New Home, New Life

Chapter One – New Home, New Life

“To become the Pokemon champion, we will need to travel throughout the region of Hoenn.”

Erik envisioned the island of Hoenn as he spoke, with it’s sandy beaches, warm oceans and the rough mountainous terrain towards the centre.

“We have to go to the eight gyms around the land, to defeat each gym leader in order to obtain their badge. After a trainer has obtained all eight badges, they are allowed access into the Pokemon league, where they would be met by the Elite Four. If the trainer defeats them and then the current Pokemon champion, they become the new champion.” He turned his head to look Blaze in the eye, “That is our goal.”

The delivery truck grinded to a halt, Erik grabbed hold of his Torchic tightly to stop his Pokemon being crushed by the boxes they shared the back of the truck with. A blinding light engulfed the rear of the lorry as a big muscular Pokemon employed by the delivery company opened the truck’s rear doors. The Machoke was instantly shoved aside by a woman with long dark hair and light blue eyes.

“Erik! You’re here at last!” Came the shrill cry from his mother. As Erik climbed out of the van she hugged him then dragged him inside the house before he could even get a look at his new town. Blaze followed as fast as his small legs could take him.

Upon entering the house, Erik saw two more Machoke moving furniture around, the house was nearly set up. The ground floor of the house contained two rooms. To the back of the house was an open plan kitchen preceded by the living room which contained a table, chairs, sofa, television and bookshelf. The smell of the newly painted white walls filling Erik’s nostrils as he ran up the staircase to see his new room.

Immediately after entering he noticed a huge Snorlax doll on a rug in the right hand corner, the giant blue and white creature was surrounded by ruby red cushions. In the bottom left hand corner of the room was Erik’s single bed. With a desk, bookshelf and clock in the upper left corner, Erik moved over to set it to the right time, 3 o’clock.

“All moved in!” Came the shout from his mother from the bottom of the stairs, “Your father’s friend is in town, Professor Birch is his name. He runs the Pokemon laboratory. You should go and pay him a visit Erik, he may be able to help you on your journey.”

Erik could see she was wearing her favourite red top and blue dress combination, with her deep brown hair now up in a ponytail with a bow in the front. Blaze followed Erik down the stairs, his bright orange and yellow feathers illuminating the stairway as they made their way down.

“Hopefully.” Erik smiled, before deciding he would indeed pay Birch a visit.

Littleroot town. A very small town containing only three buildings. To the north of the town lay Erik’s house on the left, and what he presumed was Professor Birch’s house to the right. Both houses were made of solid stone, each topped by a plain wooden roof. To the south was the Pokemon laboratory, again made built with concrete but this time with a yellow tiled roof.

The town itself was surrounded by thick bushes and trees, as most of Hoenn’s towns were, too thick and impassable for a human. Pokemon lived freely there undisturbed by any trainer, leaving the only way out of town to the north via a pathway.

Erik strolled over to the Pokemon laboratory and pushed his way through the door. The sharp cold air of the lab hit in hard in the face as soon as he walked in. As his eyes adjusted to the room he noticed that the lab was full of machinery and other Pokemon related tools. Erik could see a few of the machines were run down after years of Pokemon research, looking around he saw no rooms other than the single large one he stood in now.

At the far end of it stood a man in his thirties or maybe his forties in a lab coat, with jet black hair and wearing glasses which amplified the size of his dark eyes to make them bulge.

As Erik walked over to the man he heard the sound of his footsteps echoing off of the white ceramic tiles. In fact, he noticed everything in the lab was a pure, clean white. From the floor to the walls to the roof, with the only exception being the machines which were operating loudly.

“Hello young man, how may I help you?” said the man wearing the lab coat, in a stern tone.

“Hi, I take it you’re Birch?” Erik replied, causing the man to chuckle.

“No, no, I’m just his assistant, Birch hasn’t come in today. I would check his house if you’re looking for him.” The man smirked.

Without a further word Erik left the building embarrassed. Taking the advice, he headed straight to the third and final building in Littleroot, Birch’s house.

After a couple of knocks the door was opened, but not by Birch. Instead by a woman with long curled hair, wearing a pink flowery dress.

“Hello, you must be our new neighbour, Erik. I’m Mrs Birch.” The lady said with a kind smile. “My husband isn’t here at the moment but I know we would both like for you to meet our daughter. She’s around the same age as you and helps out her dad with Pokemon research, she’s upstairs at the moment, go on up.”

“Thank you,” Erik said unconvincingly, the ground floor of his neighbours house was exactly the same as his own, apart from not having a sofa. Erik quickly moved upstairs into the daughter’s room, and stopped abruptly.

Before him stood the most beautiful woman that he had ever laid eyes on. Her emerald green eyes finding his, leading her mouth to form a dazzling smile. She was wearing a crimson red sleeveless top, with white shorts and black tights. Around her waist was a yellow and black bag, matching the colour of her heavy walking shoes.

She swished her hair backwards, which was light brown and parted at the front. The back was tied up with a bow and the rest flowing down to her shoulders.

“Are you just going to stare or are you going to introduce herself?” she said with a wink that made Erik’s heart flutter.

“Erm, err,” Erik stumbled over his words, “I’m Erik, I’ve, err, just moved in.”

“I guessed you were our new neighbour. I’m May, by the way.” Her voice was high pitched and innocent, “my dad told me a new boy was moving in next to us, I was hoping he was nice so we can become friends.”

That sentence made Erik’s heart drop, she just wanted to be friends? But she was so perfect…

Seeing Erik was staying silent, May carried on, “b-but that’s just silly isn’t it, I’ve only just met you,” she giggled and hid her face with her hands, but Erik could see her blushing underneath them.

“Oh no I forgot! I was supposed to go and help my dad with his Pokemon research!” She bolted from the room before Erik could say anything more.

Erik sat on his bed, unable to get May out of his mind. He had only met her a couple of hours ago, but she was all he had thought about since. The cute voice, the way she laughed, the emerald beauties that were her eyes.

He tried to shake the thoughts from his head, to no avail, deciding instead to leave the house and go north to Route 101 hoping to find Birch and possibly see May again.

The towns of Hoenn were linked by routes, which came in various shapes, sizes and terrain. Each route was allocated a number to identify it by, and the rules of Hoenn stated each trainer can only catch one Pokemon per route, and that must be the first Pokemon that you encounter on it.

“Help!” came a cry as Erik entered Route 101, the grassy path that linked Littleroot town with neighbours Oldale town.

His eyes were drawn to the scene. A man with greying hair and matching coloured chinstrap beard was running in circles, being chased by a wild Poochyena.

“Blaze, save him!” Erik shouted to his Torchic, who responded instantly. His Pokemon shot a ball of fire at the Poochyena. The wild hound retaliated by switching his attention to Blaze,  slamming it’s body into him. Blaze recoiled but recovered by blasting another flame ball at the hound, finishing it off.

“You really are the spitting image of Norman,” the man exclaimed as he dusted himself down,  “your father and I grew up together. We have known each other since our school days. I’m Professor Birch by the way, and thank you for saving me.” The old man smiled, although Erik had already guessed it was Birch before the man had even spoken by the lab coat he was wearing.

“With battling skills like that, and seeing how much your Torchic respects you, I can tell that you truly are your fathers son.” The professor stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts, before continuing, “I know how I can thank you. Come back to my laboratory a little later, whilst I prepare a little present for you. My daughter May is on Route 103 at the moment, just north of Oldale town. She always needs a helping hand with her research if you need something to do to pass the time.”

And with that, the Professor was off as if nothing had happened, before Erik could even manage a goodbye.

“Runs in the family I suppose,” he thought to himself, before he began trekking through the Route in order to reach Oldale town. The journey through the Route was disappointingly uneventful, but a relief for Erik was that no wild Pokemon had sprung out on him. If one had he would have to take his dad’s advice, “To catch a wild Pokemon you must first prove yourself worthy of being it’s new trainer. Then once it has accepted you as it’s trainer, throw a Pokeball at it, which will act as the Pokemon’s new home”. Before he remembered he had no Pokeballs.

“Hi there, I work at the Pokemart!” a man wearing a blue apron over a red and white chequered shirt declared, running up to Erik as he entered Oldale town. The Pokemart employee’s chocolate brown hair was long enough to almost cover his eyes.

“From what I can see you’re a novice trainer, so I will help you out with some useful advice being the kindhearted man that I am.”

“Okay,” Erik said cautiously, considering for a second whether he should try ignoring the man and walking on. In the end, he stayed to hear what the exuberant man had to say.

“First of all,” the employee started, pointing over to a building in the upper left of the town,   “that’s a Pokemart there, just look for the blue roof. We sell all kinds of Pokemon goods, from potions to Pokeballs. If you ever need any Pokemon gear come to us!”

The man then reached into the front of his apron and pulled out two purple and white sprays, known as potions. These were used as healing items and if sprayed on a Pokemon’s wounds would help cleanse them.

“I would also like you to have these as part of a special promotion!” Before handing the two potions to Erik. “Also, over there is the Pokemon Centre.” He said pointing to the building in the bottom left of the town, with the same pure white stone as the other buildings in the town, but this one was differentiated with a scarlet roof.

“You can identify a Pokemon centre by it’s red roof. If you go into there they will heal any injuries your Pokemon have picked up for free. Be wary however, each Pokemon Centre has limited uses . They are on tight budgets you know. Anyway that’s all from me, have a great time in Oldale town, my friend!”

The man ran off back to the Pokemart. Erik followed him into the shop.

Erik noticed that Oldale was only slightly larger than Littleroot town. With two houses made from wooden logs in the corners that the Pokemart and Pokemon Centre didn’t occupy. In the middle of the town lay a blooming flowerbed, full of buttercups, daisies and tulips. The flowers were ringed by a wooden fence, and looked to have been well kept by the local populace.

“Hello again my friend!” the employee greeted him once more as Erik entered, “How can I help you today?”

“I was just looking for some Pokeballs, please.” Erik replied.

“Sorry, all out of stock. We do however hav-” He was about to continue before Erik interrupted

“Nevermind I only had enough money for a couple of Pokeballs.” He then walked off, not wanting to be dragged into yet another conversation with the overly happy employee.

“Rude,” he heard the employee say as he left the building, but Erik didn’t care. He was in a rush, he wanted to go north up to Route 103 to see May again.

Erik ambled onto Route 103, cautious of his new surroundings. The Route seemed to ascend steeply in places until it reached the summit of a hill. Where May was standing.

“Hey there!” May shouted down to him.

“Hello,” he managed to squeeze out as he walked up to join her, still nervous and uncomfortable around the woman he found so beautiful. Her reflection glistening in the pond she was standing next to.

“My dad gave me a Pokemon to help with my research. Say hello to my Mudkip!” May said excitedly, moving aside to show off a pale blue creature. The Pokemon letting out a quiet growl as it sighted Erik.

He had never seen a Mudkip before, the Pokemon’s jet black eyes staring straight at him. From the colour of it’s skin and the fin on it’s back, Erik could tell the creature was a water type Pokemon. Meaning it would be strong against his Torchic’s fire type.

“Why don’t we go ahead and have a quick friendly battle. Although an unofficial one so if one of our Pokemon looks to be taking a beating then we call it quits?” she asked, to which Erik nodded in response without thinking.

“Stupid,” he thought to himself, “Blaze doesn’t stand a chance here.”

“Great!” she screeched, “Mudkip. Go get him!”

“Blaze, your fire will be weak against it, so use your claws instead!” Erik ordered his Torchic, who responded instantly.

The Mudkip didn’t like being clawed at, retaliating by slamming her body into Blaze. Erik’s Pokemon followed by scratching at the water creature again. Mudkip slammed back into Blaze who was thrown back, teetering on the edge of the pool. Erik knew if his Pokemon fell into it, he was dead.

Mudkip’s animalistic instincts took over, throwing her body once again into Blaze to try and push him into the pool.

Blaze dodged out the way causing a splash as Mudkip crashed into the water.

May’s Pokemon recovered quickly in her natural environment and leapt out to again throw her body at Blaze. This time Erik’s Torchic reacted quickly, blasting fire at the oncoming Mudkip.

“Mudkip come back!” May screamed, ending the battle there and then.

“Seeing as I lost the battle, I’ll use my potions to heal our Pokemon. Well done Erik, I’m impressed. You’re quite the trainer, no wonder my dad is keeping his eye on you.”

“He is?” Erik blurted, more with surprise than anything.

“Oh yes. He sees great potential in you,” she said, eyes widened, “I can see how strong your bond is with your Torchic, it’s so impressive.” She giggled at the end of her sentence, the sound music to Erik’s ears.

“I’m going to head back to the laboratory now. I’ll catch you later, Erik.” She smiled as she strutted off, Erik wanted to say something back but was lost for words, finding himself staring into the pond for a moment, before suddenly remembering Birch had told him to come back to the lab for a present.

Erik jumped back down over the ledges that made up the hilly rise after May.

“Erik? What’s wrong?” She exclaimed with a confused look on her face as she saw him running after her, clearly startled.

“Your dad asked me to go see him at the laboratory, so I thought I would walk back with you.”

“Oh okay,” she replied still looking taken aback.

They began walking back to Littleroot town through Route 101, an awkward silence engulfing the both of them as they trekked through the grassy terrain of the path between towns.

The journey seemed to go on forever without a word spoken between the two. Until they eventually reached the lab.

“Good work Erik, May is quite the trainer you know.” Birch afforded Erik a smile as his daughter told him of the battle that had played out. “I already knew your potential when your father told me you had beaten him to obtain your licence. But to see you fight in person, saving me from a wild Pokemon attack and then beating my daughter in battle…”  He stopped to pull out a rectangular red device from his labcoat.

“This here is a Pokedex. A very rare device that will identify any Pokemon you encounter, as well as recording the data of any Pokemon that you capture with a Pokeball, which would help me with my research and benefit us both I think.” He said with a cheeky smile. ”I see you going very far indeed Erik.”

“Thank you professor,” Erik’s smile beamed at Birch, it meant a lot to him that someone as knowledge about Pokemon as Birch had such belief in him.

“I have a Pokedex too!” chirped May, “here, have ten Pokeballs to help you out Erik, seeing as you’re helping us out by collecting Pokedex data.” She smiled as she handed over a pouch of ten balls. “What are you going to do now?”

Before Erik could reply, Birch butted in, “he’s going to Rustboro city of course, that’s where the first gym is.” The professor shifted his gaze to Erik. “To get there you will have to go through Oldale town, to Petalburg city and then through Petalburg woods.”

“My dad’s gym is in Petalburg.” Erik’s heart dropped as he realised he would have to eventually challenge his dad one day, the fifth gym of the eight.

“Yes, but you cannot challenge him until you have the previous four badges, as much as you want to.”

“I know. I think I will go home and get some sleep and leave for Rustboro in the morning.” Erik said before strolling off, a foul mood now overcoming him at the thought of encountering his father again. His journey would begin the next day.

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