§4: Where She Belongs
Crasher Wake and Maylene arrived in Cianwood City by boat. At first, Maylene regarded the city as still being developed, but the discovery that it was how they set out to build it made her think of Johto as primitive people. If the city housed Chuck, one of the greatest Gym Leaders, then why isn’t it as developed as Sunyshore City? Which, even though she never visited, is near the sea as well and far more advanced than this city.
Maylene began to doubt that Chuck was great. He could be amazing to the Johto people, but if that was their standard of a great city, then he can’t possibly live up to the great trainer standard they had back in Sinnoh. Crasher Wake led her to the Gym, where a young boy, slightly older than Maylene greeted them.
His hair and eyes were blue. He wore an orange shirt, blue pants, and shows that were primarily black. ‘Welcome, Maylene,’ he addressed her. ‘I’m Brawly, and I’m training under Chuck at the moment. I’m very glad that you’ve accepted the offer to train with us.’
‘It’s nice to meet you,’ Maylene said, and a rush of Gardenia-like insults climbed up her vocal cords, but she managed to hold them back. ‘Are you from Cianwood City?’
‘No, I’m from Hoenn,’ Brawly said, much to Maylene’s surprise. ‘But I came here just to train in order to become a Gym Leader.’
Maylene knew that trainers from Hoenn were very strong, and if a trainer from there believed that Chuck is good enough to train him, then he must be strong. The fact that he, like her, wanted to become a Gym Leader made him appeal to her. Maylene found herself suddenly taking a liking to Brawly.
Beside him was a Pokémon that Maylene had never seen before. Brawly noticed her glancing at him occasionally, and decided to introduce him. ‘This is Makuhita,’ he said. ‘He’s my Pokémon. Chuck will help you catch one soon, so don’t worry.’
Maylene alternated her head between Brawly and Crasher Wake in confusion. ‘In Johto, trainers like to keep one of their Pokémon out of their Poké Ball all the time,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘You should send out Riolu.’
‘Why don’t you send out one of your Pokémon?’ she asked as she grabbed Riolu’s Poké Ball and sent him out. He studied the bulky yellow Pokémon and his surroundings. Everything was different. Unlike Maylene, he didn’t get to experience the transition from the cold weather in Sinnoh to the warm breeze of Johto slowly.
‘I already did,’ Crasher Wake laughed loudly. ‘They’re all in the sea waiting for me.’
‘You’re not staying here with me?’
‘I have some business to take care of,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I will visit you often though. I’ll be in Johto as well, so just ask Chuck to contact me anytime you need me.’
Maylene said her goodbyes to Crasher Wake again. Her mentor was leaving again, but at least he wasn’t going to be away this time. Crasher Wake jumped into the water, and swam alongside his Pokémon away from Cianwood City, and towards whatever his business was.
Brawly led Maylene into the Gym, and to her surprise, it was larger than expected. Many were training with their Pokémon, but one person stood out, and she guessed that it was Chuck. The man, who was as large and bulky as Crasher Wake, was meditating underneath a waterfall, seemingly unaware of any other’s presence in the Gym.
‘He’s just meditating,’ Brawly said. ‘The only way to get his attention is to shut down the water. I’ll take the one on the right, you take the one on the left.’
Maylene didn’t understand what he meant by ‘the one on the left’, but when Brawly began climbing the ledges on their right, she understood. She looked up at the place where he instructed her to go, and managed to spot a large winch, it must be what he meant by ‘the one on the left’.
She began to climb towards it, but was stopped by a man who shouted at her, causing Riolu to jump in front of her. ‘Words are useless,’ he said, which caused Maylene’s protests to fade away before she produced them. ‘ Let your fists do the talking!’
Before Maylene could respond, the trainer sent out a small gray human-shaped Pokémon with a tail, which Maylene recognized as Machop. She might as well train while she’s here.
‘Riolu, use Force Palm!’ Maylene ordered.
‘Seismic Toss!’ the trainer responded.
The two small Pokémon ran towards each other, each one swinging back one arm. Machop proved faster, and managed to grab Riolu with his entire arm. He made a quick turn, and ran in circles with amazing speed, while Riolu stayed almost attached to Machop’s arm.
‘Come on, Riolu!’ Maylene encouraged her Pokémon, who nodded back in response. He struggled against the air current that occurred due to Machop’s increasingly fast running. He put his palm against Machop’s face and yelled out as he released a small beam of aura that sent Machop flying back. But he had been running for so long, and Riolu’s attacked caused him to fly back as well.
The two Pokémon smashed against a rock, but Machop seemed to be the least harmed from the collision of attacks. ‘Revenge!’ his trainer order, and Machop grinned.
‘Force Palm again, Riolu!’ Maylene shouted. ‘You can do it!’
The Pokémon nodded confidently and ran forward towards the Machop that just prepared his body for another collision. His palm glowed with a faint light that shaped to a circle, and he pressed it against Machop as soon as he reached the opposing Pokémon. The beam fired once again, but it only caused Machop to take a few steps back that he made up for by taking more steps forwards.
‘Riolu, get out of there!’
Machop grinned as Riolu looked back at his trainer. His right hand shaped into a fist, and he dug it deep into Riolu’s body. The blue Pokémon gasped at the fist that twisted against his belly. Machop took a few steps forward. His entire body was behind Riolu, and they were back to back, except for Machop’s right fist. He pushed Riolu’s body in the direction he was facing, and his arm worked as a spring, causing Riolu to roll back towards Maylene before fainting.
‘That was a good battle,’ Brawly said, but Maylene was too concerned about Riolu to notice him. ‘I hope Nob didn’t go too tough on you.’
‘Will you be okay, Riolu?’ she asked her Pokémon, still unaware of Brawly’s presence. Riolu nodded at Maylene, who was hunched over her Pokémon, and slowly got up to his feet, causing Maylene to do the same.
Brawly coughed to draw Maylene’s attention to him. ‘Chuck asked me to make you go this way and battle Nob,’ he said. ‘There isn’t a winch on the other side, so I guess we kind of tricked you.’
Maylene did an amazing job of holding back her insults, and simple said ‘Oh.’
‘I turned the water off though,’ Brawly said. ‘Chuck should be waiting for us. Let’s go.’
Maylene began to miss her friends; they didn’t trick her into battling, they just asked. Sure, Gardenia was the prankster that always got her into trouble, but it was still a direct question when it came to battling. Brawly led her to Chuck, who stood tall waiting for them with his arms crossed.
‘There’s no greetings,’ he said. ‘You’s turn to battle her.’
‘Don’t worry,’ Brawly said to Maylene. ‘He actually can talk well, he’s probably just messing with you.’
Great. Another trick. At that moment, Maylene grew furious. Her homesickness overcame her, and it mixed with her anger. She did what she could do best. A few steps forwards, some body movement, and her fist ended up against Chuck’s face.
To everyone’s surprise, Chuck fell backwards. At first he tried to keep his balance, but the water beneath him didn’t help. His whole body created a loud thud as it smashed against the floor behind him, causing some water to splash.
‘I like you, girl!’ he shouted while still on the ground, which reminded her of Gardenia’s way of addressing people based on their gender. ‘Crasher Wake was right, but he didn’t tell me about your strength.’ He started to get up. ‘Was trying to break the ice, but I guess you do a better job at that than me.’ He began to laugh in a manner that, even though it was different than Crasher Wake’s, reminded her of her mentor. She felt an urge to punch again, but realised that everyone in the Gym was already looking at her like a villain, and more attention was not needed, even though Chuck didn’t express any disapproval.
‘Let’s go outside,’ Brawly said. ‘Chuck wants to see you battling me.’
‘Can’t Chuck say so himself?’ Maylene responded; she must get rid of Gardenia’s influence if she wanted to fit in. ‘I have to get Riolu healed first.’
Her Pokémon nodded, causing Brawly to nod back. He led her to the Pokémon Center, where the nurse was similar to the ones in Sinnoh, but not the same. Riolu got the treatment he needed, which wasn’t intensive, and followed Brawly alongside Maylene to the beach, where Chuck was waiting with another Pokémon she didn’t recognise.
It was another bulk Pokémon, but it was blue with a swirl in the center of his body. ‘Poliwrath,’ Chuck said his name to introduce him. ‘This is Maylene.’
A hint of anger returned to her; how is introducing her to the Pokémon, who should be aware that she was coming, more important than introducing the Pokémon to someone who has never seen the species before.
‘Is this the one I get to beat?’ Maylene said, mixing Gardenia with herself again, even though she was trying hard to stop it.
‘You’ll battle me actually,’ Brawly laughed. ‘Makuhita, are you ready?’
Riolu could sense that Maylene wanted to release all of her anger, and that he was the medium for her. Makuhita prepared to battle by punching the air. ‘Give your all, Maylene,’ Chuck said. ‘I want to see a real battle!’
‘Force Palm!’ Maylene commanded, catching Makuhita by surprise, and causing Brawly to react desperately.
Riolu ran forward, preparing his palm for another attack, but Makuhita managed to avoid the attack by stepping slight to the right. He brought one palm forwards, hitting it against Riolu, and the second palm followed, causing Riolu to fall back a few paces to his right.
‘Try it again!’ Maylene ordered swiftly, catching the opponents by surprise again.
This time, Riolu managed to hit. Makuhita’s body withstood the hit at first, but Riolu pushed his palm forwards, causing the attack to intense for a few more second before Makuhita was sent back a few paces as well.
‘Quick Attack, Riolu!’
The blue Pokémon used the experience he got from the running he did with Maylene as a tool to smash his body against Makuhita’s. The yellow Pokémon retaliated, and quickly punched Riolu’s head to cause him to fall to the ground, before punching his back again, causing Riolu to slam harder to the sand.
‘Arm Thrust again!’
Maylene knew that it was dangerous, but she had to risk it to win. ‘Reversal!’ she ordered, and Riolu prepared his body through breathing heavily. Makuhita’s attack hurt Riolu greatly, who accepted the attack. The spots that Makuhita had attacked flowed a white colour. The energy moved towards Riolu’s fist, which began glowing brighter than any of his other attacks.
He jumped forward and dug his fist into Makuhita’s body, whose mouth flew open to emit a painful sound, but failed. His heavy body fell to the ground, causing a loud thud and a cloud of sand to rise up before settling down. Riolu panted and smiled before looking at Maylene, who opened her arms to welcome Riolu. He ran forward and hugged his trainer.
‘I didn’t know you could make it through that one attack, but you did,’ she said. ‘I will never doubt you again.’
‘That was an excellent battle,’ Chuck stepped forward. His voice abandoned the tone it had, and was taken over by a more serious one. ‘I look forward to training you. You will fit in nicely with us.’
Maylene grinned at Chuck as she sat on the ground with Riolu in her arms. ‘I’ll be Strongest than you when I leave.’