Pokemon: Legendary Adventures (The Journey Begins) @flyg0n
Breaking the Ice Fang

Chapter 19 is here! Koa has his sights set on teaching Rascal Ice Fang. But will he be successful?

Echo (Male Golbat) {Ability: Inner Focus} - Confuse Ray, Poison Fang, Crunch, Air Slash

Hazard (Male Joltik) {Ability: Compound eyes} - Bug Bite, Electroweb, String Shot, Giga Drain

Rascal (Female Tyrunt) {Ability: Strong Jaw} - Dragon Tail, Ancient Power, Stomp, Crunch

Anubis (Male Houndoom) {Ability: Flash Fire} - Flamethrower, Dark Pulse, Thunder Fang, Howl

Scrapper (Male Breloom) {Ability: Effect Spore} - Seed Bomb, Mach Punch, Sky Uppercut, Giga Drain

Flurry (Female Spheal) {Ability: Thick Fat} - Aqua Ring, Defense Curl, Rollout

A blue furry ball shot past Koa as Flurry rolled several feet ahead, then circled around, kicking up dust as she rolled back towards him. Koa scrambled to the side, narrowly avoiding her rolling form. She stopped, panting, and squeaked at him, clearly pleased with her practice of the move Rollout.

Chuckling lightly, Koa shook his head. "You've been practicing rollout all morning, Flurry. Do you want to try your other moves again?"

Her only reply was to tuck herself into a ball again and roll in in a wide circle around him. Koa watched her, amused. He'd been traveling north on Route 210, enjoying the cool morning breeze and the company of his pokemon. It had been two days since he'd parted with Avis, and he'd spent most of the time practicing with Echo and the rest working with Flurry.

So far, she was capable of using Aqua Ring decently, and Defense Curl well enough. Then he'd taught her to use Rollout. Unfortunately, now he couldn't get her to stop using Rollout. Clearly rolling around at high speeds amused her thoroughly.

As she whirled around, she stopped by a patch of flowers. She sniffed them and squeaked in delight, clapping her fins together. Suddenly, she turned and rolled towards a patch of tall dense grass. "More flowers?" he asked curiously.

"Hiyaaahhh!" A boy leapt from the patch of dense grass and landed in front of Koa.

Koa flinched and stepped back, then scowled. Oh great. Another Ninja boy. "Yeesh! Do all of you guys like to scare people?" Flurry squeaked at the boy and bumped her nose against him in greeting.

The boy grinned and nodded. "Yeah! It's great ninja practice. My name's Davido, by the way. What's yours? And wow, is that Spheal? I thought those were only in Hoenn region. That's awesome."

"Koamaru," he said, relaxing a little. "And yeah, her name is Flurry."

"Wanna battle?" Davido asked. "I've got two pokemon so far."

Koa glanced at his Poketch. It was a little past noon. He supposed a quick battle wouldn't be a bad idea. "Depends," he said. "My Spheal isn't used to battling yet, but I want to try and train her. Do you have anyone who isn't too strong?"

"Sure!" Davido replied. "I've got the perfect pokemon! Do you want to do a one on one then?"

"The sounds great."

The two trainers moved a fair distance away, facing each other. Davido pulled out a pokeball. "This won't take long." He tossed the pokeball out. A Wurmple appeared, wiggling its antenna and facing Koa determinedly. "This the newest member of my team, Crim!"

"Cool!" Koa called. He recognized the bug as one commonly found in Hoenn, though they often migrated to Sinnoh and other regions. "Go Flurry!" he called. She rolled onto place on the battlefield and squeaked happily. "Ready Flurry?" She nodded her head, or rather, her whole body. He chuckled.

"How about you go first?" Davido offered.

Koa nodded. This would be her first battle, so he wanted to play it safe. "Defense Curl." Flurry tucked her flippers close and her body glowed.

A smirk spread over Davido's face. "Crim, use Poison Sting!" Wurmple chittered and darted towards Flurry, the stingers on its tail shimmering purple.

Koa's eyes widened. "Dodge, Flurry!"

The Spheal tried to roll to the side. Unfortunately, she was a bit too late. Wurmple swung outwards with its tail, nicking Flurry in the side. She squeaked, flinching as poisoning began to take effect. Koa frowned. "Okay Flurry, Aqua Ring."

Tensing with determination, Flurry began to form a blue ring around her body. It took a few seconds before it finally took shape, forming a swirling vortex of rings around her round form. She flashed briefly as the small amount of health she'd lost was regained. It wasn't perfect, he speculated, but she was getting better with the technique.

"Alright Crim, Tackle, quick!" Wurmple darted forwards surprisingly quickly, crashing into Spheal with its body. She rolled several feet before stopping herself.

"Rollout!" It was the one moved he'd practiced with her extensively in the past couple days. At her current stage, it was one of her best attacks. She tucked her body into a tight ball and began spinning rapidly in place. She shot forward like a tiny, fluffy cannonball and smashed into Wurmple. It gave a soft churr as it was tossed backward.

Flurry landed, then flinched as the poison took its toll. A moment later, Aqua Ring kicked in, restoring her.

"String Shot," Davido said. Wurmple swiftly shot a glob of sticky webbing at Flurry, covering half her body.

"Rollout, again," Koa said. Spinning into a ball, Flurry rolled towards Wurmple, though she was a bit slower this time, giving Wurmple just enough to dodge. Flurry, however, simply circled back around struck Wurmple from behind, sending it tumbling.

Davido gestured dramatically. "Bug Bite!" Wurmple reared up, a glow forming around its pincers. After a second, it finished preparing the attack and scuttled at the approaching Spheal. It sunk its pincers, landing a solid blow and darting backward.

"Rollout! Crush it." Koa commanded.

Flurry spun her body and shot towards Wurmple. At the same moment, Wurmple's body glowed brightly. Spheal crashed into its glowing form and bounced back, then stopped, watching in awe as Wurmple began to evolve. Its body shifted into an oval-like shape, then it grew a multitude of small spikes. The light faded, revealing a Cascoon.

"Wow!" David shouted. A big grin split his face. "Crim, you evolved!" The Cascoon narrowed its eyes in acknowledgment. "Alright Crim, String Shot."

"Rollout, dodge." Flurry rolled awkwardly out of the way, still hampered by the webbing from earlier. Fortunately, Cascoon had shot wide and missed, still adjusting to its new form. Spheal rolled from behind, striking the immobile Cascoon. It tumbled once, then lay, unmoving. Which wasn't saying much, considering it was a Cascoon.

Davido jogged onto the battlefield. "You beat me," he said, smiling. "But I don't care. Crim, you evolved!" Cascoon opened its eyes and blinked at its trainer. Davido looked up at Koa and smiled even wider. "Thanks, Koamaru!" He picked up the Cascoon awkwardly, holding it carefully.

Koa nodded. "Congratulations."

"That was a great battle," Davido said. He held out his hand and Koa shook it. "So how long have you had Spheal?"

"I've had her since she was an egg, actually," Koa said. "She just hatched two days ago."

"Awesome! You raised her from an egg?" His eyes were wide with awe. "That's amazing. How did you get so good with her Rollout attack?"

"Practice," Koa said with a grin. "I've been doing drills with her every time I stop to rest. And even when I'm walking, I'll have her practice too." It certainly hadn't been easy, but it had been a lot of fun. He liked having the happy little Spheal by his side. She butted her head against his leg, and he chuckled. "Most of the credit goes to her though. Once I taught her Rollout, I couldn't get her to stop practicing."

"That's great! You know what? I'm gonna work on helping Crim evolve again. Soon I'll have a Dustox on my team." Cascoon gave a chirp of agreement. "I'm gonna go train more now! Thanks for the battle." With a grin and a wave, Davido disappeared.

Koa blinked. How on earth did ninjas do that? He shrugged it off. It had been a good battle. Flurry had been awkward and uncertain, but she'd performed well. He scooped her up into his arms. "That was great, Flurry," he said. She squeaked delightedly. Koa patted her, then began combing the remnants of webbing off her fur as he started walking. It was going to be a good day.

xXx

Koa whistled as he strode down the path. The afternoon was pleasant, and he was enjoying the fresh air. A breeze blew towards him, coming down from the canyons ahead. Hazard rode on his head, Echo flew overhead, and Scrapper followed behind. Anubis stuck close to Koa's side, his gaze never straying far from Flurry. The little Spheal had taken to rolling under Anubis feet ever so often, causing the Houndoom to trip, but he didn't seem to mind. It seemed his protective streak had extended to the new baby of the group.

Rascal was the farthest ahead, and she constantly glanced back to make sure Koa was following. Koa grinned at her. "I bet you're really excited to learn Ice Fang, huh?" she nodded and trotted further ahead.

By now he had left behind the grassy fields and sparse forests and entered rocky hills and high canyons. He picked up his pace slightly. Grandma Wilma's cabin was not much farther now, he was sure. Cade had mentioned she lived at the northernmost point of Route 212.

He'd been walking for nearly a day now, though his progress was slower than usual since he stopped often to squeeze in more training, particularly for Echo, Hazard and Scrapper. If all went well, the three of them would be battling in the gym at Veilstone.

In the distance a rocky cliff rose up, stretching into the sky. To his left, he was blocked by more rock walls. The cliff ahead of him was his best bet, he figured. It was technically the northernmost point before Route 210. He'd have to climb the wall though if she was really up there. "Hey Echo, can you fly ahead to that cliff and see if there's anything up there?"

Echo gave a screech of acknowledgment and flew ahead. Koa continued walking as he waited for the Golbat to return. He figured he still had about a half-hour of walking to reach the base of the cliff.

Not long before he reached the cliff, Echo returned. He squeaked excitedly and fluttered around his head. "So there's something up there?" Echo squeaked again and did a loop. Koa grinned. Perfect. So all he had to do was climb this cliff.

He stared up at it. By his estimate, it stood about 40 feet tall. Higher than the wall at the Trainers License exam, but not a problem. He returned all his pokemon, save for Hazard and Echo, then placed his hands on the wall. A series of cracks and niches dotted the wall. It would be a challenge, but far from impossible.

So he began the climb. Going was slow, but he made steady progress. Occasionally, he would find himself stuck, just shy of the next handhold. Echo would grab his shoulders, help give him a boost, and he would continue. Finally, after what felt like an hour, but was much shorter, he grasped the edge of the cliff and pulled himself up. He let out a triumphant sigh and sat down.

A wide stretch of rocky ground spread before him. More rocky walls rose around on three sides, though not nearly as high. In the distance, a small house stood as the lone building on the plateau. That had to be it. Grandma Wilma's cabin. He released Rascal and pointed towards the house. "There it is buddy! You're gonna learn Ice Fang soon." Rascal grinned and snapped her jaws together in delight.

With his Tyrunt at his side, he jogged towards the house. Just as he was about to knock on the door, he saw a golden comet shoot into the sky from somewhere behind the house. He paused and traced its path with his eyes as it rose high into the air. Curious, he walked around the back of the house. He watched in awe as the golden orb detonated in the sky, raining a shower of meteors on the ground. Each exploded with enough force to send tremors through the ground. What power! That had to be Draco Meteor.

He glanced around the area. It was large, easily the size of a gym battlefield. Far towards one end, an old woman stood next to a Dragonite, patting its golden scales and saying something to it. She had silvery gray hair and wore a pink kimono-like robe. That had to be Grandma Wilma.

"Hello!" he called, striding over. He gazed in awe as he approached. He'd never seen a Dragonite in person, but they were incredibly impressive. Had that been the pokemon who used Draco Meteor? Wilma looked up and he waved to her.

She waved back and smiled before turning back to Dragonite. "Excellent work, Dragonite. You've finally gotten a handle on Draco Meteor." Dragonite let out a happy trill and nuzzled her. She chuckled and stroked him before turning back to Koa. "Hello there young man." Her gaze traveled to Rascal. "And hello there, young Tyrunt. You are quite an impressive little one, aren't you?" she cooed. Rascal growled happily, preening under the compliment.

"Hey," Koa said, grinning. "My name is Koamaru. This is Rascal." He held out his hand.

She shook it, and smiled up at him. His gaze drifted to Dragonite. He'd seen them in videos before, but never in person. They were bigger than he expected, he realized. This one stood over six feet tall. Its golden scales shone in the sunlight, and its blue eyes gleamed. It rumbled and put out a claw, patting his shoulder. He patted its claw in greeting. "Sick..." he murmured. "A Dragonite! Is this your pokemon?"

"Oh no, this young one belongs to another trainer. I am just teaching it the basics of Draco Meteor," Wilma replied.

"Where did he catch it? I didn't think there were any in Sinnoh." Seeing the Dragonite reminded him he still wanted to catch a dragon of his own. Garchomp was still at the top of his list, but it couldn't hurt to at least consider another dragon.

"You have a good eye, Koamaru. Dragonite are very rare here in Sinnoh." Wilma smiled, clearly pleased to discuss anything dragon-related. "They are virtually impossible to find. I believe this trainer traveled here from Johto. Though I do suspect Mt. Coronet may have one or two."

Koa nodded thoughtfully. He was far from convinced he wanted to catch a Dragonite, given that he knew Lance and quite a few other trainers were famous for them. He preferred something more unique. Cynthia was the only prominent trainer he knew with a Garchomp.

"So what can I do for you?" Wilma asked. "Are you here to teach her Draco Meteor?" She gestured toward Rascal.

Koa shook his head. "No, actually. A Dragon Tamer named Cade told me about you. I was hoping you could help me teach her her Ice Fang."

At that, Wilma's eyebrows rose. "Ice Fang? Hmm..." she tapped her chin, then knelt in front of Rascal, staring into her eyes. Rascal stared back intensely. Wilma looked up at him. "Has your Tyrunt been raised from a fossil?"

Koa nodded. "Yeah. I asked professor Rowan and he told me there's a chance she has the ability to learn the move."

To his delight, Wilma nodded. "Rowan is correct. You see, during the revival process, certain latent genes are activated. It is-"

Koa gulped nervously. He really wasn't in the mood for a lecture on the biology of fossil pokemon. Though if it meant getting tutored, he supposed he would endure almost anything.

Wilma paused and shook her head, chuckling to herself. "Well, I'll spare you the scientific details. Suffice to say, with a bit of training, your Tyrunt could theoretically access any of its 'egg' moves. Naturally, it may be harder to learn some moves than others, but since she's a first-generation fossil pokemon, she does have the capability."

"So that's a yes?"

Wilma nodded.

A wide grin spread across Koa's face. "Sick!" He turned to Rascal. "You hear that girl? We're finally going to learn Ice Fang!" She roared happily and jumped up and down. "When do we begin?" he asked, facing Wilma.

"First, I must contact this Dragonite's trainer." At that, Dragonite trilled happily. "Then, we can begin."

xXx

"Come with me," Wilma instructed.

Koa scrambled up from the rock he'd been sitting on, waiting. He'd spent the better part of an hour waiting for Wilma to finish some kind of 'preparation' for their training. Rascal raced ahead of him, staring eagerly at Wilma. He followed her, past her house and across the training grounds. As he drew near the cliff face, he noted the mouth of a large cave ahead. She stopped in front of it.

"You must venture into the cave with only your Tyrunt-"

"Is there a TM for Ice Fang?" he blurted. "Or will there be a super powerful pokemon-"

"No!" Wilma snapped. She gave him a glare that could stop a rampaging Dragonite. He shut his mouth. She continued. "First, tell me. What is ice?"

Koa sighed inwardly. Great. Philosophy. Another one of his not strong suits. "It's water... in solid form. Right?" he asked.

Wilma chuckled and shook her head. She seemed amused by his statement, though her eyes remained full of patience. "Young man, just because that is what it is made of, doesn't mean that is all it is."

Koa blinked. What? He pondered the thought for a moment. Her weird philosophy kinda reminded him of Kitto. Now that he thought about it, Kitto would probably have an answer to this too. "So what is it then?"

Wilma gestured to the cave mouth. "That is what you must find out. Your task is to enter the cave, reach the end, and find ice, and bring it to me. As you travel, you must think about the nature of ice. By the time you come back, I expect an answer."

"Find ice?" Koa asked, perplexed. Sure, it was mildly cool out, but it was nowhere near cold enough for ice to form. And even if he did find it, how would he carry it? Surely it would melt by the time he left the cave. He was about to protest when he felt a tug on his pants. Rascal was glaring at him. She yanked his pants again, hard enough to make him stagger. "Alright," he grumbled. He followed her for a few steps before turning back to Wilma. "You're not gonna explain yourself, are you?"

A wide grin cracked across her face, showing off years of wrinkled laugh lines. "No. Now hurry along!"

Rascal nearly yanked his legs out from under him this time, so he quickly turned and stumbled after her. "You know you could have just asked," he said playfully. She growled and butted her head against his leg. Koa shook his head and patted her, before focusing his attention ahead.

He could think of worse things to do than explore caves, he supposed. Although this one appeared to be more tunnel than cave. A wide path stretched before him, with no discernible branching pathways. The walls looked smooth, which made him think it had once been a Steelix tunnel. Rascal raced ahead of him, glancing back occasionally as if demanding he hurry up.

At least he didn't have to sit on a rock and meditate. As pleased as he was with the result, the experience felt like it nearly killed him. He'd rather swim through an underground cave system or face Entei again... The Thing's cold eyes flashed through his mind and he shivered. Scratch that. He never wanted to face that Thing again.

"What do you think, Rascal? Are there more than one Entei?" It felt kind of ridiculous, asking his pokemon a question like that. But wouldn't they know best of all?

Rascal merely snorted and continued plodding along. Koa got the feeling she was much more focused on figuring out how to learn Ice Fang. Koa shook his head and refocused his thoughts. He had a task to complete. Contemplate the nature of ice. Whatever that meant.

"What does that even mean? Think about the nature of ice?" he grumbled out loud. Wasn't ice just cold water solidified though? Fire was fire, water was water, and ice was ice. It seemed awfully straightforward. Unless... he traced his hands along the cave walls. A thought began to form in the back of his mind. The cave walls were made of rock. The ground was dirt. But he was well aware that pokemon techniques were different from the 'elements', so to speak. Getting shocked by Joltik wasn't the same as sticking your finger in an outlet and getting shocked. So maybe...

"Rascal, I think I've got it!"

Rascal glanced back at him but kept walking.

"I think that she wasn't talking about ice like the stuff in a cold drink, you know?" His mind began racing, connecting his jumble of thoughts. "It's like... like pokemon's attacks are special. So Houndour using a Flamethrower is different than a wildfire, you know? So maybe ice is different. Like..." he struggled to unravel his thoughts. He was sure he was onto something.

A roar from Rascal distracted him. He looked up. The tunnel they had been following for the past several minutes had opened up into a large cavern. Stalactites made of bluish-gray stone peeped from the ceilings and small pools of water gathered in between stalagmites. The room felt cool, though not chilly. He was reminded of the caves in Mt Coronet. There, in the center of the room, was a most peculiar sight. A single chunk of ice rested on a flat-topped rock.

Koa frowned. That should be impossible. The cave wasn't nearly cold enough to keep a piece of ice from melting. Cautiously, he approached it. As he drew near, he realized it was indeed a shard of ice, roughly the size of a large Oran berry. Rascal nudged it with her snout. Almost instantly, she jerked back and shivered. Koa placed his hand on it. A chill spread through his body and he shivered. What on earth was this thing?

Hesitantly, he picked it up. It was lighter than he expected, maybe only as heavy as a Zubat. It was also cold to the touch, even in his hands. But most curious of all, it wasn't melting. In fact, it felt like he was holding a cold rock. "Weird..." he muttered. Yet familiar. Hadn't he read about something like this before? A chunk of ice that never-

He smacked himself on the head and laughed. Rascal nudged him and looked up at him, concerned. "I'm an idiot! It's a piece of NevermeltIce!" he burst out. His voice echoed through the cavern. Rascal cocked her head. The look in her eyes seemed to ask 'So what? How does that help me learn Ice Fang?'

Koa wasn't sure about that, but he did know what NevermeltIce was. An ultra rare shard of a mysterious ice-like substance that, like the name implied, never melted. They could be given to pokemon to enhance the power of ice-type moves. This had to be the object Wilma wanted him to retrieve. But why?

Cradling it against his jacket to stave off the cold, he started back for the exit, contemplating the strange object in his hands. The coldness, coupled with the lack of it melting, was a peculiar sensation. His thoughts returned to his earlier revelation. Up until now, he'd thought of ice like water, except solid. But maybe it was different. Maybe... "Maybe ice isn't frozen water any more than water is liquid ice."

At that, Rascal, who until now had strayed pretty far ahead of him, stopped and turned around. For perhaps the first time since he started rambling, she seemed to take notice. Was he onto something?

"Ice isn't just water. Ice is its own thing." He looked down at the NeverMeltIce in his arms as he continued walking. It hadn't melted yet (obviously). But he was beginning to understand, barely. Rascal moved closer to his side. He held out the Ice to her. She took it in her jaws carefully. "See what I mean, Rascal? It's not just solid water." A grin spread across his face. "Let's go Rascal! I think that's the answer!"

He broke into a run, Rascal sprinting alongside him. In a few minutes, the tunnel grew lighter and he saw the entrance ahead of him. He burst into daylight, shielding his eyes from the sun. Once his vision had readjusted to the bright light, he looked around. In the distance, he spotted a lone figure waiting, flanked by a large green dragon.

As he approached, he identified the figure as Wilma. A slender, bipedal dragon stood next to her. Standing well over six-feet, it dwarfed her, though its slender build made it appear less intimidating. Emerald scales covered its body and ruby scales edged its diamond shaped wings. As he approached, it greeted him with a sonorous cry.

"Sick! A Flygon!" he said. He held out his hand, and Flygon lowered its head to nuzzle his hand. He turned to Wilma. "Is it another pokemon you're training?"

Wilma chuckled. "Oh no, this is my Flygon. My pride and joy. I've raised him from an egg."

"Whoa..." It was hard to imagine raising a pokemon, all the way from an egg to the majestic dragon that stood before him. Of course, he supposed eventually Spheal would be powerful Walrein one day. He couldn't wait.

"So tell me, Koamaru, what did you find?"

Rascal dropped the NevermeltIce and Koa scooped it into his arms. "We found this! And I think I understand the nature of ice," he said proudly. "Or at least, I understand it a little bit."

"Good. Tell me."

"Well, I used to think ice was just water, in solid form. But I think for pokemon, it's more than that. Ice isn't just water, any more than water is liquid ice. I think that Ice is really its own element. Like how this NevermeltIce doesn't melt and turn into water."

Wilma began to nod, a proud smile stretching across her face. "Excellent work, Koamaru! I must say, I am surprised. Not all trainers are given to be deep thinkers."

"So you will teach us Ice Fang?"

"Not yet. First, you must defeat Flygon in battle. If you can do that, then you will learn Ice Fang."

"What?" Koa exploded. Realizing how rude he sounded, he bit his tongue. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. But I thought you would teach us after I went into the cave. I brought back the NevermeltIce, like you said."

"I never said any such thing," Wilma said simply, smiling. "So, are you ready to battle Flygon?"

"Of course!" Koa said quickly. He could feel his heart racing. Rascal could use another battle, plus he didn't think Flygon were known for being very strong. He was sure Rascal could take it.

"Excellent. You may have the first move."

Koa grinned and moved to spot a fair distance away. "Ready, Rascal?" She nodded and roared, a grin of delight stretching over her face. His gaze shifted to Flygon. He knew they were dragon and ground types, like Garchomp. This meant that Ice-type was effective, followed by Fairy and Dragon types. Utilizing Rascal's Dragon Tail would be a good idea if he could land the blow.

But first, he needed to get a good hit. "Ancient Power!" Koa called.

Rascal summoned the sphere of silver energy and shot it towards Flygon. Flygon rose into the air with a flutter of its wings, nimbly dodging the attack.

"Again!" Koa snapped. Once more, Rascal used Ancient Power, firing it upwards at Flygon. The attack only grazed it and Flygon zipped out of the way, letting out an echoing cry. A sudden silver glow swirled around Rascal. Well, that was good. He'd read that Ancient Power had the very rare chance to raise all of the user's stats at once. Of course, it wouldn't do any good unless she landed an attack.

"Sandstorm," Wilma said calmly. It beat its wings, summoning a cloud of swirling sand. The cloud obscured the Flygon from sight completely.

Koa scowled. The move wouldn't do any harm to Rascal, thanks to her partial rock-typing. But it would make launching attacks harder. As it stood, he could barely see Flygon through the swirling veil of sand, and he suspected it would make things harder for Rascal as well.

"Alright Rascal, get into that Sandstorm and use it for cover. Then try and attack with Dragon Tail."

Rascal nodded and darted into the sandstorm. In the storm, he could just make out the faintest outline of Rascal. Her tail glowed green as she prepared her attack. Then, he heard Wilma's voice. "Dragon Claw." There was a blur of green scales and suddenly Flygon was there, directly behind Rascal. It struck out and slashed at Rascal with a glowing claw. She roared as she was knocked to the ground. She quickly got to her feet, but Flygon had vanished back into the storm.

Koa scowled. "Dragon Tail, one more time." Rascal growled and darted back into the storm. Once again she prepared the attack, and one more, he saw Flygon strike from behind. Koa stared. How did it always know where to strike? Even with the cover of the storm, he couldn't imagine how it always knew how to attack from behind. Rascal's tail began to glow, and then it struck Koa.

"Wait!" he shouted. Rascal stopped and looked at him curiously. "Your tail..." he said quietly. "She knows where you are because of the glow." A slow grin spread over his face. He knew exactly how to get Flygon.

"Listen up, Rascal," he said. Rascal cocked her head towards him. Koa quickly whispered his plan.

A malicious grin spread over Rascal's face and she raced into the sandstorm. A few seconds later, he saw her tail lit up as she used Dragon Tail. The swirling sand shifted slightly and Flygon dived at Rascal. As the sands parted slightly, he got a perfect view of both pokemon.

Once again, Flygon had lunged for Rascal's back. Except it wasn't her back. She had turned so that her tail was facing forwards, luring Flygon into attacking her from the front. Where she waited, jaws open. Ice formed around her jaws. Koa gasped. She leaped into the air and snapped her jaws shut on Flygon in a near-perfect use of Ice Fang.

The sandstorm died down as Flygon wailed in pain. Rascal tossed her to the ground and landed, snarling. Koa couldn't help himself from grinning wildly. "Rascal, you did it! That was sick!" he yelled. Rascal's snarl died in her throat. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped, as if she just realized what she pulled off. She roared happily and did a little dance, her eyes lighting up.

Meanwhile, Flygon pushed itself to its feet, shaking. Koa smirked. "Ready to end this, Rascal?" She nodded and faced Flygon, who was still trembling.

"Earth Power!" Wilma called. A golden glow wrapped around its body.

"Jump!" Koa shouted. At the last second, Rascal leaped forwards, narrowly missing getting struck by an eruption of golden energy from the ground. Koa had a feeling if it hadn't been for Ancient Power's earlier boost, it wouldn't have worked as well. She sailed through the air towards Flygon. "Ice Fang!"

Her jaws shimmered with icy power. Flygon fluttered its wings in an attempt to get away, but Rascal succeeded in catching its tail in her jaws. She let out a melodic cry, then staggered away almost dramatically. As Koa watched, the Flygon clutched its chest with one claw, threw its head back, then flung itself on the ground and stuck out its tongue. Rascal clocked her head and stared at Flygon, perplexed.

Wilma shook her head. "A bit overkill, don't you think Emerald?"

The Flygon cracked one eye open, then popped to its feet, shaking itself and looking completely unfazed.

Rascal huffed and let out a low growl, while Koa frowned. Had it been faking the whole time? "Hey what gives?"

"I must apologize for my Flygon," she called. "She has a tendency to be quite dramatic." Emerald let out a pleased trill. Wilma simply rolled her eyes affectionately before taking out a pokeball and returning her. She trotted across the battlefield with surprising nimbleness considering her age. "Well done, Koamaru. You fared excellently in that battle."

"But I didn't win," he pointed out.

Wilma rolled her eyes. "Ah, sometimes I forget what young trainers are like. You know, there's more to pokemon than just battling and winning. Did you forget that I raised that Flygon from when she was an egg? I have had her for many a year now."

Kos blushed furiously. Looking back, it was quite silly to have expected to beat her. Wilma wasn't considered an expert for nothing. But even if they'd lost, Rascal had still been successful. "Thank you," he said. He stared at Rascal, who looked to be in shock. "So why now?" Sure, it wasn't uncommon for pokemon to learn moves on the fly. But this had felt different. "I mean, we were working on that move for days. What changed?"

Wilma chuckled and motioned for them to follow her. She started back towards her house. "You tell me what changed?"

Koa stared at her. He had no idea how to reply.

"Some people believe being a pokemon trainer means teaching a pokemon a move and then sending them into battle. Others believe learning a new move simply entails using a TM or hours of drills. But being a trainer isn't just about standing back and declaring 'you know what to do'. Tell me, why do pokemon fight?"

"To... become stronger?" Koa said. "Pokemon fight in the wild among themselves to grow strong."

Wilma nodded. "True. But is it not true that there are no wild pokemon stronger than a trainer's pokemon?"

After a moment's thought, Koa nodded in agreement. Barring actual Legendaries, a wild pokemon's strength could always be exceeded by a strong enough trainer. It was part of the reason wild pokemon often sought out trainers. "Yeah."

"Why do you think that is?" Wilma asked. They reached her house and she led him inside. He took a seat at her table and she trotted to the kitchen.

"Well, trained pokemon have more experience I guess." He was sure there was something more though. A good trainer could make any pokemon great. He remembered how hard Echo had battled, despite not evolving. "I think... Pokemon training is about people and pokemon working together. And... When they do that, pokemon get stronger because," he paused to consider his next words. "People give them strength."

"Precisely," Wilma said, flashing a proud smile. "You are beginning to understand. There are many mysteries we don't understand about Pokemon. But we do know that people and pokemon are linked in ways we don't begin to understand."

Koa looked at Rascal, who had curled up on the floor beside him. "Are you saying that because I understand more about... 'ice'," he airquoted the word, "that meant she was able to properly use it in battle?"

Wilma shrugged. "In a manner of speaking, yes. A long time ago, early scientists believed classifications for a pokemon such as 'fire' or 'water' were nothing more than vague descriptions of biological factors."

Koa nodded, doing his best to really focus. Science and history had never been his favorite things, but he also recognized how important Wilma's wisdom could be.

She continued. "Of course, now most researchers realize that isn't true. These 'types' actually go far beyond our understanding. Have you ever wondered why a 'normal' attack can't hurt a ghost? Or what exactly is a 'fairy' type?"

Koa blinked, then shook his head. "No." The exact why's were something he had never really questioned deeply. The Trainers Licensing Exams covered what's, not why's. Which was all he had really been interested in.

"The simplest way to explain is that pokemon are beings of energy. An energy that surpasses everything we know about our world. As you discovered for yourself today, ice for a pokemon is a form of that energy. Not just cold water or low temperatures." She paused briefly, as if thinking. Koa leaned forward, more than fascinated by now. "If anything, our ice is a shallow copy of theirs. A shadow, if you will."

"... Huh." Was all Koa could think to say. Her words rattled around in his head for several moments as he tried to wrap his mind around her statements. "A pokemon's moves are kind like the original versions of everything in our world then."

Wilma nodded appreciatively. "Yes, that is surely a good way of describing it."

"So then the battle today was just a test?" he asked.

"Not quite. There are a great many ways to grow and learn new attacks. I have been a teacher for several years, and I simply had a feeling a battle would help push both of you. Nothing stimulates a pokemon more than being pushed to their limits, then pushing past them."

"Thanks," Koa said earnestly. His mind was still reeling with everything she had said. For now, though, he felt satisfied. He was growing stronger every day. So were his pokemon. It wouldn't be long before he could get strong enough to climb the Spear Pillar. And If he could do that, then he could definitely fight a legendary.

xXx

"Thank you again for everything," Koa said. He stood with Wilma not far from the edge of the cliff he'd climbed to reach her cabin.

"Oh, you're welcome my dear. I always love the chance to teach young trainers and their pokemon. So what are your plans now?"

"Celestic Town," Koa said. "I've always wanted to see the ruins there."

"An excellent choice. I think you will enjoy seeing the ruins greatly. Incidentally, do you have any plans for the journey there?"

Koa gave her a quizzical look. "No..." he said slowly.

"I was planning on flying into town this week," Wilma said. "Perhaps you would care to accompany me. It would save you the trouble of walking."

His eyes lit up. "That would be great!"

Wilma smiled, clearly pleased. "Then it's decided. You can borrow my Flygon. I shall ride on my Garchomp." She reached into her kimono, producing two pokeballs. She released the pokemon and a Garchomp and Flygon materialized before his eyes. The Flygon was the same as the one he'd battled, but the Garchomp was new to him.

He stared in awe at the Garchomp. "You have a Garchomp too?" he asked, shocked.

"Of course!" She replied, almost sounding offended. "How do you think I got so good with Dragon-types?"

"Well," he blushed, feeling a little embarrassed. He decided not to finish his sentence. Otherwise, he'd have to admit he'd underestimated her because of her age. Of course she had other pokemon.

She chuckled heartily. "Don't worry, Koamaru. I'm hardly offended. I know I don't look like much. I am pretty old after all," she added with a wink. "My traveling days may be over, but I am still a trainer at heart."

"What other pokemon do you have?" he asked curiously.

Wilma sighed, staring wistfully into the distance. "I have Flygon. His name is Emerald, if you wanted to know. As you see I also have Garchomp here."

"May I?" Koa asked, holding out his hand. He'd never had a chance to be this close to a Garchomp before, save for his brief glimpse of Cynthia's.

Wilma nodded. "Go right ahead. He's quite friendly."

As she spoke, Garchomp dipped his head and nuzzled Koa's outstretched hand. He smiled and scratched him under the chin. "Does he have a nickname as well?"

Wilma coughed, then chuckled, looking away. "Well, I don't use it much, but yes he does. I call him Fluffy."

Koa choked and stared at her. "What?" he yelped. He cleared his throat. "Why Fluffy?" he asked, flabbergasted.

"You see, Garchomp here was the very first pokemon I ever owned. When I was quite young, my parents got him for me as a gift. But I was quite set on owning a Swablu. I was quite ungrateful back then. So out of spite, I named my Gible Fluffy. The name stuck."

Garchomp rolled his eyes, though the affection in his gaze was evident.

Koa couldn't help but laugh. It was hard to imagine a very young Wilma, probably 10 years old, angrily naming her new Gible 'Fluffy'.

Wilma continued speaking. "I eventually caught the Swablu I always wanted. Ended up naming her Cirrus. And I have a Salamence."

"Whoa," Koa breathed. "You have them now?"

"Oh no, Altaria and Salamence don't stay with me anymore. Once I stopped traveling, I let them go their own way." A faraway look filled her eyes. "But they still visit quite often. Many of my pokemon roam the wilderness now in fact."

Koa blinked in awe. It was hard to imagine that he'd be as old as Wilma one day. What would he do? Would he give up traveling? Would he have a team full of legendaries by then? He chuckled inwardly at the thought of his old self, hobbling around with a cane, a Palkia or Rayquaza chilling in his backyard. Well, probably not Palkia. Perhaps a Zekrom?

"Well, enough chatter. Are you ready to go?"

Koa nodded, his heart beating a little faster.

A few minutes later, both dragon-type had been outfitted with the custom saddles. Wilma swung into Garchomp's saddle with surprising ease. "Now, take a moment to get to know Flygon, then climb into the saddle."

Excitement pounded in Koa's heart. He reached his hand out, and Flygon pressed his snout into it. His scales were smooth and warm to the touch. They were surprisingly soft as well. He gazed into his eyes, shielded by transparent red orbs. It gave him an almost bug-like appearance. "It's nice to meet you, Emerald."

The Flygon gave a low, sonorous cry and fluttered his wings. Koa took that as a sign of approval. He stepped close to Flygon's side, braced his foot against the saddle, and swung into it rather clumsily. After a few seconds, he got himself situated.

"Ready?" Wilma called. He looked up. To his surprise, Garchomp was already in the air, circling above them. Before he could respond, Emerald fluttered his wings and shot into the sky. Koa's stomach lurched and he grabbed the handles on the saddle. His knuckles turned white as Emerald rose into the air. For a second, he felt sick. The world around him became a blur of white, blue, and brown. His heart thundered in his chest and his breath caught in his throat. Then Emerald evened out and-

He was soaring. The world around him fell away as Emerald began to glide smoothly through the air. The wind whipped his jacket and ruffled his hair as he soared through the sky. Ahead, Garchomp glided through the air like a Sharpedo through the water. Koa gazed all around, eyes wide. Below him, canyons and rocky hills cut through by swirling rivers swept by. Off to his right, a flock of Starly and Staravia skipped through air currents as easily as fish through water. He threw his hands into the air and let out a joyous cry. It was echoed by a harmonious shriek from Emerald.

Koa laughed. A loud, reckless laugh. He'd seen people fly with their pokemon before. And he'd flown on Avis' Staraptor once. But that was completely different. This was pure freedom. Soaring like this, on the back of a dragon. There was nothing like it. He leaned down to stroke Emerald's neck. "You're awesome!" he shouted. Emerald trilled happily.

Still grinning madly, he sat back in the saddle. His worries about the Entei seemed so far away now. Up here, everything seemed simple. In the distance, Mt. Coronet's peaked loomed, an ever-present reminder of his goal. Except now it felt closer than ever. All he had to do was...

Unconsciously, he reached out his hand towards the peak. He could almost touch it. A rumble from Emerald drew him from his thoughts. The Flygon tilted his wings and began to spiral into a descent, following Garchomp. Feeling a bit disappointed, Koa put his hands back on the saddle to steady himself.

All too soon, the sensation was gone. Emerald coasted into a landing next to Garchomp. Koa took in his surroundings, which felt a bit dull after the sensation of flying. They stood at the edge of a path that lead into a sprawling valley between small foothills of the Coronet mountains. He could see a scattering of houses and a Pokemon Center tucked into the valley, and pools of clear lakes dotted about.

"We're here," Wilma said.

Her voice jarred Koa from his thoughts. He looked over to her, but words never came to his mouth.

"There's nothing quite like the first time flying, is there?" she asked.

Koa managed to shake his head. Wilma chuckled, stroking both dragons. Still a bit dazed, he slid out of the saddle and immediately staggered. Despite the short flight, standing on solid ground again felt weird. "That... was.." his mind fumbled for words as he leaned against Emerald's side. "Sick."

He gazed reverently at the Flygon and stroked her side. "Thank you so much, Wilma."

She nodded, then took out two pokeballs and returned the dragons. "Perhaps you should consider a dragon of your own, Koamaru."

He nodded emphatically. "I've been wanting one forever!" he said. "I would love to catch a Gible one day. Or any dragon," he said after some consideration. Gible was still on his list but... Flygon was cool! They all were.

"Then I wish you the best of luck. May Arceus bless you." She dipped her head to him. "Now, if you will excuse me, I must get to my errands. It was a pleasure. Be sure to visit if you do catch another dragon."

"Yeah," Koa agreed. "I will. Goodbye, Wilma."

She waved to him, then walked down the path towards town. Koa sank to the ground and sighed. What an experience. His mind whirled as he contemplated everything that happened over the past few hours. Rascal learning Ice Fang, understanding ice, flying for the first time...

It was difficult to wrap his mind around. It certainly made him wonder. Had Rascal really been able to learn the move because of his newfound understanding? His thoughts turned to Anubis, saving him from the Thing. By all rights, Anubis should have been badly injured, or worse. Yet he'd survived. And saved Koa's life. Pokemon... humans... Wilma was right, they were connected in ways not even people like Professor Rowan understood yet. As confusing as it was to think about, it was comforting as well. With Pokemon by his side, nothing was impossible.

Echo (Male Golbat) {Ability: Inner Focus} - Confuse Ray, Poison Fang, Crunch, Air Slash

Hazard (Male Joltik) {Ability: Compound eyes} - Bug Bite, Electroweb, String Shot, Giga Drain

Rascal (Female Tyrunt) {Ability: Strong Jaw} - Dragon Tail, Ancient Power, Ice Fang, Crunch

Anubis (Male Houndoom) {Ability: Flash Fire} - Flamethrower, Dark Pulse, Thunder Fang, Howl

Scrapper (Male Breloom) {Ability: Effect Spore} - Seed Bomb, Mach Punch, Sky Uppercut, Giga Drain

Flurry (Female Spheal) {Ability: Thick Fat} - Aqua Ring, Defense Curl, Rollout

Well, that concludes chapter 19! I hope everyone enjoyed, thank you as always for reading. I love reading your guys reviews, thank you and I'm so happy to know you are enjoying this.
My goal for this chapter was to give everyone a taste of some of my insight into the pokemon world and its inner workings. Hopefully it was interesting to read!

I know it took longer to post this than my regular two week deadline, but I just had to tweak and polish this a bit. There will definitely be some more explanations and glimpses into the inner workings of pokemon, but probably not until later. After all, Koa isn't really the poke-science type, lol.

As always, if you have any suggestions for a pokemon you'd either like to see, or have Koa catch, feel free to mention. I can't promise to use it, but I do love some different perspectives. Although to be clear, I don't intend for Koa to catch any more pokemon for a little while at least.

Well, thank you! Until next time!

1. The Plan 7766 0 0 2. The Unplanned 5148 0 0 3. Rocky Road to Success 7322 0 0 4. Every Roserade has its Thorns 5998 0 0 5. Rematch and Revival 5995 0 0 6. Unstoppable, Immovable 7204 0 0 7. Looking Onward and Inward 7028 0 0 8. Where the Hearthome Lies 6360 0 0 9. The Hound of the Hour 8685 0 0 10. From Marsh to Shining Marsh 7979 0 0 11. Mach Power 8486 0 0 12. You've Got to be 'Kitto'ing Me! 6841 0 0 13. Getting Ghosted 7569 0 0 14. Cal-Amity Square 5932 0 0 15. Don't Gabite Off More than You Can Chew 7183 0 0 16. Enter the Unown 8641 0 0 17. A Strategy for Success 7673 0 0 18. Getting Your Psyduck in a Row 6302 0 0 19. Breaking the Ice Fang 7787 0 0 20. An Electrifying Encounter 8282 0 0 21. KOa'd 8668 0 0 22. Blackout 11062 0 0 23. Heart's Fire 9950 0 0