Chapter 26: The trainer’s market and the starter pokémon giveaway
Next day was the trainer’s market. Before it opened, Mark and May came over to watch the preparations. They saw as may long tables were being carried in, put together in long rows covering the whole arena, although it was still very easy to get around between them. People started carrying in boxes of trainer stuff.
“Wow! Master balls!” Mark said as one man tripped, fell down with his box and it opened, sending Master balls rolling around everywhere. They helped him pick them up and put them back in the box.
“Thanks,” he said. “How about if you two get a little off these beauties? That is, assuming you were going to buy some...”
“I will,” said Mark automatically. After all, Chaletwo was around... no, he mustn’t think like that, Chaletwo was impossible to catch... would just blow up the ball... besides, of course, he could get killed. But a Master ball was nice to have anyway, especially if you got it cheaper.
“I think I’d accept that too, thank you,” May said politely. “I could use it to catch Mutark...”
“Oh yes! Victor wanted to talk to you about Mutark at the festival!” Mark suddenly remembered. Just as he said that, a familiar raspy voice was heard from behind them.
“There you are. I’ve been looking for you.”
They turned around, and indeed it was Victor.
“Um... do you mind if we talk elsewhere?” he said, looking anxiously at the people around them. “You see...”
“Sure,” May said, as she started walking out of the arena.
“Shouldn’t I just wait here?” Mark asked.
“Um... it would be better if you came too,” said Victor. He looked uneasy.
“Yeah, well, but I don’t know...”
“Just come,” said Victor quickly.
They walked out of the arena and after making sure no one was around, Victor turned to them.
“So, what did you want to say about Mutark?” May asked.
“Er... well... actually... that’s not the reason why I wanted to talk to you here,” he said.
“Huh?” May asked and looked at Mark.
“Well,” said Victor, “uh, where to start... um... OK... you see... Mitch...”
“The Scorpion city gym leader?” asked May.
“Yeah, him. Well, he’s a psychic, you know.”
“No, we don’t know,” said May simply.
“Or... not really a psychic, you know, but he... gets feelings for stuff that’s going to happen.”
“I never knew that,” said Mark.
“Well, just after you left Scorpion city, he walked up to me, still staring after you, and said, “Do you know who he is? And the girl who was with him?” And I answered, “Yes, I battled him, why?” And he said “I have the feeling that the girl will suffer and have to make a hard choice. But before that, I feel that something terrible will happen to the boy.” Then he disappeared when I looked off him, like he can do... but I thought I should tell you...”
Mark and May both stared at Victor.
“Are you sure he’s not just making it up?” said May.
“He doesn’t seem the type who would walk up to you simply to tell you a made-up story of how someone else is going to suffer or have something terrible happen to them, does he?” said Victor.
“Um, no, but maybe he’s just going a bit crazy,” Mark commented.
“Maybe,” Victor admitted.
“Well, if that’s all...” said May, turning towards the arena again. Mark followed.
“Or maybe it’s Victor who goes around trying to scare people,” May fussed. Just then, Mitch’s voice sounded from their right.
“Hi,” they said.
“Did you meet Victor?” Mitch asked.
“Um, yes,” May said. Mitch nodded, seeming pleased, and then went out of the arena.
The trainer’s market was about to start. The boxes had been opened and now stood on the tables with a few examples of what was in them spread around the table. Mark hurried to the Master ball table, and about twenty seconds after he reached it, it was two o’clock and a voice announced that now everything on the tables was for sale. People started streaming inside.
“So, going to get the Master ball?” said the man with the Master balls they had helped before. “For everyone else, it’s 10000, but for you, it’s 5000.”
Wow. They got 50% off just for helping the guy pick them up?
Mark handed over his trainer card, which could also be used as a credit card, and got his Master ball. May was next in line and bought one too for half price. They went around the tables, buying Ultra balls, Great balls, normal Poké balls, Full restores, Antidotes, and everything else a trainer would ever need. Soon they had forgotten all about Victor and Mitch.
The next day, it was time for the starter pokémon giveaway. On a large poster near the enterance, you could read which pokémon were being given.
“Wow,” said Mark. “That’s some list. 100 pokémon.”
“Yeah,” said May. They went in, got some seats and saw that Ash was already down in the arena and Alan was assisting him. At two o’clock, 100 nervous kids walked in in a queue, ready to pick a pokémon. The last kid was obivously not very happy, since he’d have to take the last pokémon left, which was bound not to be the one he wanted. The first one was a girl. She walked up to Ash and Alan, who was carrying a megaphone. Ash asked something and the girl replied, and then Alan’s voice boomed over the arena.
“This is Joanne, who is about to pick her first pokémon! And what does she choose?”
Joanne seemed very nervous, then said something to Ash.
“And she was thinking about picking Bulbasaur, one of her favorite pokémon! Bulbasaur is an important pokémon alright, being pokémon number one, neither more nor less, in the National pokédex! Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur at level sixteen, then Venusaur at level 32, and this evolution chain specializes in ranged combat, having Special attack and Special defense as its strongest point, but its stats are actually pretty evenly distributed, making this a well-balanced and nice pokémon to have! The Bulbasaur line uses a lot of spore and powder attacks, but also likes to use Vine whip, Razor leaf, Solarbeam and the like.” Alan said all of this in one go, and Mark had the feeling that the reason why Alan was there was that he knew practically everything there was to know about the pokémon being given out.
Joanne asked something else and as before, Alan boomed out:
“She maybe wants to pick Charmander! Charmander is pokémon number four in the National pokédex and evolves at level 16 into Charmeleon, then at level 36 into Charizard! Charmander has always been a very popular starting pokémon, given how cute it is in Charmander form and how strong in Charizard form. I myself started with a Charmander – not that it should affect anyone’s choice. The Charmander line specializes in striking fast and hard with special attacks, but their Attack isn’t to shabby either! The Charmander line mainly focuses on attacking, but they can also use moves like Swords dance learned from a TM.”
Joanne ended up picking Bulbasaur, Alan announced that and some groans were heard from the other kids who wanted Bulbasaur. Next in line was a short boy with blond hair who seized Alan’s megaphone and then shouted in it “I CHOOSE PICHU!!!!”. Mark thought he sounded a lot like an Ash wannabe. At least, Alan didn’t bother to explain anything about Pichu, Ash handed him the pokéball and the boy almost forgot to get his trainer card.
Next up was a brown-haired boy, pretty tall. He said something, and of course he hadn’t sooner said it than Alan grabbed his megaphone.
“This is John, he made up his mind yesterday and he wants... DITTO! Ditto is the only pokémon we’re giving out today that doesn’t evolve, but Ditto has powers very few other pokémon have, the ability to transform into an exact copy of its oppoment! In its natural state, Ditto is pretty weak, but as soon as it has transformed, it matches its oppoment exactly in strength. That means that how the battle goes depends on the trainers. The catch about Ditto is that to be able to use it well, you have to know all pokémon’s attacks, otherwise you will just have to mimic the oppoment’s attacks and that’s no good! But if you’re ready for it, Ditto can be very useful!”
So it went on, the queue went shorter and shorter until all the kids had received a pokémon. Some took long to decide, others had made up their mind already. It made Mark remember the night when he found Charmander... it seemed so long ago.
“So, Chaletwo’s appearance is tomorrow,” May said on the way back to the hotel. “Such a powerful pokémon... imagine if he were evil. The world would come to a quick end...”
“Yeah,” Mark said, remembering the conversation with Alan. He had never told May the part about him being in danger too. Relax, he told himself, of course you’re not going to get killed...