Chapter 17: Brawly Takashima
I lifted my new imported set of Olympic-weight barbells – they hurt, but I’m almost making it to five seconds. Gyahh. I guess I seriously need more work. Guess what? The people behind the league called in yesterday and told me that if I couldn’t lift that barbell for more than five seconds by the end of the week, I’d be disqualified as a Fighting gym leader and be deported to training Normals. What the heck, man. I'm a surfer, not a dumb weightlifter or anything. ALSO, Fighting’s supposed to be super effective against Normal. I’m not THAT bad, am I?
I received another phone call from the Japanese government the other day, saying that I was a pride of Japan and all that stuff. Well, remembering that sure makes me feel better. At least now I know I wasn’t sent here to Hoenn just to get pushed around by these cocky elitist league people. I’m a Gym Leader. I may be kinda young, but I deserve respect. Where else’re they gonna find another fighting leader? Nowhere. It’s me, Brawly Takashima… no one else.
Here’s another reason why I’m fed up with this joke of an organization called Pokemon League. What the heck’s up with that new Double League thing? What’s the point? There aren’t even that many trainers who fight together. Being good enough to fight together doesn’t mean you’re good enough to go solo. That’s my philosophy. So is this like a league for suckers to get their confidences up? If so, that’s the stupidest thing these organizers have ever dreamed up of. Next to, of course, their ideas to make me a Normal gym leader. Psh. So much for promoting Mr. Ash Ketchum to CEO, eh? Now it’s all going down the drain.
I stood up and looked at the candescent LED bulbs that surrounded the boxes and the sofa thing I’m sitting on that are supposed to make this gym look tough. I mean, seriously. I know my Knuckle Badge is supposed to allow people to use Flash outside battle, but using this growing circle of LED bulbs after beating a trainer as a demonstration of what it’ll be like is just lameass lame. Only Ash could think of something as stupid as that. May all the challengers today pray they’ve got enough to handle a pissed-off Fighting Gym leader… because that’s what I am at this moment. Psh.
I glanced across the room at my Makuhita, diligently refining his Bulk Up move and training against the wall. “Good work,” I said, pleased, as I walked to him, holding out my Pokeball. “But hey, boy, you’ve worked all night. Time to get some rest. Three hours before 9 AM and the first challengers come in. You don’t want to be caught off guard, do you?” I smiled and opened the Pokeball, and he entered in a red flash like the good natured obedient Pokemon he always was. I retrieved Machop, who took a bit longer – once he starts training, he can’t stop unless you give him something. Like a pink Pokeblock. This was just our average early morning work-out – I wake at half past 4 in the morning, come to the gym with my Pokemon, and train till 6 – it’s the way we’ve done it for a long time. And now it was time for our three-hour rest before our battles get kicking. I crashed down on the sofa, pulled my Japanese good-luck blanket over my head as I always did, and fell asleep with the Pokeballs in my pocket.
I was awakened by the persistent poking of the guy who’s supposed to stand in front of the two pillars at the entrance of the gym all the time and give advice to trainers who come in. Since he left his spot, I guess it’s important. I grumbled and pushed the blanket out of my face. “What?”
“Brawly, get up,” said the guy, continuing to poke me insistently. “It’s three minutes past nine, and something very offensive is happening to your final employed trainer.”
His poking finger swung and pointed ahead of me to the battle chamber that came before mine, softly glowing with LED bulbs. I followed the finger and saw two trainers, 20-ish, brutally dragging off the pants of my employed trainer Todd. They were removing things from his pockets sparing neither cell phone nor wallet and a hovering Shuppet beside them yelled something at each item extracted. I scrambled to my feet.
“And this’ll be for calling me a ‘stupid talking piece of cloth’,” announced the Shuppet as he telekineted a glinting BlackBerry from Todd’s ravaged trousers and dropped it into the red-and-white bag that lay beside them. “Although,” the Shuppet added as an afterthought, “I appreciate your usage of a decent noun.” Despite myself, I couldn’t subdue a snork. Todd looked at me despairingly, and my sense of duty returned. I grabbed the redhead’s arm, stopping her foot which had been in the process of swinging into Todd’s no-no place.
“Woah, woah, hey, what d’you think you’re doing?” I demanded. “That’s my trainer here. You’re challengers, show basic respect in the gym at all times, aight?”
“Hey, HE started it, alright? He WANTED a battle, he walked up to us,” retorted the greenhead.
I stared. “Well, DUH, dumbnut, coming into a gym, whaddya expect, free entry to the leader’s crib?”
“He wouldn’t give us half the money due for a defeat,” accused the redhead.
I rolled my eyes at Todd and sighed. “Todd, don’t do this. What’s gotten into you today? Give’em their money. It’s common courtesy.”
“THEY DIDN’T ASK FOR HALF MY MONEY,” wailed Todd. “They asked for all the stuff I had on me including my clothes –”
“Dude, what the – guys, you’re supposed to be CHALLENGERS –”
“And who are YOU supposed to be, kiddo?” asked the redhead. “What’re YOU doing here telling us what to do?”
I shrugged. “Brawly Takashima, Dewford Gym leader at your service. And I have full authority to refuse a battle with you two simply because I don’t want to.” Double leaguers, obviously. Low-class with no manners. I turned and began walking away.
“Hey, wait!” I turned back – the greenhead’s attitude had obviously changed at the news. “Sorry if we offended you,” he apologized quickly, “we’d like a chance at a badge –” The redhead pushed him out of the way before he could finish, and stepped up to me.
“Fine with us,” she said. “Hope you don’t mind us taking a free badge and moving on then?”
“Dude, what the – ” I had barely finished the “heck” before realizing she’d strode over to the suitcase and was now working the lock. Almost as quickly, however, I felt a rush of energy in my pocket as a Pokeball broke open and my Makuhita burst out, dashed to the suitcase and threw a low kick straight at the redhead’s face.
“Hey, assault to the trainers – we could sue you for that,” screeched the redhead.
“AWESOME work on your reflexes, Makuhita,” I shouted. “Watch out for that weirdly colored Taillow,” I quickly added as I spotted it on the battle floor. I shrugged again at the challengers. “I guess we’re in battle, eh?” I laughed. “Makuhita, smack that bird with a Tackle!” Yeah, yeah, they thought I’d be dumb enough to use a fighting move, eh? Apparently not! I watched proudly as Makuhita tackled the black-and-white Taillow to the floor.
“Emo Taillow, I mean Taillow, use peck,” yelled the Shuppet.
Crapsters, I forgot that was a flying move. It never used to be, but after Ash got promoted… gyah, this isn’t the time to complain. I winced as Makuhita’s HP dropped to yellow, and the Shuppet smirked. “Howsabout the time to give Mr. Shupster some experience points?” he cackled.
“Oi, watch how you talk about my Pokemon, Pokemon,” I snapped. Shupster returned it with a long, spitless raspberry.
“Shadow Ball, baby,” yelled Shupster as he flung a dark blob of stuff at Makuhita. “Fire in da hole!” Makuhita’s HP dropped even lower as he doubled over from the impact of the attack, and in a fit of panic I commanded: “Counter with a Vital Throw!”
Oh crappy crapsterpieces! I totally forgot Ghost types were immune to Fighting moves! I tried to take back the command but was of course too late. Makuhita flew straight through Shupster (who was cracking up, obviously – that guy needs to be sedated) and hit the wall hard, slumping in a faint.
“DAMMIT,” I cursed. “That was pretty tight though,” I said. “Good job, guys.”
They looked considerably surprised. “Y’know what, you’re the first Gym leader we’ve met with a decent attitude,” Shupster commented.
“Glad to hear that,” I replied. “What’ve you got left?”
“A Ralts, a Taillow and a Treecko,” said the greenhead.
“Aight.” I threw up my hands in a willful surrender. “Here’s to one of Ash Ketchum’s exceedingly rare sayings that have any meaning at all: Good trainers know when to give up. I’ve got a Machop left, but I don’t really want it getting hurt, y’know? So.” I walked up to the greenhead and then the redhead, shook both their hands, snapped my fingers in a concluding motion, and gestured to the suitcase. “Good game. Take a badge.” I turned to Shupster and dropped my voice. “As for you, my friend, you need to be sedated.” He looked a bit hurt as I turned away and laughed.
The redhead worked the lock and picked up a Knuckle Badge. “That badge will enable you to use Flash outside of battle,” I told them.
“YES, STEVEN,” answered the three unanimously.
“Anyways. Up for a little trade?”
“Here.” I held out a box. “This is the TM for Bulk Up. It boosts both your attack and defense stats in a battle.”
“Gee, thanks – ” The redhead reached out to grab the box. I held it away.
“Nope, nope nope… give Todd his stuff back.”
“Ripoff,” complained the redhead. “I’d rather not have it then.”
“Aight,” I shrugged. “Suit yourself. Seeya then, enjoy your adventure!” I said, reassuring Todd that insurance would cover this theft case. I started walking back to my chamber but stopped when I saw Shupster come over to me.
“Oi. I won’t get sedated, but… you’re a cool guy, Brawly Takashima. A real cool guy.”
“Thanks,” I grinned, flashing a thumbs up. “Catch you later, guys. The next city is Slateport, across the sea in the opposite direction. I'll be giving surfing lessons there. Peace out!”
“That’s one-fourth of $10000,” said Cassidy happily, as the three walked away from the gym.
“That’s one nice guy over there,” said Butch. “Really deserving of respect, that Brawly. NO, DON’T say ‘unlike you’, that’s predictable.”
“Bulk Up’s no use anyway,” said Shupster. “Let’s see what we got… Cut, Quick Claw, Flash, Steel Wing from Steven, THE CHAMPION… well, I think we’re good. Butch, how many Egbert trips did that take?”
Butch frowned and began counting on his fingers. “One, two, three……” The other two stood and waited. “Thirty-four,” he finished.
“Well, that’s not too bad,” smiled Shupster. “And it’s about to become thirty-five. He said the next city's Slateport, which is a boat ride in the opposite direction. Up for it?”
“Let’s hope Egbert is,” said Cassidy, and they headed for the Pokemon Center.