“I want to become the best Pokemon trainer the world has ever seen!”
As a child, Erik’s dream was like any other. He wanted to beat the Elite Four, defeat the current World Champion and become the best Pokemon trainer on the planet.
Growing up in the region of Kanto was tough – travel between towns was dangerous and crime ran rampant. But the main reason was that he rarely got to see his father, a gym leader in the distant land of Hoenn.
His mother tried to persuade him to take a different path, wanting her son to become a doctor or a scientist, anything other than a Pokemon trainer.
“Everyone wants to capture Pokemon and use them as pets or to battle with them Erik. But not very many people get that far before they get their licence taken away,” she would frequently say to him.
“But Daddy is one of Hoenn’s eight gym leaders, he’ll make sure I become the best!” was always Erik’s reply. But as he got older and saw his father less and less, his positive outlook on life and youthful enthusiasm was slowly curbed.
Into his teenage years Erik still studied for his Pokemon licence, which involved series of tests a potential Pokemon trainer must take to prove they are worthy of becoming one.
“As soon as I’m old enough to take the tests I’ll pass them, my sixteenth birthday is only a year away now,” Erik promised himself.
“Team Rocket have struck again!” blasted the news presenter one chilly Autumn morning, late into Erik’s fifteenth year of life.
“This time a group of six Rocket members unleashed their Pokemon, believed to be Zubats, on a shop owner in Saffron city, using the distraction to steal cash and store products. Police are investigating the latest incident in what is an ever growing crime wave.”
“Wait, the shop they stole from is “Taylor’s Pokemon Accessories”, that’s a two minute walk from here!” Erik blurted out, shocked that the crime wave was occurring so close to where he and his mother lived. “I’m going to take down Team Rocket and save this city, I’ll be a hero!” Erik thought to himself, “all I need to do is pass my test and get my licence.”
It wasn’t just Kanto that was facing problems from the criminal gang, but the neighbouring Johto region too, amongst many others.
“These gangs are everywhere nowadays,” his mother would remark each time she saw a news story on the subject, “they use their Pokemon as weapons, and your common man like that poor shop owner cannot stand against them.”
Erik had resolved to fix the problem himself.
It was the day of his sixteenth birthday, and Erik stared at the test centre through his ocean blue eyes. He noticed how plain the building looked, located on the edge of the Viridian city, the test centre was made with plain white stone, and although it was a rather large building, there were few windows. Erik went to run his fingers through his hair until he remembered he was wearing the hat he had gotten today as a present from his mother.
“I’ll always wear this hat to remember you when I’m rich and famous,” Erik informed her as he left the house that day. He reached into his lime green backpack (another present from his mother for his birthday) to withdraw his provisional licence and strolled up to the front entrance. He pushed his way through the small red door and entered the test centre, whereupon he was immediately greeted by a tall man with short brown hair who looked to be in his early thirties.
“Hello! May I see your provisional licence please?” the man inquired before grabbing it out of Erik’s hand. “Ahh, Erik. Yes I remember, your test is today. I’m Nigel and will be your examiner.” Nigel extended his hand which Erik grabbed and shook, his examiner seemed to be so enthusiastic that his burly frame could burst at any second.
“Ahh nice firm handshake,” Nigel remarked, “Please follow me to the waiting room.”
The walk to the waiting room took place without further conversation as Erik’s focus remained firmly on the task at hand. Walking at his own pace as he refused to even attempt to match Nigel’s large strides, they embarked through a series of small corridors. The whole building having painted white stone walls with chestnut brown wooden doors dotted here and there. Nigel stopped at one such door and opened it, showing Erik into a small room. Again the stone walls were painted clean white, with the only feature of the room being the red cushioned sofas – of which there were two.
“This is the waiting room, the door opposite this room leads to where your test will take place,” Nigel informed Erik with his deep, booming voice. “I know you may already know the ins and outs of a Pokemon licence and the test, but let me explain them to you anyway just to make things clear. If you pass today and obtain your licence, you can begin battling and capturing Pokemon. Obviously, nowadays Pokemon battles are a case of last man standing, and if someone loses all their Pokemon in a battle, they lose.”
All of this was information Erik already knew, but he continued to listen anyway.
“If a trainer loses all of their Pokemon, and they have none remaining in storage – their licence is forfeited. This means that they cannot retake the test for a further year,” Nigel took a breath before continuing, he did like to speak quickly, ”if a trainer loses a licence three times, or fails the test for a third time, they cannot try and obtain one again as they have proven themselves unfit to handle Pokemon.”
Erik took a moment to process the information, all of which he had already read in books but hearing it said aloud was another thing entirely. Nigel gave Erik a few seconds before continuing..
“Finally, you will be given a device to put around your wrist that cannot be taken off. This lets us know if you are breaking any rules regarding Pokemon. The device will vibrate when it detects another trainer’s device within a certain distance, and if you wish to challenge that trainer to a battle press the middle button on the device. Obviously they can do the same to you, and if either trainer rejects the battle they will face disciplinary action and be forced to explain why they rejected it. So in short, if you are challenged to a battle you have no choice other than to accept!” Nigel seemed to find that funny, his laughter like an explosion.
“Okay that’s all, sorry for going on! I’ll just go and prepare your test for you now.”
Nigel departed the room giving Erik a lot to think about, he didn’t know that he would be forced to battle if another trainer wanted to, what if his Pokemon were injured after a long battle before and someone took advantage of this? He shook his head, “any doubt in my mind will make me fail this test.”
Before long Nigel returned, “Your tests are ready, there will be three of them,” the man’s deep voice echoed around the room. “The first test will be a Pokemon knowledge test, the second a task to show whether you can care for a Pokemon or not. The third will be a mock battle. Obviously you will have to pass all three of these tests to obtain your licence. Good luck, and follow me.”
Erik followed Nigel out the room and back into the corridor. The examiner heading straight to the door opposite, which did indeed lead to the test area. The space in which his exam would take place was infact a giant, poorly lit room. In the centre was a battle stage, although with a hole in the middle of it, with a golden podium on either side, the podium to the right containing three Pokeballs – spherical objects which housed a single Pokemon. The podium to the left containing only two of these balls. Nigel pointed to the podium on the left hand side, requesting Erik to ascend onto it.
“Ready for the first test? It’s General knowledge! First question – which of these types are effective to use against a water Pokemon? – Fire, Electric or Rock?”
“This is easy,” Erik thought to himself, “electric.” He shouted confidently.
“Zubat,” Erik answered, a lot calmer this time.
A minute passed and Erik had answered all ten questions thrown his way. “You only needed to get eight out of the ten correct to pass but you managed all ten. Congratulations!” Nigel boomed, “now for round two.”
The ground seemed to shake from under him, causing Erik to grab onto the podium. He looked back up to the centre of the room, where the hole that had previously been there had been replaced by a small white round table. An injured bug was was lying there, which Erik identified as a Weedle. The Pokemon was surrounded by three items.
Erik slowly walked up to the injured Pokemon and noticed the three items on the table were in fact a potion, a handful of small red berries in a bowl and a Pokeball.
“This Pokemon is injured, starving and craving to be given a home!” Nigel shouted, “your task is to help him in that order.”
“This is horrible,” Erik thought to himself, “did they injure the Weedle themselves just to test a potential trainer?”
He set about his task despite his thoughts. Firstly, he applied the potion to Weedle’s wounds which instantly began to heal. After which he began feeding the Pokemon the bowl of small red berries, known as “Oran berries”, to quench it’s hunger.
Finally, Erik opened up the Pokeball. Usually he would have to throw the Pokeball at the Pokemon, hoping that the creature he was trying to capture would accept its new home, otherwise it would break free of its spherical prison. But this Weedle already seemed to accept Erik, so went inside without hesitation.
“He’s accepted you, that’s a good sign!” Nigel exclaimed overenthusiastically as always, “well done, task two achieved with perfection. Now for your final test.”
Erik was now brimming with confidence. “Battling has always been my biggest strength,” he knew, “time to get myself a Pokemon licence!”
Without being told to do so, Erik walked back up onto the podium and was stunned to see Nigel unmoved from the edge of the arena.
“Aren’t you going up there?” Erik inquired.
“No,” Nigel responded, “I am not to be your opponent.”
Erik heard a door slam from the other side of the room, but it was too dark to see who had come out of it. A figure cloaked in the shadows moved towards the podium in a calm, confident manner. The newcomer stepping up onto the opposite podium. As the figure stepped into the light beaming up from the podium, it revealed a man in his forties with dark, thinning hair and ocean blue eyes that matched Erik’s perfectly.
“Dad?” came Erik’s stunned reply, “what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to test out your abilities for myself, and as a gym leader the test centre allowed me to do so.”
Nigel interrupted the conversation, “Erik vs Norman, begin!” His voice so deep it even echoed around this much larger room. Without hesitation, Erik’s father picked up one of the Pokeballs and threw it into the arena. Out came a small flying Pokemon, known as Spearow. As Erik went to reach for one of his two Pokeballs, Nigel interrupted again, “No! Use your Weedle!”
Erik was stunned, flying Pokemon were strong against bug types, leaving his father with a clear advantage and seeing as Spearow was also much faster, could attack before Weedle even had time to think.
“Spearow, peck him!” came the order from Norman, his Spearow responding instantly, flying in for the kill.
Erik quickly shook a thousand thoughts out of his head, and forced himself to focus on the battle.
“Quick Weedle, use string shot and slow him down!” But it was too late, Erik’s Pokemon was already laying lifeless on the floor.
Erik couldn’t believe they battled to the death in the test centre like they did in the outside world, something strange must be going on.
He reached for another Pokeball. Choosing the one to the left, he threw it onto the stage. A Mankey had laid inside, the small furry Pokemon that was incredibly quick to anger.
“No..” Erik thought, “Mankey is a fighting type Pokemon, also weak to flying attacks…”
“Spearow, peck him again!” shouted his father.
“Mankey, scratch him!” was Erik’s counter move.
However, the Spearow was too quick again and Mankey was down on the floor. Erik thought he had lost his second Pokemon.
But the Mankey proved him wrong. Enraged, the fighting type leapt to the floor, moving to scratch the bird, hitting his target. Spearow was taken aback, but moved in and pecked again, finishing the weakened Mankey off.
“Final Pokemon now. I can’t lose this…” Erik whispered, before picking up the final Pokeball on his podium.
He threw the ball onto the stage, out came another bird pokemon, but this one with more meat on it than the Spearow. Erik’s Pokemon was a Pidgey.
“Flying vs flying, and his Spearow has taken a hit from Mankey already. I can do this!” Erik thought to himself again, and so it proved true. Although the Spearow was faster and managed to peck at Pidgey, a gust of wind summoned from Erik’s Pokemon’s wings was enough to slam the Spearow back into the ground, crushing the life of out his father’s fighter.
Norman picked up another one of his Pokeballs and threw it onto the stage, out came a Caterpie.
“Yes!” Erik’s thoughts screamed inside his head. “A bug Pokemon, this time I have the type advantage!”
He instructed his Pidgey to send a gust of wind at the small green caterpillar. The attack proving too much for the Caterpie and left his father down to his final Pokemon.
“Very good son, but not good enough I’m afraid.” Norman taunted, speaking to his son for the first time since the battle started, before picking up his final ball and throwing it. A Rattata emerging from within.
“Hmm..” Erik considered, “that small purple rodent is a normal type, which means neither him nor Pidgey have the advantage here.”
“Bite him Rattata!”
“Use gust Pidgey!”
Pidgey was faster, striking first. However, the Rattata recovered to sink his teeth into Erik’s last hope. The two Pokemon returned to their side of the arena, followed by the two trainers instructing their Pokemon to use the same moves again. Pidgey again hit Rattata which sent the small rodent flying into Norman’s podium, the Pokemon slouching against the ground. Erik allowed himself a smile, holding himself back from bursting into a cheer of sheer elation before a movement caught his eye, the Rattata was alive and on his Pidgey, sinking his fangs into the bird, crushing Erik’s dreams. He had failed the test.
“Taylor’s Pokemon Accessories,” Erik remarked as he strolled past his place of work the past two years as he walked the streets of Saffron city with his mother.
Since losing to his father two years ago, he had cut all contact with him. He hated his father for destroying his dream.
Becoming a Pokemon trainer was no longer his goal, he had given up on that. The cheery enthusiasm he had as a child was also now completely diminished.
Erik worked as a shop assistant in the local accessory store, helping to sell all sorts of Pokemon products such as themed tables, cushions, dolls and other similar items, he now hoped to one day become a doctor or a scientist, just like his mother had always wanted him to.
“How was work today?” Erik’s mother asked him in her usual softly spoken, sweet tone.
Before Erik could reply his mother continued, “I’m so glad you’re going for a proper career rather than trying to become a Pokemon trainer now. That path would only lead to more pain, your father always told me how much loss you experience as a full-fledged trainer.” She was playing with her pearl necklace as she spoke, the one Norman bought for her before Erik had even been born.
“Norman ruined that path for me, don’t even mention him,” Erik felt anger rising at the thought of his father.
“I wish you would refer to him as your father,” his mother sighed, before realising that was a fruitless request.
Suddenly, a blue and purple flying creature zoomed past, knocking her to the floor.
Erik spun around to see another Zubat heading straight for him. Diving out of the way he began moving towards his mother until a Rattata jumped up and bit him on the leg, with the Zubat he had previously dodged coming back around and knocking him to the floor.
“Help!” came a cry in a softly spoken voice, but it was hopeless as Erik tried to free himself of the Rattata’s grip on his leg. To no avail.
A man dressed all in black grabbed Erik’s mother and ripped the necklace right off, running away before recalling his Pokemon.
Erik sprinted after him, running through one of the dark, dank alleyways of Saffron city. He rounded a corner whereupon two Zubats flew at Erik, razor-sharp fangs bared.
“Growlithe, use ember!” a shout came from behind Erik.
Suddenly a bright orange flame roared past him, hitting one of the Zubats, causing the other to fly away. By the time Erik’s eyes adjusted to the returning darkness of the alleyway, he could see no sign of the man that attacked and stole from his mother.
“Another victim of a Team Rocket attack, these incidents are getting more and more frequent.” A policeman strolled up beside Erik, a Growlithe by his side; the small fire breathing Pokemon with black and orange striped skin. Erik bolted, running back to his mother as fast as he could to make sure she wasn’t hurt.
Unable to see clearly through the tears clouding his vision, all he could feel was an immense shame at being so helpless when his mother was under attack.
It had been two years since he was last here, and in that time the test centre hadn’t changed one bit.
As soon as he stepped through the small red front door of the test centre a familiar face greeted him.
“Erik! You’re back!” boomed Nigel, his chubby face lighting up like a firework at the sight of the young man taking the test that day.
“Hello Nigel, I hope there’s no nasty surprises this time like my father making a reappearance?” Erik’s toneless voice carried through the corridor.
“Not this time I’m afraid, your test was booked at such short notice he couldn’t make it in time.”
“Good,” Erik remarked bluntly.
“This way then,” Nigel instructed Erik ahead of leading him to the waiting room.
As Erik sat there he recalled what had happened the previous week, the night after he and his mother were attacked by a member of Team Rocket.
Erik sat in his living room holding his provisional Pokemon licence, “I’m going to do it,” he informed his mother, “I’m going to retake the test,” he said with an unerring conviction.
“But Erik you…” his mother tried to say before Erik cut her off.
“I know mother, I know what happened last time. But you were attacked and I couldn’t save you, instead I was on the floor useless and unable to help you.”
“Okay, if it’s the path you want to choose, then so be it,” came the response from his mother.
“Really? You’ve been trying to dissuade me from this path all your life and now you give in that easily?”
“You’re old enough now to make your own decisions, and I know once your mind is made up on something then there’s no changing it. If you’ve gone through all this and still want to be a trainer, then this truly is the path for you.”
“Thanks mum,” Erik smiled before giving his mother a hug, it meant so much that she was behind him in this.
“All ready!” Nigel’s reverberating voice snapped Erik’s attention back to the present.
The examiner led Erik back into the familiar test room, which was exactly the same as it was two years ago – down to the hole in the middle of the arena floor.
“You could’ve improved the lighting,” Erik remarked.
Nigel ignored the comment and pointed to the podium. To which Erik ascended and eyed the two Pokeballs before him, wondering if they contained the same Pokemon as they did last time.
“First up, Pokemon knowledge quiz! Different questions this time around for you,” Nigel’s voice echoed around the room as it always seemed to.
“Question one: Which of the following Pokemon is a Poison type? – Caterpie, Zubat or Rattata.”
Erik paused, the names of the latter two Pokemon raised memories of his mother being attacked as well as reminding him how rusty he was in regards to anything Pokemon related. “Well I was bitten by a Rattata and didn’t get poisoned,” he thought to himself, “and I’m quite sure Weedle is the poisonous bug, not Caterpie.”
He decided upon his answer, “Zubat!” he shouted.
“Question two: How much does a Pokeball cost at any normal priced shop? – $100 Pokedollars, $150 Pokedollars, $200 Pokedollars?”
“Erik replied instantly “$100 Pokedollars!”
“Incorrect, it’s actually $200!”
Erik was taken aback, “Of course they cost $200 – What is going on with me?”
“Question three!” Nigel continued, “which of the following types are strong against normal typed Pokemon? – Fighting, fire or poison?”
Erik was again confounded, “I used to know everything about Pokemon, now I’ve forgotten even the simple things such as this.” He was shocked with himself, two years cutting any thought of Pokemon out his life had caused him to forget everything he had learnt.
“Okay lets think, what would harm a Rattata most. Would it be a strong fighting attack? Shooting it with fire? Or poisoning it? – Wait, I’ve got it!” he thought before confidently announcing, “poison!”
“Incorrect again, the answer was fighting, one more incorrect answer and you fail the test!” Nigel declared, “are you feeling okay Erik? You aced this part of the test last time.”
“Just get on with asking the questions!” Erik snapped, he was infuriated with himself.
“Okay, okay!” Nigel responded, clearly startled, “question four: What type of Pokemon is a Mankey? – Normal, ground or fighting?”
“I remember this!” Erik exclaimed louder than he should have, “fighting!”
“Correct, well done! Question five: Which of the following is a restriction of being a Pokemon gym leader? – You can only use one type of Pokemon, you cannot challenge trainers to battle outside your gym, or, you cannot capture new Pokemon.”
Erik was stunned, he couldn’t remember the answer. “I know gym leaders hold badges, if a trainer defeats them they obtain a badge off the leader. A trainer who defeats all eight leaders in a region, and therefore gets themselves all eight badges can then challenge the Elite Four of a region. But after that my mind had gone blank..”
“I’m going to have to rush you Erik.” Nigel said, looking concerned.
“Can only challenge trainers to battle within own gym.” Erik blurted out.
“Oh no Erik. I am sorry. The correct answer is that they can only use one type of Pokemon. I’m so sorry Erik you have failed the test.”
Erik fell to his knees, unable to comprehend the fact he had just failed again – what had happened? Before he would have easily have been able to answer those questions. A potential trainer was only allowed to fail the test three times before being banned from taking the test again, and Erik had just failed for a second time. He would have to study and practise relentlessly until he became even better than he ever was. He also knew that next time, his father would be there waiting for him.
“The Johto region bans all capturing, battling and the keeping of Pokemon, apart from special cases,” blasted the television on the day of Erik’s nineteenth birthday, “Pokemon trainers have been asked to hand in their wrist devices and licences, followed by the releasing of any Pokemon they own back into the wild. Failure to do so will result in prosecution. Rumours circulate that the neighbouring region of Kanto could soon follow in Johto’s footsteps.”
Erik was perplexed by what he was hearing, how could they ban the use of Pokemon? “Mum have you seen the news?!” he called out.
“Oh yes, there’s been rumours going around for quite a while that Johto would do that. It’s because of organisations like Team Rocket who are using Pokemon as weapons for crime. They say that crime has gotten so bad over there that the only way to stop it is by banning the use of Pokemon.”
“Yes but crime is just as bad here in Kanto!” Erik gasped before composing himself after remembering where he was, the red door to the test centre was right in front of him. His mother had come along this time to offer him support, she knew if he failed this time, there wouldn’t be a next time.
“You’ll be fine Erik,” she insisted again, “you’ve been training for this non-stop for almost a year now, there’s no way you’ll fail this time,” she said with a smile.
Erik’s mother wasn’t allowed inside the test centre without a provisional licence, so she hugged him goodbye at the door and wished him good luck one more time.
She was right, Erik had been studying full time for the last year, making sure he could answer any question that was thrown his way. He had also been preparing to battle his father again, there was no way his father would miss this.
As he watched his mother leave, a man clad all in black approached him, from under a black cap with the letter R in pink on the front he whispered, “If you fail the test for a third time, there is another way.”
Erik felt his anger flare up, something that was happening quite often of late. Before replying, “I will never join you, I will never join Team Rocket.”
“Just something to think about,” the Team Rocket member whispered before he skulked away.
It all made sense now; Team Rocket had taken control of the test centre.
He remembered hearing on the news that the crime wave began four years ago when the criminal gang’s membership soared.
The challenge of the tests, the amount of strange occurrences during Erik’s tests. Team Rocket made sure people failed, leaving them no choice but to join the group if a person wanted to ever become a Pokemon trainer as they held access to the devices and licences.
For a third time, Nigel greeted Erik as soon as he entered the building. “Hello my friend!” Nigel’s voice reverberated around the room with a beaming smile entering his chubby face. “How have you been Erik?!”
Erik wondered if Nigel was a member of the Team Rocket, or whether he was just unaware of what was actually going on.
“Fine, sorry to be rude but can we get straight to it please,” Erik replied, voice toneless.
“Okay, with me then! We’ve prepared early for you so let’s go straight to the arena!”
As they entered the room, it was exactly the same once again. This time Erik ascended the podium without being instructed to, and nodded at Nigel to begin the first test.
“Okay, Pokemon knowledge test! I can see you want to get straight to it so we’ll fly through this. Good luck!” Nigel’s glowing smile remained on his face as he prepared the first question. “Right, which of the following Pokemon is a flying type? – Zubat, Kakuna or Mankey.”
“Very good. What colour is a Caterpie? – Yellow, green or white.”
“Brilliant, much better than last time!” Nigel responded delightedly.
The next eight questions went as the first two did. Erik answered straight away, getting the question right each time.
“Ten out of ten!” declared Nigel, “well done Erik. Back to your best I see.”
“Better than that,” Erik responded tonelessly, finding himself unable to look Nigel in the eye anymore.
The ground rumbled from underneath them as the hole in the centre of the stadium filled.
“Time for the second test!” Nigel roared as an injured Pidgey appeared in the centre of the stage, surrounded by a Pokeball, a block of tofu known as a PokeBlock, and a potion.
“Erik, please move towards the injured Pidgey. It needs healing, feeding and to be given a home, as before.” Nigel sounded incandescent despite the fact there was an injured Pokemon almost near death, lying not five metres away from him.
Erik moved to the wounded bird, it’s wing had been torn with the flying type Pokemon having crimson red scratch marks on her body.
Erik stroked the cheek of the Pidgey, “You’ll be okay, trust me,” he whispered to the injured Pokemon, before immediately getting to work. Spraying the potion first over the scratched body, and then over the torn wing. The Pokemon’s wounds started to heal.
“Science these days is remarkable isn’t it?” Nigel expressed, but Erik wasn’t paying any attention.
Next he grabbed the green cube known as a Pokeblock and fed it to the Pidgey, after which the Pokemon instantly perked up and chirped. However, Erik wasn’t done. Opening the Pokeball for the Pidgey to immediately pop inside.
“Fantastic!” Nigel boomed, “you know what comes next – the third and final test!”
Erik made his way back to the podium, his Pidgey back to fighting strength and now flying around his side of the arena. A door from the other side of the room opened then closed, his father had arrived.
Out of the darkness and into the light of the podium Norman stepped, looking exactly the same as he did the first time they battled, even wearing the same green jumper and blue jeans.
“How’s your mother?” Norman said in a calm, considered tone.
“Fine,” the anger in Erik’s voice clear, “why do you insist on battling me, why can you not let me take the test like anyone else?.”
“Maybe if you beat me then I will tell you son.” Norman’s voice remained calm and confident as he threw out his first Pokemon, a Spearow.
“Ahh,” Norman remarked, “Spearow again. Seeing as you have a Pidgey this time, neither of us has the advantage.”
Spearow flew at Pidgey, pecking at his opponent, before Erik’s Pokemon responded by blowing him away with a gust of wind. Both Pokemon got up seemingly unharmed and went at each other again after which both looked decidedly tired and injured.
“Spearow, one more peck should do it!” came the cry from Erik’s father. His Pokemon obeying, the peck landing on the opponent. Pidgey struggled to get back up.
“Pidgey, you can do this, use sand attack!” Erik roared. Upon hearing the voice of the man who saved her life, Pidgey flew upright and launched sand straight into Spearow’s eyes.
“Spearow, one more peck will definitely finish that Pidgey off,” Norman’s voice still remaining calm. The Spearow flew in for the kill with Pidgey having landed back on the floor, too weak to take to the air. Erik closed his eyes, not wanting to see Pidgey fall, then he heard it, the deathly scream of a bird.
Erik forced his eyes open – to see Pidgey still alive with his father’s Spearow on the floor unmoving. The sand in it’s eyes blinding him.
“Wow!” shouted Nigel, “the sand in Spearow’s eyes caused it to miss, leaving Pidgey to use the last of it’s energy to tackle Spearow into the ground! Impressive, Erik, that Pidgey only managed to keep going because of you.”
Norman grabbed another one of the Pokeballs on his podium and threw it, with a Rattata coming out. The small purple rat baring its large fangs at his adversary. Even injured, a Pidgey was still faster than a Rattata. Erik allowed her to launch a final gust of wind at her opponent before the Rattata finished off the job that Spearow should have.
Erik’s next pokemon turned out to be a Caterpie, the green string-like bug with it’s huge black eyes was slower than Rattata as the rodent sank it’s fangs into the bug. Caterpie replied by shooting string out of her mouth, encasing the Rattata, slowing it down hugely.
Whilst Rattata struggled to get out of it’s prison of string, Caterpie flew in and tackled it into the ground. Rattata returned with a tackle of it’s own before Caterpie landed the finishing blow, tackling the rat into the podium. This time Norman’s Pokemon stayed down after crashing against his podium.
Norman’s calm manner visibly disappeared as he threw into the arena his last Pokemon. Out of the ball came a Zubat, Erik gasping at the sight of the hideous creature, feeling a new wave of anger surge through his body, the person he hated most using the Pokemon he hated most against him.
As soon as Zubat entered the arena, it sank its terrible fangs into Caterpie, the bug not getting back up.
Erik picked up his final Pokeball, Zubat was at full health and now fired up. Erik felt his hands shaking, whether it was through anger or anticipation he was not sure but he knew that this was his last chance at becoming a Pokemon trainer. He would never join Team Rocket, would he?
Erik shook the thought from his head and threw his last Pokeball. A Mankey emerged, leaping up and down. Mankey was a fighting type, weak against Zubats combined poison and flying. Although Erik wasn’t sure whether Zubat knew any flying attacks. He certainly hoped not.
To Erik’s delight, Norman ordered his Zubat to try and poison his Mankey. Which failed. Mankey responded by scratching the disgusting creature, causing Zubat to fly back and screech – a deafening cry.
Mankey composed himself, charging towards his opponent. Scratching the Zubat twice between a wild bite from his foe.
Erik glanced at his father and saw Norman looking flustered.
The Zubat was out of control and for once there was no drama. No farce. Just a straight up victory for Erik and his Mankey as the Zubat fell lifeless to the ground.
“We have a winner!” screamed Nigel, seemingly delighted that Erik had beaten his father.
“Well done son, you deserved that,” Norman smiled, “I stood in your way because I wanted test you. I didn’t want you to go out into the world and experience the pain of losing your Pokemon, experience losing a licence and having your world crash down around you unprepared. I wanted to make sure you were ready.”
“You’ve already caused my world to come crashing down around me!” Erik roared.
“I’m sorry, but one day you will understand son.”
“I don’t want to hear another word from you!” Erik had reached boiling point. His shaking now was through pure anger. He watched as his father disappeared out of the room and back into the darkness, without a further word.
“Erik have you heard the news?!”
Blaze jumped back at the sight of Erik’s mother bursting into the room looking flustered, nearly knocking his trainer over.
Two months had passed since Erik passed his test, and as a way of congratulating him, his father sent him a Torchic from the Hoenn region; the small fire breathing chick and Erik quickly became close with him, the trainer naming his new friend, “Blaze”.
“They’ve finally done it, Team Rocket have finally done it!” Erik’s mother continued, “the Kanto region has followed in the footsteps of Johto and banned the use of Pokemon!”
Erik looked at Blaze, he had given his Pokemon a nickname because he felt it tightened the bond between the two of them, and planned to do it to each future Pokemon he captured. His Pokemon weren’t to be just tools used for battles, they would also be his friends.
“Can we not move to another region?” he spoke in a surprisingly calm tone to his mother, despite feeling so helpless inside.
“Every other region has banned the use of Pokemon too, Kanto was the last,” his mother looked close to tears, seeing her son’s dreams fade away right in front of her.
“Hoenn hasn’t,” Erik replied, feeling a fire rise inside him at the thought of taking his father’s gym badge.
“Hoenn is the last region that hasn’t, but all the trainers are trying to move there. So in response they’ve banned all immigration!”
“Hoenn is an island, surely theres a way we can sneak onto it?”
“That device around your wrist is also used as a tracker Erik. Besides, we are not breaking any laws!” Erik’s mother looked horrified at the suggestion, and Erik knew quickly to drop it.
“So theres no way into Hoenn?” he replied despondently.
“There is one way,” a voice drifted into the room from the hallway, followed by a man stepping into the room wearing a trademark green jumper and jeans.
“Norman..” Erik hissed.
“Please call your father by his title, not his name Erik,” his mother shot, “your father and I have been talking for a while, he knew Kanto was going to ban Pokemon so he’s bought us a house in Hoenn. He is a Gym leader there, therefore he has special privileges.”
“The only way you can still be a trainer is to move to Hoenn son. Team Rocket have created a monopoly on Pokemon usage here, you think they are going to stop? No, it’s only going to get worse,” Norman said, and Erik knew that he was right.
He would have to move out of Kanto to continue his dream. What he didn’t know however, was how far away was Hoenn from banning the use of Pokemon?
Hoenn was an island which tended to isolate itself from the rest of the world. Erik didn’t know anything about how bad the crime was over there or if the region even had any gangs like Team Rocket.
“Okay, I guess it is the only way,” Erik admitted, secretly happy he now had a chance to defeat his father on his own turf..
“There are some things you need to know about the Hoenn region, it is very different from Kanto,” Norman informed him.
“What?” Erik spoke bluntly.
“Firstly, the basic rules are still the same. If you lose a battle and have no Pokemon still alive within storage, you forfeit your licence,” Norman stopped and considered a moment before continuing, “wild Pokemon work differently too. Because of the sudden mass influx of trainers, rules have been made so that trainers can now only capture the first Pokemon that they encounter in an area, no others.”
“Interesting..” Erik thought to himself.
“Also on the topic of wild Pokemon, you cannot go around killing them, you can only battle a wild Pokemon in self defence; so, if it springs up on you first. No hunting down wild Pokemon in order to make your own stronger as they gain battle experience killing wilds,” another pause, “finally, you will not get or lose any money from winning or losing trainer battles – only Gym battles – and any money you happen to make yourself.”
“Tough rules,” Erik thought aloud.
“Yes, but necessary after all the new trainers coming into the region, we have to protect the wild Pokemon and the local populace.”
“I’ve heard enough, when are we moving out mother?” Erik asked rudely.
“The delivery truck is on it’s way, it will be here in about an hour. Norman would you please help us move out?” she asked her ex-husband sweetly.
“Sorry but I must leave and return to my Gym. I’ll see you in Hoenn, Erik.”