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Old 02-20-2012, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: The Trials of an Ex-Pokémon Fan

Chapter Three - Professor Juniper, Part II

Point of View: Farren

Quote:
Waiting in the lobby was kind of difficult. The pressures of this world were infectious: even I could feel the tension of getting my first-ever Pokémon. It was like getting my first Pokémon game. Oddly enough, I played Pokémon Yellow first, because my parents didn't trust me with a Game Boy Color until I was five, so I was in the exact same position the main character was. He only had one choice, Pikachu. I have only one choice, Zorua.

Bianca had decided to let out her Oshawott. It was an interesting little Pokémon: it was the water starter of this region, and was just a little otter like creature. It almost reminded me of a double scoop of ice cream, with stubs for arms and ears and a seashell on its stomach. This one seemed to love to dance, as did Bianca. Seeing them do stuff together, sometimes falling down together and laughing hysterically, was quite cute. I don't know what it was about me that would have been crushed to not have an Oshawott, because it looked like the two of them were made for each other. True, it looked pretty cool, but a Pokémon itself was a cool thing to have. Zorua didn't look like a bad alternative. In fact, I was quite anxious to see it.

"Do you think I should give Oshawott a nickname?" Bianca said, panting a little bit from all of the dancing. Oshawott continued to twirl, almost as if it would never run out of energy, like the Energizer bunny.

Good question. "Uh, I don't know. What would you name it?"

"I don't know," Bianca mused, crossing her arms in confusion. "Hey, Oshawott. Do you want a nickname?"

Oshawott stopped twirling immediately and frowned. It then began to shake its head vehemently and say its name repeatedly.

"I'll take that as a 'no,' I guess," Bianca said, laughing nervously. "Oshawott it is."

"Should I nickname Zorua?" I blurted aloud, not thinking.

It piqued Bianca's interest. "Well, it's your choice. But obviously as you can see, some Pokémon don't like to be nicknamed. They tend to just like their natural name. Some Pokémon start off hating their nickname, but they grow more accustomed to it over time because their trainer won't know them by any other name. But I think you should talk to it first."

I didn't like the whole concept of nicknaming, anyway. Most names I could possibly think of probably wouldn't be a good idea in the first place. Plus, Oshawott seemed perfectly content with its name. That probably meant Zorua would be fine with its name, too.

Suddenly, Oshawott's ears perked up, and it stopped twirling. After a moment or two, Bianca and I turned our heads when we started to hear Professor Juniper's footsteps gradually getting louder. I stood up, eager to hear the results. Bianca seemed a little restless too, as did Oshawott, as they seemed frozen in place. Our anxiety molded as one as the Professor turned the corner with a Poké Ball in one hand and something else in another. She had a smile on her face, but she was biting her lip a little.

"I made the call to the Pokémon Center over in Castelia City," she mused, raising the hand with the Poké Ball out in front of her, towards me. "The Nurse Joy there was especially nice about this particular favor. I often don't get that kind of courtesy. Often around this time of year, Pokémon Centers are fresh out of starters, and they get kind of aggravated when they have some in stock and the Unova League season begins." I made my way over to her to eagerly accept the Poké Ball, but she stepped back a bit and retracted her arm defensively.

"Well," she continued, "This Zorua is a bit of a problem Pokémon. It had caused a bit of chaos in Castelia City about a week ago, and the illusions it created were a little too intense for many of the citizens there. It loves to play pranks on people."

"What are you saying?" I asked, clenching my fists at my sides, slightly frustrated. "That I'm not prepared for this Pokémon or something?"

The Professor bobbed her head to and fro, looking around the lobby with a deflective mood. "Yes and no. I mean, the Gym Leader of the city had a very tough time catching Zorua, and he's a Bug-type trainer. They're strong against Dark-types, you know, and not to mention being very pesky creatures themselves. You could have a tough time if Zorua doesn't like you."

Without blinking an eye, I replied, "Well, isn't that true of any Pokémon? As long as I treat it with care, I don't think there should be any problem. I really want a Pokémon, Professor." Cool it down, Farren, I thought. Things still aren't making much sense. Don't be too outspoken.

The Professor nodded, as if reassured, and extended her arm again. "Well said. Here. Let's see Zorua!"

I took the Poké Ball from her hand gently, and played around with it in my fingers for a couple seconds. When I was ready, I executed my well-practiced Poké Ball throw, the one I had been set on doing since I was six years old that I had done whenever Ash Ketchum had turned his hat around and sent out one of his Pokémon. The ball flew through the air and landed on the ground, and a blast of white energy popped out as the ball opened. The energy began to take form as the ball rebounded into my hand, quickly dimming down and revealing Zorua.

Something was slightly different about this Zorua, though. Its coat was less of a purple and more of a grayish mauve, the red tuft of hair on its head, red eyelids and red feet were actually the same electric blue as the accent color of my clothing, and its unusual blue eyes were instead a bold red. Its gaze was penetrating and almost demeaning, but it still seemed friendly. After it looked around and took in its environment, it looked at Oshawott and playfully ran in circles around it. Oshawott, however, didn't know what to do; it just stood there just as dumbfounded as Professor Juniper, Bianca and I were. Was this the same Zorua as the picture?

"It's a shiny Zorua, isn't it?" Bianca asked, pointing at various features on its body. "When a Pokémon is shiny, it has a different color scheme than it normally does."

"You're right," Professor Juniper noted, crouching down to the floor to further look at the Zorua as it continued to run around Oshawott, as if it was begging the play. "This is a shiny Zorua. The picture we had seen on the screen was a standard Pokédex image, not this particular Zorua. Pokémon are typically born with a specific color pattern. Some of this is based on genetics; I have a friend from the Johto region who studies that. Some of that is based on environmental factors; I have a friend from the Orange Islands who is all over that topic. And some of it, we don't understand quite yet, like shiny Pokémon. Many researchers are still debating what it is that makes Pokémon shiny."

"Just one question," I piped up, crouching right next to the Professor. "Why is it called a 'shiny' Pokémon?"

The Professor pulled out a little bone-shaped treat out of her lab coat pocket and extended her hand, and Zorua instantly lost interest in Oshawott and sped towards the treat and began to nibble on it. "Good question, Farren. It's because if you look very closely, you will see that their coat sparkles a little. In strong sunlight this is very easy to see. Other than the alternative coloration and this sparkling quality to their skin or fur, there seems to be zero difference between a shiny Pokémon and a Pokémon that isn't shiny."

"Such a cute little thing!" Bianca said, gasping and a tad annoyed. "I want a shiny Pokémon. No fair!"

"And on top of all of that, shiny Pokémon are exceedingly rare. To find one like this is just an absolutely incredible find."

This Zorua was so much cooler than a standard, non-shiny Zorua. There was no beating this. The whole idea of shiny Pokémon was coming back to me: the red Gyarados from Gold, Silver and Crystal that you could catch in the Lake of Rage. An automatically guaranteed shiny Pokémon anyone could have. What an incredible, fortuitous beginning! A shiny Pokémon, first try. Just incredible!

Suddenly, the Zorua looked up at me as it finished devouring the snack in the Professor's hand. It cocked its head in curiosity, and I myself was enthralled in its gaze. It kept looking at me calmly, albeit with its sharp glance. But I looked back with the same intensity. It consumed with the ferocity of fire, as it proceeded not to blink, and I ensured unbroken eye contact.

Suddenly, Bianca stretched her hand out towards me, breaking my focus. "You know what? I want a Pokémon battle! Genna and Cheren had one. Why can't we? I think it would make a fantastic beginning to our journeys, don't you think?"

My heart almost skipped a beat. Pokémon battle?

"A splendid idea, Bianca!" lauded Professor Juniper, standing up with a smile. "Shall I explain the rules?"

*

I was freaking out. I really didn't think about all of this thoroughly. What was I to do? I'm not experienced enough for this!

So basically, as normal Pokémon battles go, we were on some sort of battlefield-type ground that was about 300 feet long and 100 feet wide. There were marked boundaries, with Bianca on one end and me on the other, and Professor Juniper in the middle past the boundary line. Oshawott was standing by her, ready to fight. Zorua, was standing by me, but was mellowed out and completely out of the moment. Zorua, like me, was completely out of it. Well, for all I know it could just be waiting for me to do or say something. I hope that was the case.

"This will be a single battle between Bianca, from Goldenrod City in Johto, and Farren, from Nuvema Town in Unova!" announced Professor Juniper, probably acting as referee. "Each trainer has one Pokémon to battle and agrees to battle in accordance with the guidelines set up by the International Pokémon Battling Agency! In short, trainers must have good sportsmanship and only fight until at least one of these Pokémon is deemed unable to battle!"

Tension rose as Oshawott took its stance in front of Bianca. She was clenching her fists and smiling mischievously, as if already strategizing her first move. I looked down at Zorua with worries. What if I wasn't good at this? What if I end up hurting Zorua?

Coincidentally, it looked up at me and winked.

Professor Juniper raised her hand and brought it down in a speedy, slicing motion. "Begin!"

"Ladies first!" exclaimed Bianca, pointing towards Zorua. "Oshawott, use Tackle!"

Oshawott lowered its head and began to charge, but Zorua made no effort to get ready to dodge. Instead, it acted coolly and took its stance directly in the path of Oshawott's attack.

"Zorua! What're you doing? Dodge it!"

In the closing moments of Oshawott's attack, as if waiting for the last second, Zorua jumped into the air and was engulfed in a white light, changing in shape and form. Oshawott realized this and halted attack to look at Zorua, only to back away in bitter fear.

When I could make sense of Zorua's new appearance, it was completely unrecognizable. It was now a large, blue Pokémon showing the likeness of a sea lion, with gigantic white whiskers and gold-colored armor on its legs, back and head. It still had piercing red eyes, but these were different in shape and hue. If I were to make a guess, it was probably an evolved form of Oshawott. Oshawott had continued to back away in fear, but Bianca showed zero disorientation.

"It's not really a Samurott!" she shouted, pointing at Zorua again. "It's an illusion! Look at its tail! Use Water Gun!"

I quickly glanced at the tail. It was - somehow - the fluffy mauve tail that it had in its normal form. Was this part of the act, or was this some sort of mishap?

Oshawott regained some of its courage and sprinted around Zorua. As Zorua tried to turn around, Oshawott unleashed a burst of water, hitting my Pokémon at the tail. In another flash of white light, Zorua spun around and giggled deviously, as if not at all disconcerted.

I needed to go on the offense, so I tried to think of some Dark-type moves. "Uh, Zorua, use... Faint Attack!"

Zorua took a stance and began to run, suddenly disappearing into a wave of darkness. Oshawott looked at its surroundings, absolutely horrified. Professor Juniper took note of this, looking around as well. Bianca still kept her cool.

"Quick! Turn around, it's right behind you!"

Suddenly, as Zorua reappared, it poked Oshawott's back. As it turned around, it was thrown backward by a whack against the head with one of Zorua's feet. Oshawott flipped and landed on the ground, taking minimal damage.

"Impressive battle, you two!" Professor Juniper said aloud, clapping. "Keep it up!"

"Zorua, use Faint Attack again!"

"Oshawott, dodge and use Razor Shell!"

My heart sank. What's Razor Shell?

Before Zorua could do anything, Oshawott took the shell off of its belly, which was already glowing with a blue aura. As Zorua was about to jump away, Oshawott slashed at it, sending Zorua rolling in the dirt towards me. It got up as quickly as it could, not doing so well to recuperate from the blow.

"Good job, Oshawott!" Bianca shouted, pointing once more forward. "Nice use of your scalchop. Fury Cutter!"

An itching feeling reverberated through my body, and I acted on impulse. "Zorua, dodge, and transform into Oshawott!"

Much to Oshawott's surprise as it tried to slash again with the shell, Zorua dodged gracefully as it leaped over the attack. In another flash of light, there were two Oshawott standing on the field.

"Now, Zorua, use your shell! Combine Faint Attack and Razor Shell!"

Zorua obligued. It took the "scalchop" off of its belly, and instead of a blue aura, it radiated with darkness. Like a boomerang, Zorua threw the shell, and as it disappeared into thin air, Oshawott attempted to jump to dodge it, not expecting it to vanish. When it reappeared, the shell struck from behind, bringing Oshawott to the ground. The shell returned to Zorua's stubby hand and was placed back on its belly.

Oshawott struggled to get up, and Zorua reverted back to its original form. Ultimately, however, Oshawott grunted and gave up, finally collapsing onto the ground.

"Oshawott is unable to battle! Farren of Nuvema Town wins!"

What the heck? I won?
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The Professor of Pokémon Elite 2000.

Last edited by Professor Geoffrey; 02-20-2012 at 04:37 PM.
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