that,’ Elise thought.
The massive fiery attack struck Steelix's face and exploded violently. Steelix roared in pain, its body toppling backwards from the force of the blast. Just as its Earthquake subsided, Steelix itself crashed into the ground to rumble it further. Its titanic weight created a large crater around its body.
Both Trainers steadied their footing in the aftermath. Elise was in shock. The heat from Fireball's attack was so intense that it caused the steel on Steelix's forehead to melt slightly. Her Pokémon was defeated.
The battle was over. The sandstorm finally subsided. All had become quiet on the sand-covered, heavily damaged stadium floor. Elise recalled her Steelix.
“Fireball!!” Antoshi shouted, ignoring the dangerous, jagged earth jutting around his fallen friend. “Fireball?” he whispered, shaking his friend a bit. Elise walked over quickly to check on them, standing outside the crater. “Fireball, come on. I thought I lost you once before, I can't go through that again!”
Antoshi's breathing became shaky, running a hand through his hair. Fireball wasn't responding. Elise, too, became concerned. Memories of being cooped up in the police station came flooding back as Antoshi started to fear the worst.
"Poi… son …" Fireball whispered in a raspy voice. Antoshi gasped in elation.
“Hang on, buddy, I have just the thing for you.”
He quickly pulled his backpack off his shoulders, zipping it open. He pulled out a large green spray bottle and immediately began spritzing its medicinal contents all over Fireball's wounded body. It worked fast to miraculously heal Fireball's injuries, as well as dissipate the poison from his body.
“Good thing I bought a few Full Restores for an emergency,” he said, sniffling. “You wanted me to buy you pizza instead, remember?”
"Pizza sounds good right about now," Fireball quietly replied with a slight grin. "Starting to feel a little better here. Could you get some of that in my mouth, please? I still have a poison-y aftertaste."
Antoshi smirked and sprayed the Typhlosion's open mouth. Fireball smacked his lips and shuddered in disgust.
"That tastes awful, but it's still better than the poison."
Antoshi sighed in relief, putting the empty bottle away. He slung his backpack over his shoulders and stood up, helping Fireball climb to his hind feet as well.
Elise smiled at the two as they stepped out of the jagged crater.
“That was quite the battle, young Antoshi,” she remarked. “You and your Typhlosion are one and the same. You were always on the same wavelength, both of you just as determined as each other. Truly, you're one of the closest and most caring Trainer and Pokémon pairs I've ever seen. You've done a phenomenal job of raising your Pokémon as a partner and a friend.”
“Thank you, Elise,” Antoshi replied, smiling. “I appreciate it. I'm just really glad Fireball is okay.”
“You could've stopped the battle if you were so fearful for your friend's safety.”
“Well, this is our progress of over a year of journeying through Kanto together. We wanted that eighth badge more than anything in the world. Neither of us were ready to just give up — not on this battle or anything else before it. I guess the two of us are just reckless like that.”
“I understand,” she said, chuckling. “Still, your recklessness brought you victory today.” She took something from her pocket and placed it into Antoshi's hands. “Trainer Antoshi, I confer unto you the Earth Badge. You and Fireball have earned it — and my respect.”
The two friends looked at the shining new badge, the very last one they needed. They breathed a sigh of relief. After long trials and tribulations, days and weeks and months spent training, and constantly staying on the grind, their Kanto badge quest was finally over. The Indigo League was now open to them. Antoshi's eyes welled up with tears.
“You're crying, aren't you?” Antoshi asked, before glancing over at Fireball. Tears ran down the sides of the Typhlosion's face as he nodded. “It's okay, buddy, so am I.”
Antoshi threw his arms out, Fireball bawled loudly into his shoulder. Antoshi grinned, hugging Fireball and patting him on the back.
“We made it, buddy,” Antoshi reassured his friend. “We made it.” Fireball grabbed Antoshi's shirt and blew his nose into it. “Ugh — okay, come on. Really? I have tissues, you know.”
"Sorry," Fireball remarked, sniffling and sighing.
Antoshi shook his head, pulling out his wallet to store away their final badge. He took a deep breath and sighed proudly, wiping the tears from his own eyes.
“Time to cross that finish line,” Antoshi remarked with a grin. Fireball happily nodded back.
“Do take care, you two,” Elise told them. “I, and some other Gym Leaders, will be taking a trip to the Indigo League to watch the tournament. Should you make it, I'll be cheering you on from the crowd.”
“We're going to do our absolute best,” Antoshi told her, smiling confidently. Elise nodded to him.
With that, the two friends departed from Elise's company and exited the Gym. She then sighed and looked around the heavily damaged stadium floor.
“Looks like I have some cleaning up to do.”
That evening in the Viridian Pokémon Center, Antoshi and Fireball feasted on all the food they could grab in the cafeteria. Antoshi usually didn't gorge himself like Fireball, but he made an exception for the special occasion. It was an enjoyable rarity, but he knew his stomach was certainly going to regret it later on.
The mood between them had never been more jovial. They'd finally collected all eight badges. An idea that was once nothing more than a far-off dream had become a reality.
Afterward, the duo headed back to their room and settled in for the night. Excitement and big hopes for their future swirled through their minds as they drifted off to sleep. Their biggest challenge was yet to come — and they felt prepared.
Just as in past nights, however, Antoshi experienced another unsettling dream.
Looking through the eyes of another, he stood at the upper floor of a house that had been severely damaged by an explosion. The home's destroyed walls and roof gave way to the night sky. His legs trembled, falling to his knees. The cool, night air briefly swept past him.
“What … have I done?” a voice similar to his own asked in disbelief. “What did you make me do?!”
Antoshi felt overwhelmed by panic, sorrow, regret, and anger. He couldn't stop shaking, his heart pounded, adrenaline surging through his veins. He felt as though his body was about to explode.
“It was what needed to be done,” the same mysterious voice from before answered. “You have now taken the first glorious step toward—”
“This can't be real!” the boy shouted in agony. “I—I don't want this to be real!!”
In the forlorn darkness he let out a loud echoing scream, followed by a burst of black light. The roaring light rapidly expanded out in a massive dome that engulfed and instantly vaporized everything in its path. Once it reached its limit, it exploded violently, quaking the earth for a few moments.
There was nothing left for miles except an enormous crater of dirt. Having seemingly levitated during the explosion, the boy fell back down to the earth. Unconscious, he was left unscathed in the very epicenter of crater.
Just as he hit the ground, Antoshi jolted awake from his dream with a gasp. He sat up in bed, in the dark and quiet of the small room, covered in a cold sweat. He took a look at his hands — he was shaking like in the dream. He held his forehead, clenching his teeth.
‘Why do I keep having these dreams?!’ he demanded to know.
He breathed slowly for a short while, calming his racing heart. His head was filled with an endless array of questions. Was he the one in these settings? Were they some kind of premonition? Were they tied to his mysterious powers somehow? Each of those dreams were so jarringly real, as if they were actually happening and that he'd been there. That voice he kept hearing sounded just like his own.
Once he managed to finally relax, he laid his head back down on the pillow. He stared at the ceiling for a while, trying to cleanse his mind of the images in his dream. He thought about their upcoming trek to the Indigo Plateau instead, smiling at how excited he knew Fireball was going to be once they got there. Soon, he found the peace of mind to fall back asleep.
The following morning, the duo readied themselves for the end of their Kanto journey. With only five days to go before the Indigo League tournament sign-ups closed, they were eager to get moving on to Victory Road. Their next destination's very name filled their hearts with anticipation and anxiousness.
On their way to the western city limits of Viridian City, they happened across a small electronics store. In the store window, multiple television screens displayed a breaking news broadcast. A handful of people were grouped around, watching the report with great interest. Antoshi and Fireball stopped, curious to see what was going on.
“… who's live in the outskirts of the small town right now with the latest updates. Ruby?”
“That's right, Michael. As shown from our sky camera, the small town of Fern was completely decimated today. The town was home to a thriving population of about seven thousand. This morning, it's nothing more than a massive crater.”
Antoshi's eyes widened in shock as he saw the images of the crater. He felt the wind knocked right out from him. Memories of the previous night's dream came flooding back to him.
"Oh, wow," Fireball remarked, softly. "That's so terrible."
“… have no idea how an apparent explosion of this magnitude happened,” the lady reporter continued. “Joining me now is Johto's military commander General Logan.” The camera zoomed back to reveal a tall, stern man wearing a high-ranking military uniform standing next to her. “General, what can you tell us about this unthinkable devastation?”
“Right now we're in our preliminary investigation,” Logan replied. “At around 0400 hours, we were alerted by local officials who responded to a large seismic disruption and came across what was left of the town.”
“You told me there were no survivors?”
“We believed that at first but we've now found one young boy who appears to be in his preteens or early teens, buried under some of the earth. He was discovered in the epicenter of the explosion.”
Some of the passersby around Antoshi began to mutter.
“Is the boy conscious?” Ruby asked. “Do you have any information on him?”
“The boy is still unconscious at last check. He was airlifted from here to the nearest military hospital. For privacy reasons, we cannot release the boy's identity before establishing contact with his family. I'm afraid that's all we have to share for now.”
“Thank you so much for your time, General. Michael?”
“Thanks, Ruby,” the male reported in the studio said. “We'll be continuing our coverage on the destruction of Fern Town …”
"That's awful, don't you think?" Fireball asked his friend, as some of the crowd dispersed. Antoshi, however, gawked blankly at the television as though in a trance. "Antoshi? Are you okay?" Fireball waved a paw in his friend's face.
“Huh?” Antoshi uttered, snapping back to reality. “Did you say something?”
"I said, 'are you okay?'" Fireball said, appearing concerned. "You look like you saw a Ghost Pokémon or something."
“I …” Antoshi started. He bit his lip and sorted through his thoughts. “That—that scene on the news. I dreamt it … last night.”
"You had a dream about that town on the news?"
“Yes, and it looks exactly the same as in my dream.”
"That's— … well, I really don't know what to say. …"
“I've been having a few similar dreams lately. I've never experienced dreams like these before. They feel so— … so real.”
"First the glowing, then the light show ball, the flying, surviving a fall from a building, and dreams where you see things that happen in other places? What do you think is going on?"
“I don't know, … but after what I just saw, it's now definitely making me nervous.”
As they headed off toward their destination, Antoshi took one more glance at the television screen. The last image he saw was a somewhat pixelated still image of the rescued boy taken from afar. He could only make out the boy's jet black hair.
— End of Part 1 —