Hello everyone and welcome to the first chapter! This chapter will get the most important characters down and on the page and will set up Lucas’s initiation for becoming the Champion. Thanks for reading and please leave honest reviews!
Chapter 1: Initiation
“HYAH! HYUH! HAA!” An 18-year-old boy was striking rapid kicks and punches into a red punching bag in his room as he toned his physique into peak fighting form. Lucas had always loved the fight, and the fight always loved him. He morphed into a perfect war machine once his feet entered the ring, and his cool and calculated technique pried apart opponents with exquisite precision and perfection. If beauty were a beast, it would be Lucas, people would say. He dug in a kick that swung the back up into a 90-degree position that touched the ceiling along its length.
Of course, fighting wasn’t his center, though; it was just a hobby. The truth, which only he and his best friend, Barry, knew, was that he wanted to be a lawyer, a master of language and surgeon-like persuasion. It was why he continued school for so long even though many of his friends, save for Barry, had left for their Pokémon adventures. He had little respect for many such kids to this day. They would run out with the promises of returning as Champions and Gym Leaders, ignoring the harsh truth that the vast majority of them would become fodder battlers for stronger trainers. In fact, he knew of some children who remained bug catchers for nearly eight years since they began. Sure, Lucas knew of some good trainers and he respected them as warriors, but he knew that any title short of Gym-leader or Champion would not be enough to provide for a family. In the meantime, he fought to pay for college, which would hopefully pay for his future.
He wiped the beaded sweat on his forehead, steadied his stance, and began pummeling the bag again. While the bag was taking his wrath, the TV beside him began to proceed to a new program after the advertisements. New voices narrating the program, seizing his attention and prompting him to give the poor bag some respite and hang his towel around his neck as he intently watched. There was a boy on TV not older than him, wearing what looked like a funny white beanie that made him look like he had white hair, riding a bicycle at a rapid pace alongside a Kirlia and girl his age.
The scene then cut to a battle where the girl and boy seemed to have teamed up against the announcers. A Blaziken and a Gardevoir were tearing away at a Wishmur and Magnemite with unprecedented ease and power. The ever-perceptive Lucas instantly began deconstructing the expressions in the trainer’s and Pokemon’s eyes, knowing the fire of a capable fighter. The program then cut to an interview with the two trainers. The boy was named Brendan and moved from Goldenrod City to Hoenn. His Garvevoir was named Gwen and could also use Telepathy and quite a bit of sass to talk to humans. The girl, named May, was actually not a trainer but a coordinator for contests.
The sweat kept dripping down his nose as he turned his full attention to the TV, his interest piqued. “So, you’re a rising hot-shot from Johto, and it looks like you’re making quite the mark in Hoenn already,” the interviewer asked, “So where do you aspire to be in the future?” the interviewer asked.
“Well, I’m just a trainer aiming to win the Hoenn League title and eventually become the Champion.”
“Well that concludes this week’s episode of In Search of Trainers,” the announcer said. “Stay tuned! Next week, we travel to the wonderful Sinnoh region!”
“I like him: he’s probably the first trainer in years to actually have a chance at getting somewhere. The dude’s got some game,” Lucas thought. “And a girl,” he added as he raised his fists up to antagonize his punching bag again.
After he had exerted himself to exhaustion, he sat down on his bed and ran his hand through his damp hair, feeling doubt and guilt creep up on him, as the interviewer’s question kept ringing around in his head: “Where do you aspire to be in the future?” He had an answer. A lawyer: wanted to be one for the rest of his life, right? That had always been what he wanted. Mauville University had already accepted him for a pre-law major, and he was just eight years away from his dream career.
Money, a family, success, and dignity: they would all be his if he stayed on this track. But of course, he had to pay for all that. Not just with money, but with time. His father had passed away just a few years ago, and he knew he couldn’t buy an education with the pennies and nickels.
Just to keep themselves alive, Lucas’s mother had to work long and hard shifts at the Pokémon Center; she saw her son for only a few hours in the day. With tuition for school in the hundreds of thousands of PokeDollars, Lucas would be forced to make debts for himself so early on in his life. It wasn’t the money that scared him, though. There isn’t a dollar value a lawyer’s income couldn’t cover if he played his cards right.
His mother’s health was failing her. Years of tiring and unceasing work began to wear down on her bones and flesh. Lucas didn’t care for her through the day, she would have been long dead. Lucas stared up at the bright lights in his celling, lost in thoughts as the rays berated his retinas. The interview’s question rang through his thoughts yet again. He had a choice: he could become a lawyer and risk everything to achieve his dreams, maybe even sacrifice his mother’s health in the process. Or he could become something else, someone else, and bring in the money his family needed now. The only question was, what would he become if not the man he was in his dreams?
Lucas stood once more and trodden down the stairs into the living room of his little house. It wasn’t much, there was only a TV, a couch, and a kitchen on the bottom floor, but it sufficed. He collapsed on the couch, rubbing the bridge of his nose and diving into pensive thought. His mother, Johanna, took notice of her crestfallen child. She had had Lucas when she was young, and since James had passed away Lucas was all she had that held her to her sanity. “Lucas?” she called before pausing to wet her strained voice with some water. “Lucas? What’s the matter, dear?” She made his way over to him and sat by his side, stroking his hair. “Lucas, nothing will change if you don’t talk to me.”
“Nothing will change if I do, either.”
Johanna rolled her eyes. “We’ll see about that. Now, tell me. Something is bothering you.”
“You remember the offer I got from MU?”
“I know; you were ecstatic when the results came out, jumping up and down the entire house…what about that?”
“I can’t pay the tuition.”
Her expression changed as the gravity of the situation rose beyond her ability to console him. “I know that too,” she said hesitantly. “But I’m sure there’s a way for us t—”
“There is no way for us. I have to take on the debt.”
“Well, I’m sure that’s no problem. You’re a smart kid, and you’ll pay it off in no time once you’ve got the job you want.”
“That’s not the only problem.” Johana’s face began to become sullen as he said this. She knew what was coming next.
“We’ll have no way to pay for your medical bills. I won’t be there to take care of you. You’ll…” his voice trailed off as he refused to say what his mind knew would happen.
There was an uneasy pause that ensued before Johana spoke: “Don’t you worry about me. Even if I look dead, I’ll be as good as alive if I know that you’re happy. Lucas, you’ve always wanted this, and I don’t want to be the one to ever hold you back. If that’s the path you want, don’t be a fool and stop for me.”
“I’m not going to lose you too, mom,” Lucas shakily said as tears began to fight the clarity of his vision. Johana knew what had to be done. It had been a long time coming, but if it was ever going to be of use now was the time. He deserved to know.
“Lucas Drake, that last name of yours has more weight than you think it does.” Lucas was puzzled. Sure, his father was a successful businessman, but he was no Stone or Silph. “James was a trainer once.” Lucas’ eyes widened with bewilderment and disbelief. His mother was either lying or a lunatic. “He went all the way to the Elite 4. He was a trainer with so much promise and virtue that it was too much for his own good. He used his political power as an Elite 4 member to reduce taxes withdraw the services of the government. But not all of the citizens were overjoyed. When he threatened to remove unemployment benefits, the poor began to riot. He, being James, decided to ignore them and continue, reasoning that you deserved bread only if you earned it through your own work.” A tear rolled down Johana’s cheek. “He’d only been an Elite 4 member when the first death threat came in.” Lucas knew where this was headed. “By the time a few more came in, James had lost it. He told the public in a press conference that these protestors and nay-sayers were selfish and blinded by their laziness. Then somebody finally followed through with their death threat. The assassination attempt had failed, but it left James scarred. He left battling and being a trainer forever. He gave up his Pokémon and decided to become a businessman. He left his whole life behind and started anew. You were born a few years later, but by that time, Pokemon training and battling were long gone to us.”
“Wh-Why are you telling me this now. After 18 years, now felt like a good time to tell me?” Lucas said, indignation in his voice. “I have a legacy to live up to, something larger than me to stand for, and you hide it from me? Why? What made you and dad think this?”
“Your father knew you had potential. And he knew that it would defeat you. If your ambitions to be Champion, Gym Leader, or Elite 4 were ever fulfilled, he feared what happened to him would happen to you. So we sheltered you from it. Now, I have no choice. I want you to be a lawyer, but you seem more reluctant than ever to become one, even if it is still your dream. This is the only other real path you can take. You have a legacy to guide you, a name to uphold, and a destiny to fulfill. Lucas, do what you will, but know this is a path that can lead to greatness, especially for a boy like you.”
“Are you saying I should—”
“Become a Pokemon trainer, yes. But not any ordinary one. Lucas, everybody knows how much you love the fight. Your eyes and mentality can knock opponents out on their own. Now imagine if you had a team of equally strong and motivated partners: a force to be reckoned with if I say so myself. You are the heir to your father’s throne, but be more than that. Become strong. Become unstoppable. Become Champion.”
“M-mom I need some time to think. This isn’t a small ordeal by any measure. I-I don’t think it’s for me. I never liked trainers. They always think their Pokemon are the best and they rush like retarded bulls into every fight. I’m not like that. I like to choose and craft my opportunities and tactics. But at the same time…” Johana thought Lucas remembered his father and his past, but Lucas was actually thinking of Brendan and May. They weren’t the erratic dolts he thought Pokémon trainers to be. Their fight reminded Lucas of his own style of battle. If he did this right, perhaps he could rival even them.
“Take your time to think about this Lucas.” She coughed a little before she spoke again. “Just know that whatever choice you make, it’s right in my eyes.”
“Thanks, mom.” Lucas got up, his brain still reeling from the sudden revelation. Perhaps some sleep would calm his muscles and mind. He moped upstairs as the weight of his workout pressed his legs to the floor. For a moment, his predicament evaporated as the bed welcomed him to relaxing rest.
He awoke the next day refreshed. Lucas saw the clock: 7:42 a.m. “I’d better get ready.” He dashed in and out of the bathroom, brushing his teeth and taking a quick shower. As he got dressed, he opened the third drawer on his dresser to grab a shirt. As he looked down, he saw a small beret. It had a half-Pokeball design on the side and was mostly blue. Brendan had never worn that hat, but his mom would never throw it out. He did something that he would have never done until the events of last night. He looked at the manufacture tag on the beret and saw two things: the name “JAMES” written in permanent marker and a copyright sign next to the number 1996. It was his father’s. Lucas held the cap in his hands and stared, his cloudy future gaining more clarity the longer he looked at the cap. He had decided.
Lucas called Barry. If there was anyone who needed to know about this, it was definitely Barry.
A minute later, a loud THUD was heard from downstairs. Lucas stopped for a moment as he heard rapidly firing feet fly up the staircase and carve a path towards his room. He smiled, expecting a familiar face to walk in.
Sure enough, a boy with wavy, blond hair, a striped white and orange shirt, beige pants, and a green scarf ran in, panting and grinning before looking at Lucas. “There you are!” he said. “Man, I’ve always wanted to go on a journey. But you wanted to be a lawyer. But now you don’t? It’s a dream come true for me! We could be best friends and best rivals; you dig? Anyways, did you just see the TV yesterday? Sure you did. So those two trainers, Brendan and May, got their Pokémon from a professor. There’s a professor not far from here, his name is Rowan and he has lots of Pokémon. We’re going there. If we ask him for some, he’ll give us Pokémon!” he paused for a fraction of a second before he spotted a blue PC in the corner of Lucas’ room. “Oh hey cool! A new PC? That’s awesome!” the boy said before he recollected his senses. “Oh, right, right. We’re gonna go see Professor Rowan and get some Pokémon! I’ll be waiting outside. Last one there’s a fairy type!” The boy bolted in a haze right out of the door as the commotion of his feet was carried down the stairs and out of the door.
“That Barry,” Lucas began, “the dude needs to cut on the sugar... is it sugar?” Lucas put on a white scarf and dark blue jacket over his red shirt underneath. He was about to walk out of the door of his room to follow Barry when he remembered something: the beret.