The next morning, after breakfast, Stoick stands in front of the gym with Hiccup and Astrid in front of him. Stoick says to the two kids, "Well, I suppose you're off now to continue your Pokémon journey."
Hiccup nods. "Yep, off to go explore the world I guess."
Stoick nods. "Tell you what, when you get four gym badges under your belt, come back here and I will give you a battle that you will never forget."
Hiccup nods again, with a bit more confusion this time but it is still a nod. "Yeah, sure. Well…bye." With that, he starts to walk off.
Stoick looks to Astrid and says, "Make sure he stays out of trouble."
Astrid nods and says, "I will sir, thank you." before walking with Hiccup.
After a quick stop to the Pokémon Center to heal up and the Pokémart to pick up some supplies, Hiccup and Astrid head out and once they were just outside Petalburg City, Hiccup just had to ask, "So Astrid, I gotta know. What are gyms?"
Astrid jokes, "You mean your dad is a gym leader and you don't even know about gyms?"
Hiccup rolls his eyes. "Did you forget the fact that I wasn't in this world a week ago?"
Astrid laughs a bit to that. "Fair enough. Well, all across this region there are eight Pokémon gyms, in each gym you battle a leader which specializes in one specific Pokémon type and if you can defeat a gym leader then you'll receive a badge. If you can defeat all eight leaders then you will be able to challenge the Pokémon League with a chance to become the new champion."
Hiccup nods. "Interesting. So, since my dad is a gym leader…"
Astrid nods. "That means at some point you'll have to battle him. How do you feel about that?"
Hiccup rubs his arm and says, "I'll see how I feel about it when it's actually time for that."
Astrid nods again. "Of course."
Hiccup then asks, "So, what gym should I go for first?"
Astrid thinks about that. "Well, a lot of trainers start at the Rustboro City gym."
"Rustboro city huh?"
Astrid nods. "It's a city just north of the Petalburg Woods which is just up ahead. Just so you know, the leader of that gym specializes in Rock Type Pokémon."
Hiccup nods. "Rock types eh?"
"Yep. Rock types are weak against Water, Grass, and Fighting Types. That Seedot of yours might be a good start but it would probably be good to get at least one other Pokémon just for safety."
Hiccup nods again. "I'll keep that in mind."
Astrid explains, "There are a lot of Pokémon in the Petalburg Woods so you might be able to find something there. Just, keep it in mind. Oh, we're here."
Hiccup looks ahead and sees a lightly dense forest with lots of trees and bug Pokémon roaming the ground.
Hiccup and Astrid enter the woods and walk for a few minutes, admiring the lush forest, when suddenly a scream was heard. "Stop! Thief!"
Hiccup and Astrid run towards the sound of the voice and they soon see what appears to be a scientist who looked very nervous. The scientist sees Hiccup and Astrid standing there and says, "Oh, are you two trainers? Sorry to bother you but I need help."
Astrid asks, "What's going on?"
The scientist explains, "You see, I was just walking through the woods when suddenly this strange man ran up to me and stole my research. I need to get it back as soon as possible, it's very important."
Astrid nods. "We'll help as best as we can. Where did the man run off to?"
The scientist points to behind him. "Down that way. You have to hurry."
Astrid nods again. "Got it. Hiccup, let's go."
"Right." Hiccup replies before he and Astrid run off in the direction the scientist pointed to.
They both ran for a minute before coming across the man that they assumed the scientist was talking about. He wore a blue and white striped shirt and on his head was a bandana with some kind of round symbol on it.
Astrid yells, "Hey! Stop!"
The strange man turns around and sees Hiccup and Astrid there. He smirks and says, "So, that puny scientist sent some kids to take his papers back? Well isn't that cute."
Hiccup steps up and says, "You better give us back that research that you stole."
The man laughs. "You really are something, kid. Thinking you can take on Team Aqua like that. Well then, you've got another thing coming. Poochyena, go!" The Team Aqua grunt throws a Pokéball and out comes that same grey dog that Hiccup saved the professor from. Poochyena growls as soon as it is out.
Hiccup pulls up the Pokédex and it reads, "Poochyena, the bite Pokémon. At first sight, Poochyena will take a bite at anything that moves. With its strong sense of smell, it is able to track down and chase its prey until it gets exhausted."
Astrid looks to Hiccup and asks, "You got this one?"
Hiccup nods. "Yeah, I think so. If this guy wants a battle then that's what he's going to get. Torchic, go!" Hiccup throws Torchic's Pokéball, causing Torchic to pop out. "Torrrrrr."
The Team Aqua grunt yells, "Poochyena, Howl!"
"PoooOOOOOOOch." Poochyena howls as if to the moon.
Astrid explains, "Howl causes a Pokémon's attack power to be raised a little bit."
The grunt then yells, "Now, Bite!"
"Pooch-pooch" Poochyena runs towards Torchic with its mouth wide open, fangs showing.
"Torchic, dodge." Torchic jumps out of the way. "Now, use Scratch!" Torchic scratches Poochyena right on the head.
Poochyena shakes it off and locks eyes with Torchic. The grunt yells, "Poochyena, Sand Attack!"
"Pooch." Poochyena turns around and uses its hind legs to kick sand at Torchic. The sand hits Torchic and gets into its eyes.
"Tooooor." Torchic yells trying to get the sand out of its eyes.
Hiccup says to Torchic, "Torchic, I know it hurts but I need you to trust me here, got it?" Torchic still couldn't open its eyes, but it nods. "Ok then. Torchic, turn around and use Ember!"
Torchic, with its eyes still closed, turns around in a flash and fires off small fire balls saying, "Torrrrchic-chic-chic." that caught Poochyena off guard and was a direct hit and caused clouds of smoke to appear.
Once the smoke was clear, Poochyena was lying on the ground with burned up patches. The Team Aqua grunt growls at the fact that he lost, so he calls Poochyena back into its Pokéball and says, "Whatever. I didn't need this stupid research anyway." before throwing the papers on the ground and running away while saying, "This isn't the last you'll hear of Team Aqua!"
Torchic manages to get the sand out of its eyes and opens them. Hiccup comments, "Great job, Torchic."
Astrid comments. "Wow, that was pretty impressive how Torchic trusted you to battle even though it couldn't see. How did you learn something like that?"
Hiccup shrugs. "I picked up a few tricks like that in my old world. You did great Torchic, you deserve a rest."
"Torrrrr…" Hiccup calls Torchic back into its Pokéball before picking up the papers with Astrid and they both head back to the scientist.
Once the scientist got his papers back, and looked through them to make sure everything's there, he says, "Oh thank you so much for your help. I don't know what Team Aqua is but they do not sound good. I'm afraid I don't have much to offer as a reward."
Hiccup shakes his head. "No worries, we're just glad to help."
The scientist nods. "Well, I best be getting back to the weather institute on route 119. You kids be careful as you get through the woods." With that the scientist walks off.
The rest of the trail through the Petalburg Woods was actually quite easy to get through, minus a trainer or two. Once they got outside the woods, Hiccup spots something moving in the tall grass. A blue fin appears out of the top of the grass and moves forwards, revealing a small, blue mud skipper.
The Pokémon says, "Mudkip." as it exits the grass.
Astrid smiles and says, "Oh my gosh, a Mudkip! I've never seen one in the wild."
Hiccup raises a brow. "Mudkip? Wait, that was one of the Pokémon I could've chosen from when I started my journey."
Hiccup pulls up the Pokédex and it says, "Mudkip, the mud fish Pokémon. The fin on Mudkip's head acts as a highly sensitive radar that senses movement in the water to determine what is going on. It also uses the fin to propel itself in water with powerful acceleration."
Hiccup puts the Pokédex away and says, "Are we sure that it's wild? I wouldn't want to take it if it belongs to someone."
Astrid nods. "Good point but I don't see any other trainers around and it doesn't seem to be lost at all. Are you thinking about catching it?"
Hiccup replies, "Maybe. I mean, it is a Water Type so it could help me out with this first gym. Hmm. Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try." He walks up to Mudkip and says, "Hi there, little Mudkip. Are you lost or something?"
"Mud?" Mudkip asks.
Hiccup pulls out a few pieces of Pokémon food and offers them to Mudkip. "Are you hungry? I bet this will taste really good."
Astrid comments, "Is he really trying that method again?"
Mudkip sniffs the food before happily saying, "Mudkip!" and eating the food.
Hiccup chuckles to that. "Tastes good right? So, I have a question for you, how would you like to join me on my journey?"
Mudkip looks to Hiccup with confusion. "Kip?"
Hiccup then says, "Let me explain. I'm a trainer and I could use a Pokémon like you on my team. If you don't want to come with me, that's fine, but it would be nice. What do you say?" Just like with Seedot, he holds out his hand, allowing Mudkip to sniff.
Mudkip could see that Hiccup didn't want to fight at all, but in fact he wants to be its friend. Mudkip figured that maybe this could be a good thing for it, as it had heard about trainers and how being with them can make a Pokémon stronger than in the wild, so Mudkip leans in and touches Hiccup's hand with its head. "Mudkip!"
Hiccup smiles and says, "Perfect. Now, I do think you should get in here." He holds out a Pokéball.
Mudkip smiles and says, "Mudkip!" before leaning in and touching the ball, causing it to open up and making Mudkip go inside.
Hiccup stands up and says, "Well that went better than I thought."
Astrid walks up and says, "Ok, you have to teach me how to do that. I've never seen a Pokémon that didn't want to battle me for the chance to get caught."
Hiccup puts the Pokéball away and says, "It's not that hard. All it takes is patience, understanding, and a will to want to show these Pokémon that they can trust you." With that, Hiccup and Astrid head further north into Rustboro City.