Pokemon: Legendary Adventures (The Journey Begins) @flyg0n
Rocky Road to Success

Here is chapter 3! As you can see, I am recording a list of all of Koa's Pokemon at the start and end of every chapter, just to make things easier to remember. In this chapter, Koa will face his first gym challenge... How will he fare?

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

Echo (Male Zubat) {Ability: Inner Focus} - Supersonic, Absorb, Bite, Wing Attack

Getting to Oreburgh wasn't hard at all. He left Jubilife through the east gate, taking route 203 towards the Coronet mountains. In the distance, he could just make a smaller series of mountains that extended from the Coronet Mountain range, creating a natural wall on three sides of Oreburgh City. Far in the distance, beyond the small mountains, the shadow of Mt. Coronet loomed, its peak disappearing into the clouds.

The route was fairly simple, mostly consisting of a long, winding path through spare woods, and near the end, and gentle slope leading to Oreburgh Gate, a passage through the mountains. He was still at least a day's journey away, though he was sure he could reach the passage by tomorrow morning if he kept a good pace. There was a small lake halfway along the route where he planned to rest, then set out early the next morning.

He hadn't been traveling for long when he caught sight of a small Starly at the edge of the path. Koa quietly took a pokeball from his belt. The opportunity was too good to pass up.

"Go, Hazard!"

Joltik emerged in a flash of blue light. Starly chirped in surprise and then opened its wings, preparing to take off.

"Use String Shot and immobilize it!"

A burst of sticky web shot from Hazard's pincers, wrapping around Starly's body and one of its wings. It fluttered its remaining wing in a panic. Hazard jerked it to the ground.

"Now, Electroweb!"

A small glowing ball of electricity formed in front of Joltik. As he launched it, it spread into a wide web of crackling electricity, pinning the Starly down. Within a second, the Starly was knocked out. The web faded, leaving only the Starly behind. Koa took out an empty pokeball, ready to capture it.

Something made him pause, however. You already have a flying type. Zubat. He stared at the Starly, uncertainty gripping him. He would desperately love a Staraptor, yet... His hesitation cost him. In a moment, the Starly recovered. It blinked a few times, cheeped in alarm, then took off. Koa watched it go and groaned. Well, there would be plenty of opportunities to catch another Starly. He just wanted to catch the right one. That was all. And when he did, he would release Zubat.

Satisfied, he continued on, allowing Hazard to remain on his shoulder. The little Joltik had taken to absorbing electricity from his Poketch after battles, but Koa made a note to pick up a battery pack next time he was in a city. Though his Poketch had a powerful solar battery, battery packs were more efficient. Plus, they were specially designed for electric types like Joltik and Pichu.

For the next few hours, he traveled in peaceful solitude. As the sun began to set behind the mountains, he spotted the glimmering surface of a small lake. With a whoop of delight, he ran the short distance to the water's edge. He dropped to his knees, splashing his face with the cool, refreshing water. After enjoying the water for several moments, he sat back. Time to make camp.

Once he'd set up his tent and sleeping bag, he sighed contentedly, then reached for his pokeball belt and took out Zubat's ball. He tapped the button, releasing him. Zubat let out a happy screech and did a little loop. Koa rolled his eyes and shook his head.

"I'm just letting you stretch your wings. I'm going to do some quick training with Hazard, so just stay out of the way, ok?"

Zubat looked slightly crestfallen, then fluttered away. Koa didn't bother watching, he doubted Zubat would go far. Besides, he had more important things to worry about. He wanted to get some training in with Hazard before he reached Oreburgh. "Alright Hazard, ready?"

Hazard hopped off his shoulder and took up a battle stance.

From what he knew of Joltik, they couldn't produce their own electricity. However, with training, they could greatly expand the amount of electricity they could store. With enough training, they could even grow strong enough to not need a charge for several battles. By that point, he would have evolved into a powerful Galvantula, and could create his own electricity.

He started by having Hazard practice his Electroweb on a nearby tree, then use his String Shot. After a solid hour of building up endurance with his attacks, Koa called it quits. The sun had nearly set completely, and he was fairly worn out from everything that had happened.

"Good job, Hazard!" Koa patted Hazard appreciatively. The small bug chirped in delight. Koa returned to his camp and fed both his Pokemon. Zubat returned looking rather proud of itself, but he couldn't tell why. Nor was he particularly interested. Returning both Hazard and Zubat to their pokeballs, he turned in for the night. His dreams were filled with legendaries and thoughts of climbing Mt. Coronet, only to be greeted by a giant Zubat instead of a legendary.

He awoke fairly early, eager to continue on his journey. He opted to leave both Hazard and Zubat out of their pokeballs. The weather was pleasant, and the exercise would be good for them. Or Hazard, at least. He didn't stop to battle much, although he let Hazard take out a few Bidoof and another Starly. He decided to wait until after he got his Tyrunt to catch a Starly. Once, he saw Zubat fly off towards a Kricketot to challenge it, but he didn't pay any attention to the fight. Judging by its behavior when it returned, however, he supposed it must have won.

Halfway to Oreburgh Gate, Koa took a moment to stare at Mt. Coronet. His heart filled with longing. One day he would explore its depths. No telling what kinds of treasure lay inside, not to mention the legends he'd read about in the Canalave library. How Arceus had formed Sinnoh, and supposedly, at the highest peak of Mt. Coronet, lay the Spear Pillar. The place where Palkia and Dialga, the gods of space and time, had been created. A place no one had seen in years, if it even existed. The only way to the pillar was through the caves, but the caves were like a maze. The deepest depths were filled with countless strong wild pokemon, who could easily destroy a Pokemon and its trainer. Even the gym leaders didn't venture too far into its depths. Many a trainer had tried to fly to the pillar, only to be met with unpredictable winds and freezing temperatures. It was truly the ultimate test.

Pictures of legendary Pokemon swarmed through his head. He saw himself climbing the mountain, being lauded as one of the first trainers to reach the Spear Pillar in centuries. Photographs of Sinnoh's deities in hand, he would be on national news. And perhaps he could even impress his parents, who were far away in Unova region, on some trip or other.

"We'll make it there one day, Hazard," he pointed towards Mt. Coronet. "Maybe we'll even see Dialga and Palkia."

Hazard chirped. From somewhere behind, Zubat screeched his agreement.

Finally, Koa dragged his gaze away from the mountain and continued walking. As he drew closer to the mountain range, the ground sloped and Koa could see Oreburgh Gate not far ahead. A wide tunnel cut through the mountain. He knew that just on the other side was Oreburgh City, famous for its mines and museums. He'd gone there with Blake on a few occasions and was familiar with the city and its gym leader, who happened to be the son of Canalave's own gym leader, Byron.

A man wearing a police uniform stood outside Oreburgh gate, leaning on the cave wall. As Koa approached, he looked up. "Hey! You there!"

Koa gave him a questioning look.

"You see any shady characters around?"

"Shady characters?"

"Suspicious people. There's been some crimes committed lately In Jubilife and Oreburgh, and we're trying to track down the criminals responsible."

Koa shrugged and shook his head. "No... sorry." He'd only see a few other people out walking about, and none looked very suspicious. Although he supposed any criminal worth his salt wouldn't be very good if he looked suspicious.

The officer sighed and waved him on. "Alright, keep going."

Koa took a step, then the officer held out his hand. "Hang on. Lemme see your Trainer's License."

Koa handed it over. The officer looked it over before handing it back. "Congratulations man. Good luck out there. Are you gonna try for the gym circuit?"

"Maybe. But I've got a lot I want to do."

The guard nodded. "I understand. Don't forget though, a lot of places require badges for entry if you plan to explore."

"I'll keep that in mind," Koa said. He started towards the exit. "Have a good day," he called back.

"Same to you!" The guard replied.

The Oreburgh Gate path was a bit long but turned out to be an uneventful walk. He only saw a couple of Geodude, which he was able to defeat a bit too easy to make it really worthwhile. He considered the guard's advice. Truthfully, he'd always known he would have to take on the gym circuit eventually. After his experience at the Ore caverns, he was considering going for the gym circuit sooner, rather than later. He knew for sure that the highest levels of Mt. Coronet were restricted to all but the most accomplished trainers. Perhaps after he got his Tyrunt, he would try for it. Eventually, the light at the end grew larger and brighter, until he emerged into Oreburgh City.

Oreburgh city was a sturdy mining town nestled between mountains. To the south lay its mines, where the Gym Leader Roark worked, and farther to the east lay the bulk of the Coronet Mountain Range, stretching almost far north as Snowpoint City. The north area was mostly housing, and perhaps the most important building - the Oreburgh Mining Museum. He hurried through the town as fast as he could run, not bothering to take in the sights.

A massive steel and glass building took up the northeast portion of the city - The Oreburgh Mining Museum. He burst through the door and skidded to stop. Roark himself stood just inside, talking with a woman in a lab coat. After a few more seconds, the woman nodded and walked away. Roark turned and noticed him.

"Roark!" Koa blurted. He hurried over to the gym leader.

"Hmm. Koamaru, isn't it? I remember your cousin, Blake. You live in my father's city, right?" Roark asked.

Koa nodded.

"What brings you out here? On another trip with Blake?"

"Nope!" Koa said proudly. "I got my trainer's license. And I found a Jaw fossil!"

Roark raised his eyebrows. "Incredible! A Jaw Fossil? Tyrunt are native to Kalos, so it's very unusual to see one here in Sinnoh. May I see it?"

Koa handed the fossil over. Roark turned it over slowly in his hands, nodding. "An excellent specimen indeed. More than good enough for revival."

"Sick! Can you do it now?"

Roark handed the fossil back and shook his head. "I'd love to since I've never had the pleasure of seeing a Tyrunt, but I won't. Tyrunt are very tough pokemon, and hard to train. Unless you have at least two gym badges, then you'll have to wait."

Koa gritted his teeth, suppressing his frustration and disappointment. He'd come all this way for nothing? No. There was something...

"Fine. I challenge you to a battle!"

Roark chuckled. "Very well, if that's what you want. But I warn you, I won't be going easy on you. Meet me at the gym. And I suggest you prepare well." Roark gave a brief wave before striding out of the museum.

"We're gonna defeat him, Hazard. Then we'll beat another gym. Whatever it takes to get Tyrunt." He glanced down at Hazard, who clung to his shoulder, then at Zubat, who dutifully hovered a few feet behind him. If he didn't get Tyrunt, then all his efforts in the caverns would have been for nothing. Clenching his fists, he stomped out of the museum.

Without waiting, he walked straight to the gym and burst through the doors. The inside of the gym looked as if it had been carved from rock. The walls and ceiling resembled a cave and a few gym members milled about. The gym leaders arena was located at the rear of the cave, on a raised platform of rock. Roark stood at the base, beside a steep slope, waiting for him.

"Alright let's battle!" Koa shouted as he approached.

"Are you certain you're prepared? I can wait as long as-"

"I'm ready. I want this badge."

Roark gave a nod and led him up the slope, effortlessly scaling the steep incline. Koa jogged after him. He slipped once, but regained his balance and continued.

Finally, he stood at the top. A large arena stretched out before him, Roark at the far end. Another man in miners' clothing stood to the side. The referee, Koa guessed. The miner spoke up. "This will be a one on one match! Koamaru Averon of Canalave vs Roark of Oreburgh! The challenger is free to use up to six pokemon, the defender will use three. Substitutions are allowed. Please choose your pokemon."

Koa pushed away a flicker of fear. Three pokemon? He could have sworn Roark used to use only two. And Hazard was weak to rock types. And ground. He swallowed and took a breath. There was no going back now. Besides, Roark was regarded as the first in the gym circuit. Koa felt sure he could handle him.

"Let's show them how it's done! Go Hazard!" Hazard sprang from his shoulder and hissed in challenge. Koa swore he saw Roark quirk an eyebrow at the choice.

"Boulder, show them how tough we are." Roark tossed out a pokeball, sending out a Geodude.

The referee stepped over to button on the wall and pressed it. A glowing barrier flashed around the open side of the arena then faded. Koa recognized it as one of the safety measures implemented to prevent heated battles from damaging gyms. The barrier blocked any kind of stray energy, while still allowing free movement.

"Battle, begin!" The referee called.

Roark crossed his arms. "First move is yours, Koa."

Koa stared at his opponent. This Geodude looked much tougher than the ones he had fought at Oreburgh Gate. But it couldn't be much harder, right? Against those Geodude, a few double effective Absorb attacks were all he needed.

"Hazard, use Absorb!"

"Dig!"

Before Hazard could make a move, Geodude disappeared underground. Hazard froze in confusion and panic.

"Underneath-" Koa realized what was happening too late.

Geodude erupted from under Hazard, launching him into the air with his fist. Hazard squealed as he fell.

"Rock Throw!" Geodude began to materialize a large rock in front of it.

Koa stared, his mind whirling as he tried to think of a counter. A moment later, Geodude hurled the rock. It smashed into Hazard, sending him flying into the barrier. He fell to the ground with an unceremonious thump. Slowly, Hazard got to his feet. He was battered and worn, and Koa guessed he could only take one more hit.

"String Shot!"

Hazard gathered his strength, then rapidly fired a blast of sticky webbing, binding Geodude tight.

"Now use Absorb!"

Hazard's eyes glowed red, and tendrils of energy began to flow from Geodude to him.

"Break free and use Rock Throw!" In a surprising display of strength, Geodude tore through its bindings. It looked weakened but clearly could still go on. A large rock materialized in front of it.

"Dodge!" Koa cried.

The warning came too late, however, and the rock crashed into Hazard, sending him flying back. The super-effective attack proved too much for the small bug, and he collapsed.

The referee gestured towards Roark. "Joltik is unable to battle! Roark wins the first round."

Koa's shoulders drooped as he returned Hazard. It was over already. He was about to turn and leave when he remembered. He still had one more pokeball. With a grimace, he took out Zubat.

"Go Zubat," he said, unenthusiastically.

Zubat emerged in a flash of white light and fluttered about the field, looking confused.

"Seriously?" Roark called. "A Zubat? Now you really don't stand a chance."

"We'll see," he muttered angrily. His anger boiled over, and he wished he could charge across the field and fight Roark himself for the badge. He'd probably have better odds, too.

"Boulder, Rock throw!"

It hurled the rock straight at Zubat. Koa stared at Zubat, unable to muster the drive to give him a command.

"Dodge," he called at the last moment.

At the last second, Zubat whirled out of the way, only getting his wing grazed. Koa felt torn between anger and apathy. He didn't believe it was possible to win with Zubat, but he felt angry that he hadn't even beaten Roark's first pokemon.

"Wing attack?" Koa realized he still didn't know all of Zubat's moves. Nor did he particularly care.

Zubat's wings glowed and he dived with surprising speed, striking a solid blow on Geodude. It slid back, grunting in surprise. Roark quirked his eyebrow but remained silent.

"Dig," Roark said, his voice confident.

"Absorb," Koa said, after a moment's hesitation. He remembered seeing a Zubat in a cave use it once. Hopefully, his Zubat knew it.

Zubat opened his jaws wide. Red energy emerged, drawing out the Geodude's energy. With a practiced roll, Geodude shook free of the attack and dived underground. Zubat fluttered above the hole uncertainly, his gaze flitting between his trainer and the hole.

A second later, Geodude erupted from the ground behind Zubat. Zubat's wings glowed as Geodude raised its fist. The two moves collided in the air, creating an explosion of smoke and wind. When the dust had settled, Geodude lay fainted. Zubat looked injured but was still airborne.

Koa's eyes widened. He'd expected Zubat to faint after one hit.

The referee's voice echoed through the arena. "Geodude is unable to battle. Koamaru wins the second match."

Roark folded his arms and nodded. "Not bad, Koa. But you'll need a lot more than that to beat my next pokemon!" He selected a pokeball from his belt. With a flick of his wrist, he tossed it onto the field.

A massive, towering Onix exploded onto the field, roaring its dominance.

Koa covered his ears, fear trickling into his heart.

Roark gestured dramatically to the hulking beast. "Rocky, use Screech!"

A deafening, high pitched cry rang across the battlefield. Zubat crashed to the ground, squealing in distress.

"Rock Throw!"

"Dodge, Zubat!" Koa yelled, his ears still ringing. Either Zubat hadn't heard or chose to ignore him. Either way, the fight was over moments later when Onix's boulder smashed into him. With a sigh, he recalled Zubat. "Unbelievable..." he muttered under his breath.

The referee raised his hand. "The match is over. Gym leader Roark is the winner!"

Roark returned Onix, then crossed the field to Koa. "You started strong, but you can't just rely on a single pokemon. Your Joltik wasn't anywhere near strong enough or tough enough to handle multiple pokemon in a row. Especially at a disadvantage. And your Zubat was-"

"I know!" Koa snapped. "Look, clearly, I made a mistake. No need to rub it in."

"I only-"

"Just stop. Hazard and Zubat need rest. And I have other things to do than stand around here all day getting lectured." Without waiting for a response, he turned and stormed away.

As he exited the gym, guilt consumed him. Roark had always been a friend to him and Blake. Still, he didn't need to hear all the ways that he failed. All he'd asked for was help reviving his fossil. So what if he didn't have any badges? That didn't mean he could tame a Tyrunt. For a moment, he considered sneaking into the museum and doing it himself, before dismissing the thought. No need to become a criminal. Not yet anyway, he thought jokingly.

After healing his pokemon quickly at the Pokemon center, he stocked up on supplies, then found a quiet spot near the edge of town. He needed to figure out where to go next. Taking out his two pokeballs, he sent out Hazard and Zubat. Hazard gave him an apologetic chirp and nuzzled his ankle.

Koa chuckled and stroked his fuzzy body. "It's alright buddy. You did your best. I should have trained you better before fighting Roark, especially since you were at a disadvantage. And I should have researched him. I didn't realize he had three pokemon." He mentally cursed himself for not looking up Roark's third pokemon while he was at the Pokemon Center. Oh well, he could do that later.

Hazard chittered and scurried up his arm, nuzzling into his neck. With that settled, Koa whirled on Zubat, who had perched on a rock nearby.

"You! I didn't even want you on my team. And today's battle proved you don't have what it takes. It's my fault for not getting rid of you sooner. I'm taking you back to the pokemon center and releasing you." Even as he spoke the words, a pang of guilt flickered through him. He'd thrown Zubat into a battle he was utterly unprepared for.

Zubat chittered in alarm and fluttered in circles. Koa tried to brush him away, but he remained undeterred.

Koa groaned and reached for Zubat's pokeball. Zubat screeched in alarm dived into the pokeball, knocking it out of his hand. "What the heck!" Koa yelped. He gave a resigned sigh. "Look, Zubat. I'm sorry." Zubat stopped flitting about and hovered in front of Koa.

"I never should have even caught you in the first place. And I definitely shouldn't have thrown you into that battle. You weren't ready and I didn't even try to help you. But... you're not part of my plan, so you can't be on my team."

A jolt of electricity shot through his body, making his fingers tingle. "Ow!" He looked down at his shoulder to see Hazard glaring at him. Realizing his words, Koa tentatively patted him. "I'm sorry, buddy. I didn't mean you. Besides, you still fit into the Plan, sort of."

Hazard's fur fluffed up and he continued to glare at Koa. Koa withdrew his hand and sighed, looking at Zubat again.

"Okay, fine. I'm not catching a Starly until after I get Tyrunt, so you can stay for now."

Zubat screeched happily.

"But, as soon as I do, I'm releasing you. Or sending you to stay with Professor Rowan. Got it?"

Zubat shrieked and did a loop, then landed on his head. Hazard buzzed with annoyance from his shoulder, clearly not fully satisfied with the decision. Koa did his best to ignore him. The Zubat had pluck, sure. But Zubat just wasn't a good pokemon. Starly was naturally strong and became even more of a powerhouse when it reached its final form. He sighed inwardly.

"Well, the next step is Eterna City." He paused for a moment, contemplating. The fastest route would have been going north and taking the Bike Path. Unfortunately, the Bike Path required a bike, which he did not have. That left one other option. Backtracking to Jubilife, traveling north to Floaroma City, then continuing north through Eterna forest. The trip was at least a week, probably more, since Eterna Forest was huge, and difficult to navigate. Oh well, at least he could get in some good training for Hazard. His route featured plenty of weak pokemon, as well as some water types.

Tall grass tickled Koa's legs as he followed Route 204 north. With every inhale of breath, he could smell a faint sweet scent of flowers, carried on the southern breeze. The trees all around had been cleared to make a straight forward grassy path. Small ponds dotted the area, giving the route a calming feel. He'd been traveling for the better part of a day and a half, and in the distance, he could just make out the cliff face that signified the start of Ravaged Path. The quickest route to Floaroma town. The walk had been pleasant, but prosperous as well. A few weak Starly even gave him the chance to train Hazard a bit.

As he waded through a patch of grass towards the entrance to Ravaged Path, a spot to his left rustled. A brown furry pokemon emerged, followed by a young girl.

"Hey there!" she called, waving at him. "Wanna battle?"

Koa sized her and her Bidoof up. "Sure!" he replied.

Hazard could use the chance to train against something that he didn't have a super-effective attack against.

Koa grinned and took out Hazard's pokeball. "Go Hazard!"

Hazard emerged onto the path with an excited chirp. He and the Bidoof locked gazes for a few seconds.

"Start with String Shot and immobilize it!" Koa called.

Hazard launched the blast of sticky webbing straight for Bidoof.

"Dodge, Bidoof," her trainer called. Her Bidoof leaped backward, displaying unexpected agility.

Fortunately, Koa had practiced with Hazard's String Shot, improving its strength and distance. The web extended and wrapped around Bidoof, sending it tumbling to the ground.

"Electroweb!"

The girl said something Koa didn't catch.

As Hazard charged the attack, Bidoof began to spin rapidly in place. Koa quickly recognized the attack as Rollout.

"Launch Electroweb now!" he called.

Bidoof shot forward with surprising speed, just as Hazard released Electroweb. The two attacks collided, Bidoof spinning and pressing against the Electroweb for a moment. There was a small explosion and Bidoof was sent flying back.

Koa grinned. Electroweb hadn't done too much damage, but Hazard remained undamaged. His attacks were getting stronger.

"Bug Bite."

"Defense Curl! Block it."

Hazard's pincers glowed white, growing slightly longer. Then he charged at Bidoof.

Bidoof's eyes widened. It squeaked in terror then quickly curled into a ball, its fur glowing with a faint metallic sheen.

Hazard's pincers clamped onto it, but Koa could see that the attack did little damage, thanks to Bidoof's Defense Curl.

But Defense Curl wouldn't protect against everything. "Now, Electroweb!"

Hazard quickly shot a blast of electric energy, covering Bidoof in a web of crackling electricity.

It squealed in pain, then fell limp. The web faded, leaving the Bidoof unconscious.

"Nice job, Hazard!" Hazard chirped happily and discharged a few sparks triumphantly.

Bidoof trainer returned it, then nodded. "Your Joltik is pretty impressive. Here, a little reward from Bidoof and I."

To his surprise, she handed him a few poke.

Koa accepted it, then bid the trainer farewell. After she had gone, he took out the battery pack he'd bought in Jubilife, allowing Hazard to recharge himself. The device had cost him a pretty penny, but it was worth it.

"Alright, take a good rest. We'll be at Ravaged Path soon, and I want you ready to battle." He took out Hazard's pokeball and returned him. Standing up, he continued down the path. As he walked, he spotted a few trainers, some having battles or training, but didn't challenge them. He to save Hazard for Ravaged Path, after all.

Koa pressed on, emerging from the grass at the entrance to Ravaged Path. He strode inside, the light behind him fading. The main area of Ravaged Path was fairly straightforward. A staircase sloped steeply upwards to a path that curved to the right, emerging on the top of the cliff. Unlike Ore cave, which had yet to be fully mapped, thanks to Onix's and such, Ravaged Path was no more than a small cave with an underground lake. Just as he ascended the stairs, a Geodude leaped from a ledge above, barring their path. A grin spread across Koa's face. Perfect. Training time.

As it turned out, Hazard was able to take out the Geodude fairly easily. Using a combination of String Shot and Absorb, he wore it down rather quickly. From there, it was simple to finish it with Bug Bite.

Despite how easy the battle was, it did give him some confidence for his eventual rematch against Roark. In the back of his mind, he was already trying to figure out a strategy to beat him. Of course, it would be a cinch once he caught his Tyrogue. They were known to hang outside Eterna, and he planned to catch one after fighting Gardenia. Within the hour, he exited the cave to the upper half of Route 204.

From here he knew it was a fairly straight shot, past some trees and through some patches of overgrown grass. At the pace he kept, he figured he could make it to Floaroma by tomorrow morning. He only saw a few other people along the route, which didn't surprise him. Floarama wasn't a very large town, so there weren't many travelers. Once the sun started to set, he made camp for the night. Hazard seemed content to remain in his pokeball, so he let Zubat out to stretch his wings.

The next morning, he awoke to a strange weight on his chest. Blinking his eyes, he opened them to see Zubat nestled against his chest, sleeping peacefully. Or at least, he assumed he was sleeping. Zubat's lack of eyes made it hard to tell. Watching it, he almost pitied the poor creature. After several moments, he sat up slowly. Zubat gave a soft squeak and fluttered into the air, shaking its head. "Time to go, buddy." Zubat screeched excitedly and began to fly about. He seemed so happy. Koa decided to let it stay outside its pokeball. Floaroma town was close anyway, so he wouldn't be flying far. He packed up camp, then released Hazard to travel on his shoulder.

A few hours later, he spotted Floarama's infamous wooden arches, which had been built only a few years ago. They marked the entrances to the town and added to the flowery, bright feeling of everything.

As he passed under the arch and into Floaroma town, he was assaulted by a mix of earthy and flowery scents. Floaroma town consisted of groups of small, quaint cottages with large fenced-in gardens all around. Just inside the town walls, to his right, was the Pokemon Center, and just north of that, the Pokemart. Directly beside the Pokemart, he saw the town's most well-known attraction. The Pick-a-Peck of Flowers shop.

Hazard scuttled off his shoulder towards the shop, eyes gleaming eagerly.

"Man I guess you guys must be pretty hungry," Koa mused. He'd run out of fresh berries not long ago. Now would be the perfect time to stock up.

Hazard trotted ahead, up to the flower shop. A young lady who was tending a berry plant noticed him.

"Hello there!" she said cheerfully. Her hand shot out as she tried to pet him. Hazard chittered in alarm, his fur fluffing, and nipped her. "Ouch! What was that for?" She shook her hand and frowned.

Koa hurried over to the woman. She shot him a glare. "Is this your Joltik?"

"Yeah-"

"Well you should teach that thing some manners! What a beast."

Koa clenched his fists. "Maybe you shouldn't touch other people's pokemon!"

"Hmph. Just keep that thing away from me. I don't want it trampling my plants."

Hazard shot her an angry glare as he returned to his perch on Koa's shoulder. Koa glared at her back, wondering how a Pokemon as tiny as Joltik could possibly trample anything.

"Don't worry Hazard. You're not a beast, and your manners are fine," he murmured. He stepped inside the shop, a bell above the door chiming as he walked in. Zubat darted inside after him, then landed on his head. He sighed, not bothering to shoo it away.

"Hello, welcome to Pick a Peck of Flowers!" A young woman behind the counter greeted him cheerfully. A Roserade stood beside her, watching them. "Can I help you?"

"Well I want to get some berries for my pokemon," Koa said. His voice trailed as he stared at a sign behind the lady, detailing the different berries they carried. He realized he had no idea what kind of berries his Pokemon liked. Most Pokemon would eat Oran berries, but they usually had a favorite as well.

"Is it for that adorable little Joltik?" the woman asked. "And Zubat I assume?"

Koa nodded.

The lady smiled. "A Zubat? I'd definitely go for a Pecha berry. They usually love sweet things. As for the little guy..." She tilted her head and tapped her chin. "You look like you'd like something spicy, wouldn't you?" she cooed.

"Rosy, bring some Pecha berries and Tamato berries please."

Koa suddenly remembered the honey tree where he first found Zubat. "Actually, can you add a jar of honey as well? I think my Zubat acquired a taste for the stuff."

At the mention of Honey, Zubat perked up and shrieked happily.

The Roserade nodded and disappeared into the back of the shop. A few moments later, she returned with three packages balanced expertly in its hands. She placed them on the counter. One contained a few Pecha Berries, the second Tomato berries, the final one a jar of honey.

"200 Poke!" The saleswoman said.

Koa dished out the money, then purchased some sandwiches for himself from a nearby cafe. Then he led his pokemon to some picnic tables near the flower meadows where he sat down to enjoy his meal. As soon as he opened the jar of honey, Zubat screeched and attacked it voraciously. Koa laughed at the display, watching as the little Zubat practically buried his head inside the jar. Hazard made a strange noise he could only assume was some kind of laugh. Zubat was rather cute, he supposed. He would almost be sad to see it go. Almost. Shaking his head, he set to enjoying his own lunch.

After he finished eating, and his Pokemon finished their meals, he headed for the west gate, towards Route 205. If he continued west, he could reach the famed Valley Windworks. Valley Windworks was only an hour or so outside town, making it a suitable place for training. He planned to train there a bit, before heading north for Eterna Forest.

Once he reached the Windworks, he paused to take stock of the area. A wide open grassy expanse spread out before him, with a paved road leading to the gates of the actual Windworks plant. In the distance, Windworks river wove around the factory before flowing back to the west. Suddenly, Zubat gave an ecstatic screech, launching himself off his head. He flew straight towards a small golden leafed tree on the side of the road. He latched onto the bark and began licking it delightedly. Koa rolled his eyes. Well, as long as Zubat was distracted with his honey, he could work on Hazard some more.

Koa singled out several small rocks scattered in the area. "Alright Hazard, let's keep working on your electricity. Rapid-fire Electroweb on those rocks."

Hazard sprang off his shoulder and began launching Electrowebs at the rocks. At first, it could barely last five minutes without a recharge. Koa continued working with him for the next hour however, only stopping to allow him to recharge. According to the Pokedex, by discharging all their electricity and then recharging, they could slowly expand their storage capacity. Pretty soon, Hazard was able to last longer and longer without a recharge. Koa guessed he could go at least fifteen minutes. That would be more than enough to last in a battle against Roark.

Feeling satisfied, he let Hazard rest for awhile. In the distance, he saw Zubat flying about, dipping and diving through the sky. As he watched, he couldn't help but marvel at how well the Zubat had adapted to sunlight. He supposed Zubat had gotten used to it from its time pursuing honey trees.

After a good rest, he called Zubat over. He shrieked happily and landed on Koa's head again. Koa held back a sigh and started walking towards Route 205. It occurred to him he was beginning to grow used to the Zubat's presence.

The walk to Eterna forest was nearly two days from where he was, but he was looking forward to it. Route 205 was a simple route. The first bit consisted of a beautiful flowered meadow, shifting into grassy plains and small canyons. He traveled in relative peace for several hours. He battled a few trainers with Hazard and won most of them. That evening, he made camp at a spot where the canyon split, and the land met the bank of Windworks River.

As usual, he set out early next morning. He hoped to make it to the edge of Eterna by nightfall. According to the maps he'd studied, there was a small cabin just outside the boundary of the forest. It served as a rest stop for weary trainers. If he could reach it, he could rest there and get a solid start on Eterna Forest tomorrow morning.

He hadn't been walking long before he spied a young boy in a purple tunic. The boy was instructing his Meditite to attack a tree. The Meditite would summon an attack, then strike the tree.

As Koa approached, the boy stopped and whirled to face him. His eyes darted to Zubat before breaking out into mocking laughter. His Meditite stopped training to mimic him.

Koa clenched his fists and strode up to the boy, stopping less than a foot away. "What's so funny?"

The boy pointed and laughed again. "A Zubat! How pathetic indeed, to use such a weak pokemon. The-"

Koa punched him in the face. "No one calls my pokemon weak!"

Zubat screeched at the boy, who crawled so his feet, a hand clamped to his nose. "How dare you attack me in such a manner?"

"How dare you talk to my pokemon like that?" Even though he didn't intend to keep Zubat, he wouldn't put up with anyone insulting his pokemon either. "How about your Meditite vs my Joltik? I'll show you what power looks like."

The boy laughed. "No way! Your Joltik looks almost as pathetic as your Zubat. Almost. It doesn't prove a thing unless your sad little Zubat can beat my Meditite." The Meditite grinned cockily and smirked at him.

Koa balked. He highly doubted Zubat stood a chance against the Meditite. Hazard could handle it. But Zubat was weak and inexperienced. Still, his pride (and Zubat) had been challenged. If he backed out now, he would be a coward. "Fine," he growled. "What's your name?"

"Kody," the boy replied arrogantly. "With a 'K'. Meditite and I are going to become the greatest Psychics ever."

Koa rolled his eyes. "Alright Zubat, get ready to fight."

Zubat launched himself off Koa's head and took up a battle stance, hovering a few feet above the ground.

Koa glared at the boy. "If I win, you admit that my Zubat is awesome. And give me, say, 200 poke."

"What if I win?" Kody demanded.

"You get the satisfaction of knowing you're right. And 200 poke."

The boy mused for a moment before nodding. "Alright fine. I'll show you just what a mistake you made with a weakling like that. Go Sai!" Meditite hopped forwards took up a fighting stance.

"I'll give you first move," Koa said, smirking.

"Your loss. Sai, use Confusion." A wave of blue energy surged towards Zubat.

"Confuse it," Zubat opened its jaws, firing a nearly invisible soundwave at Meditite. It struck Meditite, who began to teeter.

"Wing attack!" Zubat dived down and struck Meditite, knocking it back.

"Come Sai, let us finish off this foolish Zubat! Use Hidden Power."

Sai began to charge a ball of energy, but his concentration slipped and it exploded, knocking him into a tree. Zubat dived down and struck him again with Wing Attack. Sai yelped and slumped to the ground.

"Finish him!" Koa cried. Could he actually get lucky and win this?

"Counter with Psyshock." Sai shook his head, clearing it, then launched a glowing bluish orb.

Koa didn't even have time to process what was happening, and neither did Zubat. The attack knocked him out of the air, and he crashed to the ground, stunned.

"One more time Sai." The second Psyshock hit Zubat, sending up a cloud of dust from the force of the impact.

"Zubat no!"

Zubat gave a groan and tried to stand.

"See! Just as I predicted, your Zubat is weak." The boy smirked and Sai gave a taunting cry. As much as he wanted to, Koa couldn't bring himself to make a retort. Kody was right.

Zubat made one last attempt to stand. To Koa's surprise, he let out a defiant shriek and charged Meditite with Wing Attack.

Kody remained unfazed. "Confusion, slow it down."

Meditite's eyes glowed blue, and a blue glow surrounded Zubat. Zubat briefly halted midair before being slammed unceremoniously into the ground, unconscious.

Koa's shoulder's sagged. He returned Zubat, then paid out the money he owed.

"Ha! See, I was right," Kody gloated. "Zubat is pathetic." He strutted off, his Meditite floating after him.

Once he had gone, Koa released Zubat again. He gave it a potion to restore it, then sat back and sighed. Zubat fluttered to life and stood up awkwardly. He squeaked sadly and ducked his head, almost as if he was ashamed. Koa stroked his furry blue head thoughtfully.

Zubat had lost, unsurprisingly. What did surprise him was that he should have fainted much earlier, after the first Psyshock. The fact that he survived the second shocked Koa even more. And then... he reflected on the battle, how Zubat bravely tried to keep fighting anyway. Even when he was exhausted. Despite how he'd rejected Zubat constantly, he had clearly put everything he had into the battle. Another thought occurred to him, one he'd tried to avoid thinking about. Technically, Zubat was his starter. Not Joltik. It was the first pokemon he acquired after becoming a licensed trainer.

Confusion brewed inside him. His head said not to keep Zubat, regardless of what it had done. Plenty of books he read mentioned how flighty and unpredictable they were. How they were a weak species, hard to train. Yet his heart said otherwise. Even after he'd gotten angry at Zubat after their loss to Roark, it had persisted. For him.

"Oh Zubat, I'm sorry!" he cried out. "I've been an awful trainer to you. You fought so hard for me and I didn't fight for you."

Zubat perked up slightly, lifting his head as if staring straight at Koa.

Hazard chirped encouragingly from his shoulder.

"This whole time I've been thinking what a terrible pokemon you are, but I'm the one who's terrible. I should have been training you to bring out your strength. A good trainer works with his pokemon, no matter what." Koa took a deep breath. "Can you forgive me, Zubat?"

Without hesitation, Zubat shrieked happily. He flew into the air, doing a little loop before landing on Koa's head.

Koa laughed and patted him, grinning from ear to ear. "Now that that's settled, how about a nickname?"

Zubat squeaked amiably.

"Hmmm... let's see. Flutter? No, that's dumb. Dracula? Too cliche. How about...Echo?"

Zubat gave a delighted screech and nuzzled against his cheek.

"Echo it is then." He glanced happily between his two pokemon-no, partners. A surge of pride flowed through him. They weren't part of the Plan, but they were good. Besides, there were still 4 more slots on his Plan. It just needed a bit of adjusting. "Now, it's time for some hardcore training! Roark is too tough to beat right now, but Gardenia is a grass-type gym leader. The two of you should be able to handle her pretty easily." The only obstacle standing in his way now was Eterna Forest.

Hazard (Male Joltik) - Electroweb, Bug Bite, String Shot, Absorb

Echo (Male Zubat) - Supersonic, Absorb, Bite, Wing Attack

And there's chapter 3! Koa has suffered a humiliating defeat, though it is due to his own poor choices. But he has learned a valuable lesson about being a trainer. Next up is the Eterna gym. Will he put his lessons to good use?

Thank you for reading, hope everyone enjoyed it. As usual, read, review and comment please!

You can expect to see Chapter 4 posted on the 8th.

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