The Pocket Monster Diaries, Part 8
Before I went to challenge the Pewter Gym, I thought it would be prudent to go heal up my Pokemon. The forest wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared, but those Bug Catchers had gotten a few decent hits in. And by that I mean that Mr. Suds still had some String Shot stuck to his shell, and I think Chuckles may have scuffed his paw after punching all those Kakunas in the face. Truly, this world is dark and full of peril.
Before I could heal my charges, however, I was accosted by this strange woman.
“Why hello there! I’d love to hear your profile! Come on, don’t be shy!”
“Huh? My profile? Wait, are you promoting that new social networking thing, Smeargle+? Because right now I am perfectly happy with AerialAceBoo-”
“Your profile! So much fun! It lets people know about you!” She shoved a strange looking tablet-device into my hands. It seemed to be asking me to create a profile from a list of preset phrases. I quickly tapped a couple that sounded good and handed it back to her.
Geez, how did that happen? I really hope G’yorp’s speech patterns aren’t rubbing off on me…
“Um, yeah, no problem, now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got things to do and a Gym Leader to be crushed by, so…”
After leaving the Pokemon Center, I strolled around town aimlessly for a while. Partly out of curiosity, and partly to postpone my inevitable beat down, I decided to check out the Pewter Museum. It looked like a pretty informative place. But ultimately, what I found there raised more questions than it answered. Specifically, it made me question my powers of spacial perception.
As well as any preconceived notions I had about the nature of time and reality.
Shaking off these troubling existential questions for now, I stepped back into the forest for a brief training session. Mr. Suds, Chuckles, and JitterBug got the chance to butt heads with some Metapods and Kakunas, which let me check that their fighting form was still up to par, plus it blew off some steam and helped me be a little less nervous. But only a little.
After another quick top-up at the Pokemon Center, I finally made my way over to the Gym . I suppose it had to come to this eventually. Time to cut the bullshit. I took a deep breath and stepped inside.
Brock’s gym was…less impressive than I had imagined.
That may have had something to do with the gravel strewn about on the floor, or the rocks which were just laying around at random intervals, which were probably meant to look rugged and intense but really just made me think that they had a terminally lazy interior decorator. Or perhaps it was the fact that the man himself was standing at the far side of the Gym floor, trying his best to look tough even though his “entourage” consisted entirely of a scrawny, pallid kid slightly younger than me sulking off to my left. I’ll admit, I hadn’t been sure what to expect from my first gym, but it definitely wasn’t two dudes moping around in some gravel pit.
And I certainly wasn’t expecting this:
But this insult only strengthened my resolve. Damnit, I was better than that twig-eating halfwit, and now it was time for the world to know. I adjusted my trainer’s cap to a sufficiently bellicose angle,
fingered my balls uh, made sure that my Pokeballs were firmly attached to my belt, and started the long walk towards the Gym Leader. Halfway across the room, the little guy stepped forward to challenge me.
He threw some lame taunts at me, but I payed no attention. This was no time for games. I just wanted to see what he was going to use as his opener. Fortunately, he was eager to get started and sent out his Geodude without waiting for me to make a move. I considered my options carefully. My instincts told me that this guy was more of a threat than the Bug Catchers, but still a small fry in the grand scheme of things. JitterBug should be able to easily handle him while keeping herself safe, which would allow Chuckles and Mr. Suds to conserve their strength for Brock.
“JitterBug! Do it!” My Butterfree yawned and stretched her wings as she was summoned to the field.
“Oh wow, you really must be new at this.” my opponent crowed. “Don’t you know that Butterfree is a Bug/Flying type? That’s a quadruple weakness to Rock! Geodude is gonna send you into orbit!”
“Oh no!” I slapped my palms to the sides of my face in a Culkin-esque gesture. “I didn’t know that! JitterBug, did you know that?”
JitterBug stared at me while hovering in the air, her left antenna twitching slightly.
Winston, this guy is pathetic. Can I just trounce him already? I was having an awesome dream.
In a minute. I’m having too much fun.
“So what Rock move are you going to use to obliterate us? Rock Throw? Rollout? The suspense is killing me.”
The trainer glanced over at his Geodude, then back at me. “Well, I…I mean…he doesn’t exactly know any-”
“Oh no! My Geodude didn’t even clear the asteroid belt!”
“Uhh…yeah. Whatever. You have any more Pokemon left?”
“Okay, um…Sandshrew, maybe? Get ready to launch in t-minus ten, nine, eight…”
I sighed deeply.
As his last Pokemon fell unconscious, the trainer removed himself from my path. “You’re not bad. I guess you might have what it takes to face Brock after all. Mission Control, clear the Gym Leader LZ for incoming Pokemon trainer.”
“Listen, I hate to break this to you but-”
“Good job, JitterBug, you can go back to your nap now. Hopefully, I won’t need you for this next part.”
I stepped up to face the big cheese himself.
Chuckles was up first. His opponent was a Geodude.
“Chucks, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. Karate Chop to the brain pan. Don’t let up until you’re KO’d or he stops moving. Go.”
He gave only the briefest of nods before springing into action. The Geodude swung at him with it’s brawny stone fists, but Chuckles was fast. Like, really fast. And he knew what he was doing. He would dodge a few wild, swinging punches, get into position, and deliver a devastating chop right between the Geodude’s eyes. A few times his recklessness earned him a wince-inducing punch to the ribs or back, but he didn’t let it slow him down. After two Karate Chops to the same area, the Geodude was starting to show some cracks. When the third landed, a large chunk of its cranium shattered, spraying chips of stone in every direction.
At first, my game-face almost slipped when I feared that I had killed the poor thing. But upon closer inspection, the only thing inside its fractured skull was…more rock. In fact its head was pretty much indistinguishable from a rock in every way. The enemy Pokemon collapsed in a heap, all the while quietly muttering “Geo…dude…Geo…” under its breath. Brock recalled his fainted combatant.
“I’ll admit that you aren’t as awful as I thought you would be,” said Brock, “but your Mankey looks pretty worn out, all the same.”
It was true. He was panting heavily, and sporting some nasty bruises. I knew he could fight some more, and would, if I let him, but it was a risk I really didn’t want to take.
“…and Geodude was only the warm-up round. Now that I’ve measured your strength, it’s time to crush you completely! ONIX, GO!”
“Chuckles…you did good. Take a break, little buddy.” I knew Chuckles wouldn’t want to quit now, so before he could react I recalled him to his Pokeball.
“Mr. Suds…I’ve been saving you for this. It’s do or die, now.”
The thing that came out of his Pokeball was far, far larger than any Pokemon ought to be. I knew that some Pokemon could grow to truly impressive sizes, and I had seen videos of course, but Onix was by far the largest Pokemon I had ever beheld in person. It was a truly pants-dampening experience.
Slowly, almost leisurely, the Onix began to uncoil itself, rising up five feet…ten feet…fifteen…until the spike on top of its head was nearly brushing the ceiling of the cavernous Gym hall. Brock looked directly at me.
“Listen…I’ve done this a hundred times, and I just want you to know…I don’t have anything personal against you or your Pokemon. I’m sorry about this.” He returned his gaze upward, towards his granite monstrosity. “Onix, tackle!”
It moved incredibly fast for something so large. I was about to shout something to Mr. Suds, anything, but before the words could reach my lips, the immense stone tail had already lifted off the ground and slammed down with blinding speed, impacting the ground with a force that shook dust from the rafters and nearly knocked me off my feet.
When I had regained my balance, I looked to where Mr. Suds had been standing, and there was nothing. He was gone. The breath caught in my throat, and for a moment I had no idea what to do. Without Mr. Suds, I wouldn’t even be a trainer. As much as I had come to rely on JitterBug and Chuckles, carrying on without him was unimaginable. I was speechless.
Onix lifted its tail slowly, and as he did I saw Mr. Suds’ shell, crushed into a shallow depression and surrounded by large cracks where it had come between the tons of rock that made up Onix’s tail and the Gym floor. There was no sign of the turtle himself. I morbidly wondered if he had been smashed to jelly, leaving only the shell behind.
Then, so slowly I almost thought I was imagining it, I saw a curly blue tail emerge. It was followed by two legs, and then an arm, and then another. Finally, Mr. Suds’ shiny blue head emerged as he pushed himself up from the floor. He wobbled slightly as he drew himself up to standing , but he did not fall. I leapt in the air and whooped for joy.
“You’re alive! Yes! Mr. Suds, you’re the greatest!” It seemed that Mr. Suds had grown tougher since we first began battling together.
A lot tougher.
“Mr. Suds! I want you to Bubble the ever-loving piss out of that rock monster!”
The tail came down again, but Mr. Suds was ready this time, and nimbly dodged to the side before spewing a stream of bubbles at his opponent. As they popped, they covered Onix’s rocky skin in a sheen of moisture that caused it to writhe in pain.
“Yes! It’s working! Keep it up, Mr. Suds!”
The Onix thrashed and twisted with agony, recklessly diving at Mr. Suds, but once again he avoided the clumsy attack and the Onix’s weighty head crashed to the floor. Mr. Suds unleashed a spray of bubbles into the side of its face, point blank, which caused the Onix to rear up and bellow before finally falling limp and unmoving on the ground.
“All right! That’s another one down, and we’re gonna…wait a minute. It’s over already?”
Brock recalled his Onix with a long suffering sigh. “Yep, looks like that’s about it for this match. Good job. Here’s your Boulder Badge.” He took something shiny out of his pocket and tossed it at me. Fortunately, I was able to barely make the catch without embarrassing myself.
I stared down at the brand new Boulder Badge in my hands. “So…that’s seriously it. After all that build up? It’s over? I can leave now?”
“Yeah, good job, you beat the rock Gym. Lah-dee-fuckin’-dah, go brag to your little trainer friends or something.”
“But…I heard you were really strong!”
“Well, that’s what we want people to think. But in reality, this Gym is rock themed, so all my Pokemon are Rock/Ground types, which means they have a quadruple weakness to Water and Grass. Most trainers who’ve been on the scene for a while know that pretty much any moron can waltz in here with a Water Pokemon and wipe the floor with me. As you’ve just demonstrated.”
I brushed off the implied insult for now. “I thought you had to be a pretty formidable fighter to become a Gym Leader.”
Brock sighed again. He probably wished I would just leave already. “Listen, kid, I used to think the same thing. Technically there’s nothing to stop you from being a Gym Leader and making a run at League Champion. But you need to stick to a single type in order to get approved by the League council. Trust me, I must have pitched my idea for a multi-type gym a hundred times. But, this is the Gym that my dad ran, so it’s the Gym that I run now. And that means I have to use all Rock types, which just happen to be weak to two of the most common Pokemon types there are. Hence your victory today. Is it a shitty job? Yeah, it is. But somebody’s got to do it in order for the League to function the way it does.” After his tirade was complete, he sat down on a nearby rock. All of a sudden he looked very tired.
“Wow…I had no idea you guys had it so rough.”
“It’s certainly not all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, when you’re young, everybody wants to be a Gym Leader. The fame, the followers, the respect…but it didn’t work out that way. Two weeks ago someone came in here…some punk from Cerulean. He swept my whole Gym with…with a…” He was facing away from me, but it sounded like he was choking up a bit.
“…with a Goldeen.”
Ouch. I felt awful. Even Mr. Suds looked slightly less exultant in his victory after hearing that. I couldn’t say why, exactly, but I was suddenly moved to compassion by Brock’s plight.
“Well that’s BULLSHIT!” My voice echoed loudly in the now empty Gym. It seemed like the trainer with the Geodude had gone home for the day. “What a dumbass system! Everybody knows you need a diverse team to win battles!”
“It sucks, but that’s just the way it’s done. The way it’s always been done.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it!”
Brock turned around on his rock suddenly.
“And what DO you have to say about it? Who the hell are you, anyway?”
“I’m Trainer Winston, from Pallet Town! I’m gonna beat the shit out of the Elite Four, I’m gonna become the new champion, and I’m going to make them pull their heads out of their asses and change these stupid fucking rules!”
Brock eyed me for a moment, as if he was trying to determine whether I was sincere or not.
“Well…you’ve got some spirit in you, at least. Even in that joke of a fight, I could tell you had some pretty good moves. Hell, you just might have a shot. Here, take this.”
He handed me a plastic jewel case. The CD inside had “TM 39: ROCK TOMB” written on it in black Sharpie.
“That’s Rock Tomb. It’s actually a pretty shitty move.”
“Yeah, I’d be surprised if you use it even one time. I mean, Rock Throw’s got better accuracy, and Rock Slide is pretty much better in every way. But who knows, it could help you become the Champion someday.”
“Well I suppose it’s the thou-”
“That’s only if you beat all the other Gym leaders, though. The real ones, not pushovers like me. They might only use one type, but some of them are still pretty horrifyingly strong. I had a buddy once, built up a crack team of Pokemon, only to have them all slaughtered in a single Gym Battle. Broke his spirit, that did. He moved away to live on a farm and pick Pecha Berries somewhere. Never battled again, as far as I know.”
“Ah…I see. I’ll make sure to give it-”
“And if you do get to the Elite Four? Oh man! Let’s just say there’s a reason they hold those battles behind closed doors. I’ve been in the League building a few times, when I got my Gym Leader’s license, and those walls were thick. Couldn’t hear a thing that was happening on the other side, and I’m pretty sure they’re built that way for a reason, you know what I’m saying? You have to sign a waiver a mile long before they even let you set foot in the damn place. Absolves them of all legal responsibility for your personal safety, mental health, bodily dismemberment…and I hear they’ve got the janitorial staff sworn to a vow of silence. Like monks. Now why would that be? Unless, of course, it was so they could clean up the-”
“OKAY, well, thanks, thanks for your time, and your disk thingy, and your…advice, and I’ll definitely, definitely let you know, if I…win all that stuff. But for now, my Pokemon really need some rest, and I need to…think about some things, so I’ve gotta get going. Take care now. Mr. Suds, let’s go.” Mr. Suds took a few steps after me, swayed a bit, and almost fell to the floor. I guess he was still a little bit concussed from that impact earlier. “No problem…nothing the Pokemon Center can’t fix.” I scooped him up in my arms and started carrying him towards the door. As my feet crunched across the gravel, I heard Brock call from where he was still sitting on his rock.
“Good luck, Trainer Winston…you’re gonna need a hell of a lot of it.”
Posted on August 12, 2011, in The Pocket Monster Diaries and tagged Brock, Butterfree, Diary, Game Boy Advance, Geodude, Leaf Green, Let's Play, Mankey, Nuzlocke, Onix, Pokemon, Screenshot, Space, Squirtle. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.