Chapter 6: Rick

When Mark got to the gym again, he reminded himself not to talk to the first trainer while battling, or he would lose a turn. He checked if his pokémon were all right and then went in and took out Sandshrew’s pokéball.

“You again? Go, Arcanine!” said the trainer with the annoying voice. The Arcanine came out of the ball he threw out and barked.

“Go, Sandshrew!”

“Arcanine, Extremespeed!”

The Arcanine became a blur and tackled Sandshrew at great speed.

“Sandshrew, Earthquake!” Sandshrew stod upright, then smashed his paw into the ground – and the ground actually shook. It was amazing how such a small pokémon could cause and earthquake to occur, but it still did. The Arcanine was still shaking after the Earthquake, being a Fire type, it was very vulnerable to Ground type attacks.

“Arcanine, Extremespeed!” the trainer commanded. The Arcanine wasn’t as fast and didn’t hurt Sandshrew as much this time.

“Sandshrew, Earthquake!” Sandshrew caused an earthquake again, still getting hang of his new attack, Sandshrew now tried smashing the ground again so the earthquake would last longer. The Arcanine ended up falling. It didn’t stand up again.

“Arcanine, return! Go, Zapdos!”

“Sandshrew, that’s enough! Go, Charmeleon!” Mark still remembered the pursuit between Sandshrew and the Zapdos.

“Zapos, Thunderbolt!” Zapdos charged up electricity and shot a bolt of lightning at Charmeleon. He roared in pain as it struck him, and angrily he inhaled deeply and shot a Fire blast at the Zapdos from his mouth.

“Zapdos, Thunder wave!”

The Zapdos started charging electricity again, but Mark wasn’t going to let it hit.

“Charmeleon, try to be quicker and use Fire blast!”

Charmeleon managed to blast the Zapdos while it was still charging, and it fainted, to Mark’s surprise.

“Zapdos, come back! Go, Moltres!”

“Charmeleon, come back! Do it, Jolteon! Thundershock!”

Jolteon fired some electricity at the Moltres and it somehow fainted in one hit.

“Moltres, come back! Go, Articuno!”

“Jolteon, Thundershock!”

The Articuno fainted in one hit too. Mark couldn’t believe it!

“Articuno, return. You beat me again,” the trainer said.

“Yeah, I guess so,” said Mark and went on. After he healed his pokémon, he checked their levels. Charmeleon was level 19, Jolteon was level 18, Sandshrew was level 17 and Gyarados was, of course, still level 22.

“You? Go, Raikou!” the next trainer said as soon as Mark entered the battlefield.

“Go, Sandshrew!”

“Raikou, Crunch!”

“Sandshrew, quick! Earthquake!” Mark yelled. The Raikou was quicker, though, and leapt at Sandshrew in attempts to bite him. But like in the first battle, Sandshrew managed to curl up before the Raikou could do anything. Then Sandshrew smashed his paw into the ground, causing an earthquake to hit the Raikou. It roared and then collapsed.

“Raikou, come back! Go, Suicune!”

“Sandshrew, come back! Go, Jolteon!”

“Suicune, Hydro pump!”

“Now you made a big mistake!” Mark said, grinning. “Jolteon, be ready with Thundershock!” Jolteon charged for a Thundershock while the Suicune blasted water at it, but when the water was just about touching Jolteon...

“Now!!! And evade the Hydro pump!” Mark shouted. Jolteon let off the Thundershock and the water led it at the Suicune which got fried. Meanwhile, Jolteon ducked and the Hydro pump just hit the wall.

“Suicune, come back! Go, Entei!”

“Jolteon, come back! Go, Sandshrew! Earthquake!” This time Sandshrew was quicker and the Entei fainted in one hit, just like the other ones. Odd, Mark thought. Legendary pokémon ought to be stronger than that...

The trainer said nothing, he just recalled the Entei and opened the door. Mark went to the nurse and healed his pokémon and checked their levels. Jolteon had grown to level 19 and Sandshrew was level 18, almost 19. Charmeleon and Gyarados were, of course, still level 19 and 22.

“Okay, now it’s the trainer with Mewtwotwo,” Mark thought. “Better be careful this time.”

But the trainer wasn’t there. Mark went to the door and saw a note saying “Went to get another Mewtwo. Challengers, please go through, it’s not locked.” Mark thought of how the Mewtwo had teleported away. And the trainer had said “the last one also did”. How many Mewtwos could be lurking around, waiting to take over the world? Mark tried not to think about it and went through. The next trainer came.

“You’re finally back,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for you. Go, Ho-oh!”

“Go, Jolteon!”

“Ho-oh, Sacred fire!”

“Jolteon, quick – Thundershock!”

And, oddly enough, the Ho-oh fainted.

“I can’t believe it! It fainted in one hit?!” Mark said in disbelief.

“It’s level 9,” said the trainer dully. “Its stats are boosted, of course, but it’s still only level 9.”

That explains a lot, Mark thought. I knew legendary pokémon have great stats and shouldn’t lose just like that! But he said nothing aloud.

“Go, Lugia!”

“Jolteon, Thundershock!”

Lugia fainted too.

“You beat me,” said the trainer. “Go on – there’s one more junior trainer before Rick!”

Mark went int the room and healed his pokémon. The last junior trainer came and said: “I won’t be easy! Go, Celebi!”

He sent out a green fairy pokémon.

“Celebi?” Mark questioned. How on earth could common junior trainers have pokémon like Mew and Celebi? What could Rick have, then...

“Yes, it’s a Celebi, congratulations you noticed. Send out a pokémon.”

“All right, go, Charmeleon! Fire blast!”

“Celebi, Psychic!”

Charmeleon was quicker, but again to Mark’s surprise, the Celebi didn’t faint of one Fire blast, which it would surely have done if it was anywhere near level nine. It just glowed purple and sent Charmeleon banging his head against the ceiling.

“Charmeleon, Fire blast again!”

But the Celebi teleported away in time; Charmeleon missed.

“Celebi, Psychic!” Celebi sent Charmeleon up to the ceiling once again, then let him fall. He didn’t stand up again.

“Charmeleon, come back! Go, Sandshrew!”

By sending out Sandshrew, Mark was taking a risk. Celebi was a Grass pokémon and therefore it was resistant to Earthquake, besides being able to fly even though it was on the ground at the moment, but Sandshrew would surely gain a level if he managed to beat Celebi.

“Celebi, Solarbeam!” said the trainer. The Celebi started charging power for a Solarbeam, and, to Mark’s satisfaction, neither the trainer nor the Celebi assumed Sandshrew knew Earthquake, so Celebi was still on the ground.

“Sandshrew, Earthquake!” Mark knew it had to beat Celebi, or Sandshrew would faint to Solarbeam. But luck is a blessing; it was a critical hit, and Celebi fell down, fainted, with a weak “Cele... biiiiii...”

“Celebi, return. Go on and face Rick!” the trainer said and opened the door. Some noise could be heard through the door. Mark went to check what it was.

“Lapras, come back!” It was May, just recalling a Lapras she had apparently caught since they battled at the lake. “Oh, hi, Mark! How are your pokémon?”

“They’re fine. Both have evolved and I’ve caught two more,” Mark answered. “Was the battle hard?”

“He’s tough,” May said. “Very tough. Be careful when battling him, especially...”

“No spoilers!” said Rick from behind her. He was a young blonde-haired man with brown eyes.

“Thanks for warning me anyway, May,” Mark said, smiling.
“Okay, girl, here’s the Element badge,” said Rick and handed her a badge. “Now get lost so I can battle your friend.”

“Okay,” said May and put the badge in her pocket. Then she smiled at Mark, said “Good luck,” and went out. Now Mark noticed that this battlefield was even larger than the other five. There was a pool for water pokémon on the left and there were rocks all over on the right. Between them, there was just the floor.

“Let’s start the battle, boy,” said Rick. “I choose Ho-oh!”

“Jolteon, go! Thundershock!”

Rick’s Ho-oh got fried, but still managed to hang in.

“Ho-oh, Earthquake!” ordered Rick coldly. His Ho-oh obeyed right away, dived down and smashed into the ground. Jolteon fell down, but stood wearily up again.

“Jolteon, Thundershock!” Mark roared. Jolteon charged up, then released a jolt of electricity at the rainbow-colored pokémon. The Ho-oh fell down, fainted.

“Ho-oh, return!” Rick spat, clenching his fist. “Go, Mew!”

Mark had learned not to be surprised when the trainers in this gym sent out a pokémon he had always thought no one could ever just catch.

“Jolteon, you’re quicker! Thundershock!”

“Mew, Metronome something good!” Rick said quickly. The Mew waved its paw, and then became a blur, just like the first junior trainer’s Arcanine, and tackled Jolteon at incredible speed before he managed to attack. He was flung at the wall, hit it hard and fainted, while a smile spread across Rick’s face.

“Jolteon, come back! Go, Gyarados!”

“Mew, be ready! And now! Thunderbolt!” Rick roared, pointing a finger at Gyarados.

Electricity + Gyarados = faint. Everyone’s heads had been filled with this in school. There was no way to forget it. And indeed Gyarados got fried to a crisp.

“Gyarados, return! Go, Sandshrew!”

“Mew, Surf!” Rick said, peering at Sandshrew. Mew glowed blue, and the water in the pool flooded across the floor, straight at Sandshrew.

“Sandshrew, you can do it! Curl up and repel the water!” Sandshrew curled up and after the water disappeared, he was still unhurt.

“Sandshrew, use Earthquake, trust me!” Sandshrew looked questioningly at Mark. Mew was floating in mid-air, so there wasn’t much sense in using Earthquake. The situation was pretty much like when Mark told Gyarados to use Splash, but one main thing was different: Sandshrew trusted Mark all the same. As a powerful Earthquake struck the ground, the rocks on the left started to roll around, the smaller ones flew up in the air and landed again. A big rock rolled over Mew’s tail as it was trying to avoid another one and stuck it to the ground; more rocks followed and now the Earthquake started to affect Mew too. Mew fell to the ground and got buried under rocks. “Meeeeeeeeeew!” it cried from under the pile.

“Sandshrew, stop!” Mark shouted through the noise of the rolling rocks, but Sandshrew didn’t hear him and more rocks piled on top of the Mew, still shrieking.

“SANDSHREW! STOP NOW!” Sandshrew stopped and the noise died away. Mew seemed to have fainted from under the weight of the rocks, but all the same...

“Sandshrew, finish it!” Sandshrew curled up and rolled at the pile of rocks Mew was buried under. As he hit the pile, the rocks scattered around the battlefield. Then Sandshrew stopped and there lay Mew, completely worn out and unconscoious.

“Poor thing!” said Mark and walked up to the battered Mew, bent down and examined it carefully. He then heard Rick mutter something like: “I knew I shouldn’t use those originals, they’re much too weak...”

“What? This is the original? The original Mew?” Mark asked, now standing up.

“Yes, but it’s useless! You can have it if you like,” said Rick.
“Can I... just take it?” Mark asked.

“Why not? It’s useless, and it’s even fainted! I have nothing to do with it! Here, take that!” And Rick threw a pokéball to Mark – Mew’s pokéball. Mark recalled Mew into it and was going over to the nurse when Rick called:

“Hey, I said you could have it, not that you could use it in the battle! Come back here at once!”

“But I want to heal it! It’s badly injured, I have to!”

“After the battle, kid! After the battle!”

“It’s dying!!” Mark roared.

“And I don’t care!” roared Rick even louder. “Go, Celebi! Solarbeam!” Rick sent out a Celebi which immediately started charging sunlight.

“Sandshrew, come back! Go, Charmeleon!”

Celebi used Solarbeam, but it didn’t damage Charmeleon much.

“Charmeleon, Fire blast!”

“Chaaaaaaaar!” Charmeleon attacked with a good blast of fire. This Celebi fainted, so apparently the junior trainer’s Celebi was stronger than this one. Odd. Usually gym leaders have stronger pokémon than their junior trainers.

“Celebi, come back! Go, Suicune!” Rick said and gritted his teeth.
“I have to switch, but Sandshrew is also weak to water... Well, I have to. Charmeleon, come back! Do it, Sandshrew!!!!”

“Suicune, Surf!”

“Sandshrew, curl up and repel it!” But Suicune’s Surf was more powerful than Mew’s. Sandshrew was hurt, less than he would if he hadn’t curled up, of course, but he was hurt.

“Sandshrew, do it, please! You have to! Earthquake!”

Sandshrew jumped up and cried “SHREEEEEEEW!!!!!!”, then landed on the ground, causing a big earthquake. The Suicune roared and fell down to the ground, then Sandshrew slashed it with his claws, finishing it off.

“Suicune, return! Go, Articuno!”

“Sandshrew, come back! Go, Charmeleon!”

“Articuno, be ready!”

“Charmeleon, Fire blast!”

“Articuno, Ice beam!”

Articuno’s Ice beam and Charmeleon’s Fire blast met in the middle between them. The ice melted into water upon contact with the fire. Now Mark saw what Rick was trying to do; the Ice beam would turn into a Water attack, gain the power of a Hydro pump and if Charmeleon gave up, it would hit him, fainting him. However, if Charmeleon could somehow push the water back at Articuno, it would surely faint to the power of Hydro pump and Fire blast put together. But a blast of water should eliminate a blast of fire easily, shouldn’t it?

“Charmeleon, don’t give up! You can do it!” said Mark. But it didn’t help much; the place where the attacks met was slowly moving towards Charmeleon and Rick was urging his Articuno on. It seemed hopeless. Suddenly, something seemed to happen with Charmeleon. Like he just got an idea. And he stopped for a second and fired some flames at the ceiling, but then went against Articuno again as the icy water was about to hit him. Suddenly the sun burst out – Charmeleon’s flames had burned a hole in the ceiling.

“Sunny day! It works like Sunny day! And that means... Sunny day powers up Fire attacks but weakens Water attacks! Yay for Charmeleon!” Mark was delighted. “Charmeleon, keep going, you’ll do it!”

Charmeleon didn’t give up. And the place where the attacks met was moving towards Articuno again, slowly but steadily. When it reached Articuno, it burst into an explosion of feathers. Nothing was left of Articuno but a pool of water that would reform when healed.

“Articuno, come back! Go, Raikou!”

“Charmeleon, enough! Sandshrew, go!”

“Raikou, Crunch!”

Rick’s Raikou sped at Sandshrew and bit him, before he managed to curl up. Sandshrew took the damage pretty well with his hard skin, though.

“Sandshrew, Earthquake!” Mark commanded.

Sandshrew smashed his paw to the ground and caused an earthquake; it hurt the Raikou a lot, but it didn’t faint.

“Raikou, Roar!”

Raikou roared menacingly, and Sandshrew was forced back into his pokéball.

“Go, Charmeleon! Fire blast!” Charmeleon blew a Fire blast at the Raikou and it fainted.

“I won! I won! I won!!!!!!!!!” Mark shouted and hugged Charmeleon. “You did great! Really great! And that Sunny day substitute was a great idea!”

“Okay, kid, you can have the Element badge, but you won with luck!” said Rick.

Rick handed him a cool badge, with clouds, lightnings, fire, grass, snow and water surrounding a purple eye. Mark put it in his pocket and went out.