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I can see how Morty’s Gym as a whole scares people off, let alone the ghosts used by the trainers there. But I can’t chicken out now; I’ve come this far. Navigating the invisible floor was not a terrible experience, as long as I did so carefully. I had to tiptoe around, making sure not to step too far. By the time I had made it to where Morty stood, I could barely see the light from the Gym entrance when I looked back. It was time to fight; nothing left for it.
The team of Julia and Sarah, as I hoped, did wonderfully at dispatching Morty’s ghosts. It wasn’t long at all before we had him backed into a corner. Of course, that’s exactly when a wild animal becomes most dangerous. Out came none other than a vicious Gengar to combat Sarah. On my command, Sarah lunged. But it was hardly effective, and she quickly slumped over. Not dead, but sleeping. I had planned for this beforehand. Soon, a minty scent filled the arena, and Sarah awoke. Morty wasn’t expecting a Mint Berry, and was too stunned to command Gengar to dodge. Sarah’s fangs sunk into Gengar’s ethereal form. A great start, but, without another Mint Berry – I had only 2, and Julia held the other – all I could do was hope Hypnosis, the cause of the aforementioned sudden slumber, didn’t rear its ugly head again. My hopes were soon dashed.
Clearly fazed, but far from defeated, Gengar cast Hypnosis again. With no recourse to prevent its effects, Sarah fell asleep. I anticipated Dream Eater would be coming next. Sarah wouldn’t be able to withstand it; I swapped her out, bringing Julia in to finish the job. True, Sarah was out of commission. But I had another idea. The problem is, it would hinge on luck. Indeed, Gengar went for Dream Eater. Julia, being awake, shook it off. Then came the plan. I called for Stun Spore. If it worked, Gengar was as good as finished. Julia took to the skies, scattering golden powder from her wings. The powder glittered slightly, even in the darkness of the Gym. My heart sank as Gengar readied an attack regardless. But, suddenly, it stopped. Stun Spore had taken effect. Sadly, Gengar was still able to cast Hypnosis, sending Julia to the Gym floor. But, with her Mint Berry, she recovered. With Gengar slowed, it was time. I called for Confusion. From Julia’s normally red eyes came a cerulean glow. A glow that lit up the darkened interior of the building, surrounding us all. Gengar, the Stun Spore dampening its reflexes, was too slow to react in time. In seconds, its body gained a shimmering outline. A border that blended in with the light from Julia’s eyes. The focus in those shining eyes, and in my winged companion’s expression as a whole, was intense, as she worked to manipulate her, in comparison, towering opponent. Finally, there was a sort of loud pop, and Gengar was sent flying into a wall. But our foe rose to its feet. Immediately, Gengar attempted Hypnosis once more. The blue glow from Julia’s eyes mingled for a second with the crimson glow of Gengar’s. The expression on Julia’s face once again showed intensity. Even more so as she struggled to stay awake. For a short time, the lights battled it out. An eerie red glow overtook the darkness of the building before it was outshone by blue. Blue then gave way to red, and vice versa, in a dangerous light show. Clearly, both Pokémon were locked in a very real battle of minds. But, finally, Gengar stumbled. The instant its eye contact was broken, Julia went in for the figurative kill. Her shining eyes increased in luminescence to an almost blinding level as rays of energy shot from them. It was a direct hit! Gengar’s eyes widened as the struggle ended with the shadowy monster crumpling and falling with a thud onto the Gym floor. Julia’s eyes returned to their original scarlet as the blue light faded into nothingness. Morty was defeated!
Shocked and amazed, Morty relinquished a Fog Badge. With it tucked safely into my badge case, I strode out of the Ecruteak City Gym, smiling in victory, with Julia following closely behind. Even though Gengar didn’t actually land a damaging attack on her – I went wide-eyed for a second, only just then realising that – the mental struggle of overpowering Gengar’s powerful Hypnosis had left her sluggish and, ironically, tired. I made sure to get her and Sarah healed at a Pokémon Centre while I planned our next move. Olivine’s Gym Leader is still out taking care of a sick Pokémon. And Cianwood City and Mahogany Town are both blocked off by bodies of water. Without Surf, we were going nowhere fast. Checking the HM I was given for our victories over the Kimono Girls, I found that both Brittany and Coraline were capable of using Surf. I sincerely doubted Brittany could’ve carried me across water. But Corsola are sturdy; they say there’s a whole town in Hoenn built atop a colony of them! So Coraline was taught Surf. Of course, that didn’t go far towards alleviating the bigger issue; what to do next. Where to go. Olivine, Mahogany, or Cianwood? Then, as if it was a direct answer to my question, I caught a few words of a nearby conversation. The Pokémon Centre seemed abuzz over a Lapras sighting near Azalea Town, deep inside Union Cave. Lapras are exceedingly rare; surely, there would be a crowd after such a prized catch. What chance would I have? Certainly none, if I didn’t try.
The trek back to Union Cave from all the way north in Ecruteak would be a long one. Normally, I wouldn’t risk it. But I wanted to go back to The Ruins Of Alph, anyway. During my last very eventful journey there, I noticed another entrance. And, now that I’ve been to Union Cave, I know that’s where it leads. The best way to get to it is through the cave; climbing is way too dangerous. We took the southern route, through Violet City, to get there; the other route would’ve required that we go through Ilex Forest again, and I was in no mood to do that. Besides, the route through Violet City would result in less encounters with wild Pokémon along the way. A win-win. That it was shorter, however, doesn’t mean it was short. It was a while before the craggy opening of Union Cave stood gaping wide before us. Shockingly, there weren’t any trainers on the way there. Could they have dismissed the Lapras sighting as a hoax, or simple wishful thinking? Whatever the reason, I was excited; this meant there was a chance that we could still encounter the Lapras. If it even existed. That thought suddenly worried me. I hadn’t given much thought to it before, but the possibility that I had fallen for an untrue rumour was very real, now that I let the thought wander in. If it was true, it meant the possibility of adding a formidable member to our team. If it was false, though, we had taken this detour for nothing. With that in mind, I walked in.
It took some searching, but I eventually came across something I hadn’t noticed on my first time through here. A narrow cavern, hidden in shadows by a rock formation and a natural pool. I managed to squeeze through, and immediately had to duck as a Golbat flew overhead. Damn things. But I’m lucky it didn’t attack, instead choosing to fly away. After defeating Morty, I could hardly imagine the humiliation of losing one of my precious teammates to a wild Golbat. Clearly, the Pokémon in this part of the cave are stronger than elsewhere; there were no Golbat in the main path. At least, none that I saw. But could Lapras had gone this deep into the cave? Sure, there was water, but I hadn’t seen any rivers or streams leading in; as I continued exploring, I asked myself how a Pokémon the size of a Lapras could’ve gotten here in the first place, let alone in this level of the cave. Unfortunately, there were trainers there I could’ve asked. We weren’t the first ones to have made it down here. My heart sank. Son of a bitch! Even if the Lapras was here at one point, it must’ve been captured already. I was just about to leave empty-handed, when I heard an odd noise. A sort of high trill that echoed against the cave walls. Heads turned towards the source. Or what the trainers thought was the source; nothing out of the ordinary was visible. Then, the noise came again. Curiosity got the betteer of me, and I followed the shrill noise. No Pokémon I knew to live in the area made a sound like that. Maybe it wasn’t a Lapras, but it was definitely something. And that kept me pushing onward, towards a passageway as narrow as the one I maneuvered through to get here. None of the trainers followed. Another sound, completely different from the one made by the creature, caught my attention. A familiar one. The sound of water churning. Then, it happened. The narrow passage gave way to an alcove with a sort of underground pond. And in the pond, swimming leisurely through the murky water, was a Lapras!
My jaw dropped; the rumours were true! And, because they were, I had to choose my next move carefully. Lapras would need to be weakened before I could capture it. I decided on using Julia. Even with her flight, though, the battle was not easy. Lapras put up a Hell of a fight. Julia and this Lapras traded blows for some time. Julia threw Lapras around with Confusion, and Lapras countered with blasts of water. This continued for a while, until Lapras had evidently had enough. The beast reared its head and emitted yet another of its cries. An unbroken, warbling tone that I imagine could’ve been heard all through the cave. Julia’s eyes began to flutter as I realised all too late that Lapras was using Sing. Getting an earful of the melodious wail, Julia was soon incapacitated, and drifted down to the cave floor, alighting on a boulder before falling asleep. Lapras, however, was panting, beginning to tire from Julia’s attacks. Angelica could finish this. I sent her out as Julia’s replacement. Immediately, Lapras shot another burst of pressurised water. Though it hit point-blank, Angelica shrugged it off. After another short bit of back-and-forth, I decided it was time to try capturing this rarity of a Pokémon. Hopeful for a quick victory, I flung a Great Ball at my target. Lapras was instantly sucked into the device in a flash of red light. The ball rocked back and forth for some time, but fell still, bobbing on the surface of the water. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. And I had every right to; I had just caught a Lapras!
As the excitement began to fade, I decided to name this Lapras “Marina,” a name which I had originally intended to give to Coraline. I think it suits Lapras better. I looked back to see several jealous trainers. Of course; they had all wanted to capture Lapras, too. I was cautious as I walked out, making sure none of the trainers stole Marina. I wasn’t done with Union Cave, of course. I still wanted to check out that other entrance into The Ruins Of Alph. And so, I set off. Getting back to the main area of the cave wasn’t too difficult, and, soon, I was facing the entrance to another chamber. As I entered, I again heard rushing water. This chamber was full of it! Thankfully, Coraline got me across. I was surprised to find that there were trainers even there! But they seemed more interested in being left alone than they did in battling, so I was mostly unobstructed. There were some boulders blocking the path, but they were no match for the strength of a Sudowoodo like Barbie. Sure enough, the darkness of Union Cave gave way to the outdoors. I was back in the ruins! After defeating a stubborn trainer who had evidently taken the same path as me, I searched the area. I found another bit of Unown writing, but decided not to involve myself with this for the time being. I didn’t leave empty-handed, though, as I was able to catch an elusive Natu! I named her “Leonhart,” after a celebrity and collector who has a great affinity for that species. With 2 new captures under my belt, it’s time to make a decision. I have 4 more badges left to earn, and 3 possible ways of going about earning them. Maybe some training will help me to decide. Honestly, no matter which direction I choose to go next, we’ll have to train, anyway. That decision was made for me.
It’s finally here! A round of applause to Julia and Sarah, the exorcists! Without them, I wouldn't have beaten Morty. Now that I’m in self-isolation, I have plenty of time to do stuff. Not that I didn’t have time before, but I guess this pandaemic has just given me the proverbial kick in the ass I needed to really get to work. That said, I’m terrible at writing these “diary entries.” They read more like a proper first-person story. But I’ll keep going with this; how else will I learn if I don’t fuck up? Anyway, many thanks for reading this! Oh, and Leonhart is a voice actor, but is mostly known for his YouTube channel, on which he opens Pokémon cards. In the event that he gets a Natu from a pack, he cries out "Natu! How do you do?" He "insists" that his viewers do the same. His collection is immense, especially with his acquisition of a storage unit which belonged to an employee of game company Wizards Of The Coast.
#131: Lapras, the Transport Pokémon
Once thought practically extinct due to overhunting, Lapras have recently seen a surge in population, Particularly in the Alola region. However, they’re still quite rare. Their tempers are mild, and they will sometimes appear to struggling swimmers, or to the site of a shipwreck, to provide rescue.
#177: Natu, the Tiny Bird Pokémon
In ancient times, Natu and its evolution were worshipped for their clairvoyance. Their wings are too small to support flight, so they hop instead. Natu are easily frightened, possibly due to their prophetic abilities, so you should approach them with caution if you intend to capture one.
Out of all of the challenges I expect us to face in our journey, I always get a lump in my throat when it comes time to face a Gym Leader. Whitney, in particular, is known to be a thorn in the side of many trainers. So, if we can make it past her, we’ll have put a great difficulty behind us. I just hope we can do this. Like I said before, I’d hate for everything to end here. Angelica and Chrissy are trained up for this. But we’ll never know if it was enough until we try.
Whitney’s Gym trainers were tough, especially since we don’t have any Fighting types. But we managed, and, soon, I was face-to-face with Whitney herself. Her lead Pokémon was Clefairy, who was quickly dispatched by the Grass type tag team. But that was just the beginning. Her Clefairy isn’t what makes Whitney so formidable. Sure, Clefairy has caught many trainers off guard with Metronome. But her biggest threat, for sure, is what comes after Clefairy gets defeated. From her next Poké Ball came Miltank.
Our first line of defence against the bovine beast was Chrissy. I knew before I even entered the Gym that none of us could take on Miltank face-to-face. Our best shot was to give it a face full of Sleep Powder first. And, as much as I appreciate Julia, who also has Sleep Powder, she’s too frail to stay in and risk missing and taking a Rollout attack in retaliation. Enter Chrissy. She’s more capable of taking a Rollout or 2. All that needed to happen was for Sleep Powder to hit its mark. And, as Chrissy sprayed wisps of silver powder at our opponent, we were elated to see Miltank shut its eyes.
Her job done spectacularly well, Chrissy was returned to her Poké Ball. Next up was Angelica. She would finally get to leave her mark against a Gym Leader. She set up Reflect, then fired a Razor Leaf against the sleeping Miltank, and it hit hard. Miltank remained asleep. It wasn’t quite the clash that Brittany versus Scyther was; the exchange of quick blows leading to a decisive finish. Another Razor Leaf was used, and, while it also hit, it awoke the sleeping giant. Miltank stared Angelica down and leapt into the air. Shocking, considering its size. And that size came into play when Miltank returned to the ground, a hoof outstretched. Angelica attempted to escape, but was hit regardless, causing her to fall to the ground. But she got back to her paws as quickly as she was downed. Regardless, I sent her back to her Poké Ball. The pattern would have to begin again.
Chrissy hit the field again, but took a Rollout in the process. She stood her ground, however, and fought back with another dose of Sleep Powder. Again, it was effective in subduing the bovine menace. Miltank fell asleep once more, and Chrissy was switched out. Angelica was her replacement. She set up Reflect once again. But, this time, Miltank woke up before damage could be dealt with Razor Leaf. Miltank sped towards Angelica like a cannonball, but Angelica dug her heels in and took the hit. Shock was evident in Miltank’s eyes as a Razor Leaf was launched. Undeterred, Miltank tried Rollout again. Angelica smirked. I’ll never forget it. Taking a page from her opponent’s book, she took a flying leap. In the air, she angled herself properly. When she came down, it was leaf first, directly into Miltank’s head. The beast bellowed, then fell, defeated.
At her loss, Whitney burst into tears. I wanted a badge, but not like this. I tried to leave, but was stopped by a trainer who informed me that this is a common occurrence. After a short talk, Whitney relented, and handed me the Plain Badge. That makes 3 badges! And a huge roadblock is out of the way; a lot of trainers, as I said before, fail at Whitney. But we weren’t done in Goldenrod City yet. Speaking of roadblocks, I heard that people have reported that a tree has sprouted seemingly out of nowhere to the north, blocking access to Ecruteak City. Maybe the employees at the nearby flower shop would know a way to get past it.
The flower shop is a wonderful place, full of sufficient blooms to make a Shaymin blush. And, to my surprise, they had already heard of the sudden tree. Not only that, but it turns out, the owner had already deciphered its identity. It was actually a powerful Pokémon that had stymied all attempts at relocation. Fresh off of a victory in the Goldenrod City Gym, however, I was able to convince the shop owner to let me help. The identity of the obstructive Pokémon is Sudowoodo, and it may move if somebody sprayed water on it. The shop owner gave me a Squirt Bottle with which to do that, feeling that our skills could subdue Sudowoodo if the spray causes it to retaliate. With the Squirt Bottle in hand, we headed North to Route 36.
On closer inspection, I dunno how I missed it when I was in this area before, during the Bug Catching Contest. Of course it’s a Sudowoodo; trees don’t magically pop up, unless they’ve been put there by a Pokémon with sufficient power to do that, such as Celebi or Meganium. Speaking of Meganium, or, rather, something that will hopefully soon be one, Angelica is still overjoyed at having helped so immensely with the match against Whitney. I don’t think Brittany, even with her speed and power, could’ve brought Miltank down. She would have to cut deep to get through Miltank’s blubber, and, even then, she’d be leaving herself vulnerable to a devastating Rollout. Anyway, Angelica is right to be ecstatic. I think Chrissy would be right to share her happiness, in fact. They both helped, after all.
As we stepped closer, I remember hearing Sudowoodo whimper. It knew I had found out its secret; hiding would do it no good now. After a bit of effort on both sides, I got it into a Poké Ball. Sudowoodo was caught! I named her Barbie. I don’t think I’ll be needing to rely too heavily upon her, but Sudowoodo are rare; Professor Elm will surely be interested. As well, I caught a Spinarak nearby, choosing to dub her “Charlotte.” North from Route 36 is Ecruteak City. Morty is the Gym Leader there, although he seemed to not be at the Gym. Fine by us; that gives us time to train. We’ll check out the Burned Tower first.
Some serious irony came when I found Morty in the tower. He was there with a Pokémon trainer in search of one of the Legendaries. One that was said to sleep beneath the tower, ever since it burned down. I’m more than familiar with the legend; it’s one of my favourites, actually. Long ago, during a massive thunderstorm, the tower was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. Lugia, who once lived atop the tower, fled. A trio of nameless Pokémon, caught in the tower when the lightning struck, died in the fire, only to be revived by Ho-Oh and given new lives and identities. Raikou was born as the personification of the lightning that struck the tower. Entei was created as the personification of the terrible fire that consumed the tower. Finally, Suicune was born as the personification of the north wind that brought the rain which eventually quelled the flames. Morty and this trainer were looking for Suicune in particular. And they weren’t the only ones.
It didn’t take long before we came across the Cyndaquil trainer. He was also searching for the Legendary Pokémon, and was quite intolerant of anybody impeding his progress. We defeated him in a close match, ironically thanks to Barbie. However, it was a pyrrhic victory. Our battle shook the already weakened structure of the tower. I remember feeling the entire tower shake before everything went black. When I awoke, I could’ve sworn I was dreaming, ironically. Standing before me, staring me down, were none other than Raikou, Entei, and Suicune! They looked angry, and had every right to be. Rather than confront me, however, they sped past me, and out of the tower. I don’t know why they didn’t attack me, but I’m sure glad they didn’t; we certainly can’t match their power. After making sure everybody was alright, I set to work finding a way out. Luckily, exploration teams appear to have made it here already; there was a ladder I was able to use to get out. How nobody else has found the Legendaries is beyond me.
Now that we’re safe, it’s time to train. Morty’s signature type is Ghost. Sarah could be very helpful here, once she gains power, and perhaps even evolves. Her Dark type Bite attack will be our main weapon in this fight. As well, the Ghost types native to Johto are mostly dual-typed, having the secondary Poison typing. As such, I plan to use Julia as backup. Her Confusion attack should do significant damage by exploiting the Poison type’s weakness to Psychic type attacks.
Our training lasted into the night, which gave me a chance to go after a nocturnal Pokémon. We successfully tracked down and caught a Stantler. Naming her after one of Santa’s magic reindeer, I decided to call her Comet. Like when I caught the Sudowoodo, I’m sure Professor Elm will be happy to know of this. During our training, we had some evolutions. Diane became a Ledian, and, as I had hoped, Sarah became an Arbok! We had some close calls, particularly west of Ecruteak. We very nearly suffered several casualties trying to train there; that was my mistake. Knowing that, It might be prudent to train more before we try taking on Morty. I’ll head to Olivine City to do some training there.
Past the renowned Moomoo Farms, Olivine City is a port town for the SS Aqua, which sails from there to Vermilion City in Kanto and back again. Unfortunately, I found the ship to be out of service. I saw the Cyndaquil trainer again, but he wasn’t interested in a fight. He wanted only to badmouth the compassion of the local Gym Leader, who he claims has gone absent from her post in favour of caring for a sick Pokémon atop Glitter Lighthouse. He left after that, and I took the time to scour the city for trainers. While I didn’t find any, what with the Gym Leader gone, I was able to find a kind fisherman who offered me a free Good Rod! I graciously took it. With no training to be done here, I made my way back to Ecruteak. Just south of there, something amazing happened.
Determined to defeat Morty, I put my Pokémon through a training regimen south of Ecruteak. Unfortunately, the wild Pokémon there didn’t give much experience, save for the odd Pidgeotto. I knew we would have to either find some trainers, or find a better training spot. Just as we were about to leave, however, I remember feeling an intense, sweltering heat. It came on suddenly, and set me to looking in all directions for the source. What I saw, there was no mistaking. I’m surprised beyond belief that the route wasn’t ablaze at the mere presence of this creature! I had found myself once more face to face with Entei! I threw a Poké Ball at the beast, but it may as well have missed, for all of the good that it did me. Then, just as quickly as it appeared, Entei sped away, leaving embers in its wake. Truly magical.
Perhaps, if I had caught Entei by some miracle, I wouldn’t need to train anymore. Surely, Morty couldn’t possibly counter Entei! But, with my attempt having ended in very predictable failure, there was nothing to do but search for a challenge. The Kimono Girls, a group of dancers in the Ecruteak Dance Theatre, were formidable, but fell one by one to our team. A man in the theatre, impressed by our battles, gave me the HM for teaching Surf. Like with the Good Rod, I accepted my prize with gratitude. But it still wasn’t enough training. We even took on the local Gym trainers, and, while it was great training for Julia, we still needed more. Luckily, with a Good Rod, I can fish up decently strong Pokémon to battle. I set off for Route 34, just south of my hometown.
Fishing went well, Extraordinarily well, in fact; not only did we get some great training in, but we also added yet another member to our “family.” Soon into fishing, I came across something I wasn’t aware even lives in the area! A Corsola. Using the Lure Ball Kurt gave me some time ago, I captured it. It took a while to come up with a name for her. “Marina” was suggested, as were “Crystal” and “Pinkie.” However, it was eventually decided that I would call her Coraline. With another Pokémon caught, our training could continue. And, as I got to really thinking about it, I decided to utilise Diane in the upcoming Gym match. With her access to Light Screen and Reflect, she can minimise damage throughout the fight. So, she received experience, as well. I had taught her Thunder Punch with a TM, so the Water types we came across simply didn’t stand much of a chance. Before long, several of my Pokémon had gained immense power. I just hope it’s enough. I hoped so all the way back to Ecruteak City. Especially now that we’ve beaten Whitney, losing to Morty would be devastating.
Another chapter of our adventures, in the books! Next up is Morty. I trained and trained, but will it be enough? Or will Morty hand us a defeat that will haunt us for the rest of our lives? Find out next time! Sorry these take so long. I can say, however, that Left Behind is not dead!
#24: Arbok, the Cobra Pokémon
Venomous fangs aren’t the only weapons Arbok wields. They can also spit acidic venom, and their belly patterns give them powers as well. Covering up these patterns will weaken Arbok significantly. It’s rumoured that some Arbok can change these patterns at will.
#167: Spinarak, the String Spit Pokémon
To keep Spinarak away, which is something many people want, having a Flying type with you works wonders. Even just the presence of one will scare off all but the bravest Spinarak. If this is not possible, mix standard Repel with Berry Juice. It’s a home remedy that really works!
#222: Corsola, the Coral Pokémon
In the Hoenn region, it’s said that there’s an entire town built atop a colony of Corsola. Their antlers are brittle, but shatter into sharp points, so these Pokémon should be handled carefully, particularly ones with broken antlers. The leftover shards can be fashioned into beautiful art.
#234: Stantler, the Big Horn Pokémon
In frigid regions, there are legends of Stantler capable of flight. These legends have spread since ancient times, and are the basis of the tales of Santa Claus and his flying Stantler. Every year, children hope to catch a glimpse of them, but to no avail.
I met up with the Cyndaquil trainer again. Or is it more proper to say that he stood in our way? He had come to get his second badge, as well, but, having heard that we drove Team Rocket out of the Slowpoke Well, he deemed us worthy of being approached. What’s more, he demanded a battle! Thank Arceus, we healed up after the match with Bugsy. After a hard-fought match, we emerged victorious, and he stepped aside. There’s something about him I can’t quite place. It’s like he wants to win at any cost! He’s not a bad trainer, but I feel sorry for his Pokémon.
With 2 badges in hand, the next stop on my journey will be my hometown of Goldenrod City. First, however, I have unfinished business to take care of. I returned to Slowpoke Well and caught a Slowpoke. I nicknamed her Shelley, and transferred her to Professor Elm. One less Pokémon in the greedy hands of Team Rocket. It was nighttime after the match with Bugsy, and most people would wait until the morning to head out. Especially considering that Goldenrod City lies past Ilex Forest, which is known to be dangerous at night. But I’m looking for a Pokémon that only comes out at night. If I can find one, they’ll make a great addition to the team.
We set out into the forest, and, before long, we found our target. A wild Oddish! Hard to find, but easy to catch. I named her Chrissy, after the chrysanthemum. Much like how I named Angelica after the angel’s trumpet. I expect she’ll come in handy soon. In fact, if I have my way, she’ll be more than useful in the next Gym! Of course, she’ll need quite a bit of training first. With Oddish in hand, we retreated to Azalea Town to rest.
The next morning, we set out again through Ilex Forest, only to find our path blocked. An Azalea Town trainer had lost an unruly Farfetch’d somewhere in the forest. Farfetch’d are very rare in Johto, and nearly impossible to find in Kanto, so it makes perfect since he’d want it back. We tracked it down, and lured it back to him. We were greeted by not only him, but his boss, as well! It turns out, the Farfetch’d belonged to this boss, who used it to clear trees in preparation for charcoal making. We were thanked with our second HM. The HM for teaching Cut. Brittany was chosen as the recipient of that move. Her claws felled a Scyther, after all.
The rest of our journey through the forest was uneventful, save for two things. The first was many encounters with Pokémon; Ilex Forest seemed to be swarming with them! The second was a kind boy who parted with the TM for teaching Headbutt. Diane got that. The path through the forest ended on Route 34, just south of Goldenrod City. I don’t need to ask around to find out what type the Gym Leader here specialises in; I live here. Whitney uses Normal types. With no Fighting types to counter them with, the only way we’re getting through that Gym is with some serious training. And that training will start now.
My plan is to impede Whitney’s Pokémon, keeping them and her on their toes while we build our defences. And Oddish will be pivotal in that, with access to Sleep Powder and Stun Spore. Angelica will be a great help, too, keeping damage low with Reflect, whilst she whittles the opposing team down with Razor Leaf. We can have the greatest defences possible, but we can’t win if we don’t attack. I’m counting on Angelica’s Razor Leaf for that. Being an evolved Pokémon, her attacks should have some power behind them.
With Angelica and Chrissy making up the crux of my forces against Whitney, I set to work training them. Being at a lower level, Chrissy was first. Much of her training took place in Union Cave. By the time we had left there, she had defeated countless Pokémon, and had Stun Spore and Poison Powder in her arsenal. But the comparatively weak enemies in the cave quickly became less valuable as experience. It was time to move on to Goldenrod City. Ilex Forest led to Route 34, which, in turn, led to my glittering hometown. Our training wasn’t over, though. We just had to change locations, since defeating the low-levelled Pokémon in Union Cave wasn’t giving enough experience to be worthwhile anymore. The trainers north of Goldenrod, and the wild Pokémon south of it, served that purpose at least a little bit better.
Knowing I would eventually want Chrissy fully evolved, I headed north to the National Park, hoping to win the Bug Catching Contest. The first prize was a Sun Stone, which Chrissy would need. I brought Julia with me into the park for the contest, since she wields Sleep Powder to make tough captures a little easier. The competition, as well as the Pokémon, were both fierce, especially our target. It took some time, but we eventually came across the formidable Scyther. Yes; the same species felled by Brittany in our match with Bugsy. I certainly wouldn’t mind having that power on our side. Put to sleep by Julia, it was was an easy capture. Just in time, too. No sooner was Scyther secure in her Poké Ball than the announcement came in that the contest was over, and judging would soon begin.
Our opponents were going to be hard to beat. Caterpie the size of a small Ekans. Beedrill with stingers that bulged with toxins. But our Scyther was the best in show! The Sun Stone is mine! In addition, the Scyther is ours to keep. I named her Missy. I don’t have the means to evolve her, so I sent her to Professor Elm to look after until I need such a powerful ally. Now, our training can continue. Chrissy is near evolution, and I certainly don’t intend to face Whitney with an Oddish, however high of a level it may be at.
Between rematches with trainers we’ve bested before, and the myriad of wild Pokémon, our training went splendidly. Both Angelica and Chrissy gained considerable amounts of power. But it still wasn’t quite enough. I know what’s gonna have to happen to put us over the top, but I’m a little bit worried. In an underground section of Goldenrod City, some more trainers lurk. Some are just normal trainers, but a couple are known delinquents. If I want a shot at us defeating Whitney, though, there’s no other option. And Arceus knows, I don’t want the journey to end here. So it’s off to the Goldenrod Underground.
I’ve been to the Goldenrod Underground before. The Pokémon groomers there are wonderfully skilled, and a lady comes around once a week selling various trinkets. But it’s also a hangout for the aforementioned trainers. We took them on, and, after some difficult battles – one trainer had a Lickitung! - we were levelled up even more! But, even after all that, it still wasn’t enough. I know Whitney. I know she’s got some serious skills that shouldn’t be underestimated. Before I even take on the Gym, I want Chrissy to be evolved into a Gloom.
The problem with training is that it gets tedious quickly. With the trainers all defeated, we had to rely on the wild Pokémon for training. And the experience they gave upon defeat was almost pitiable. But I have an idea. There might be stronger Pokémon in the trees! Diane’s Headbutt could shake them out. I’ll head back to Azalea Town, to see what I can find. I hear Heracross can be found there. If we’re lucky enough to come across one, defeating it would surely grant a bounty of experience!
Back in Azalea Town, we shook the trees until the Pokémon in them were awoken. As it happens, we actually did find Heracross! Not only that, but we also found a new team member. An Ekans that I chose to name Sarah. Poisoning opposing Pokémon is great for wearing them down and avoiding drawn-out fights. With Sarah in hand, the training can continue once more. Back to Goldenrod City we go, where the wild Pokémon should be enough to give Chrissy the last bit of experience she needs. It won’t be long now; she’s showing signs of being near evolution.
Sure enough, I wasn’t kept waiting long at all. Chrissy defeated the various Route 34 enemies, and suddenly began to glow with a bright light. When it faded, she had become a Gloom! With her and Angelica on my side, I’m confident I can win against Whitney. At least, I hope so. It’d be a damn shame, after everything we’ve been through, for our journey to end prematurely, with us defeated in my own hometown. Goldenrod City’s Gym is in view through the windows of the Pokémon Centre; it’s time. Whitney, we’re coming for you!
Here we are. Outside Whitney’s den of bovine pain. Can we make it through? Or will our dreams be crushed by Rollout? Find out next time! This was the training chapter. We spent a good portion of it preparing. Getting ready for our first big roadblock. Well, we’re here now! It’s do or die. Wish us luck!~
#79: Slowpoke, the Dopey Pokémon
Slowpoke take 5 seconds to feel pain. Their yawns are said to be able to summon rain. Their tails will regrow if detached. The tails are edible, and are commonly sold in Johto and Alola, sometimes dipped in chocolate. It’s an acquired taste.
#43: Oddish, the Weed Pokémon
Oddish are nocturnal. In the daytime, they stay disguised as weeds. If mistakenly pulled, they will retaliate in kind. Their leaves regrow if accidentally cut, or if eaten by predators. When they near evolution, they may start to drool often, or their leaves may curl upwards.
#44: Gloom, the Weed Pokémon
By absorbing nutrients from soil, Gloom grow. Some have been seen to grow gigantic, to 3 times their normal size or more, in areas with good soil. Their viscous drool smells sweet as honey, but is toxic. They use it to attract and subdue prey.
#123: Scyther, the Mantis Pokémon
Ninja in ancient times used to train with Scyther, trying to copy their movements. Scyther can move too quickly for the untrained eye to track, and their blades can easily chop down trees. Thankfully, they almost never venture outside of their habitats, and will not attack unprovoked.
#23: Ekans, the Snake Pokémon
Bites from Ekans are among the most common injuries seen in inexperienced trainers. Make no mistake, however. While young, and lacking potency in their venom, they will bite if not properly trained. If being kept as pets, they can be devenomed.
I can scarcely express how happy I am that we won the Zephyr Badge. Of course, I don't expect the other badges to be nearly as easy to earn. But, like I said before, Professor Elm believes in us. In fact, I believe in us. We can do this. Obviously, this journey is being done with the intention of exploring Johto. If we just so happen to win some badges along the way, that's just an added treat.
Speaking of Professor Elm, he called soon after we beat Falkner. The egg I fetched for him some time ago turned out to be a Togepi egg. Mr. Pokémon said he got the egg from a couple on the outskirts of Goldenrod City. I'll look into the area when this adventure takes me there. For now, though, it's important that we get going. I'd like to explore the Ruins Of Alph, but I wanted to check out Route 32 first. The prospect of new teammates was something I couldn't pass up.
A few battles deep into Route 32, we decided to rest by the water. A well-earned rest, for sure. It was there that I found our newest team member, a Hoppip. After catching her, I named her Pompom, after the cottony appendages she'll have as a Jumpluff. During our rest, I thought about where to go next. Eventually, I decided on the Ruins Of Alph. It's open to trainers, but much of it can only be accessed through an alternate entrance. So our visit will be quick. At least until we can explore it further.
I made an amazing discovery in the ruins. This is something I'll have to tell Professor Elm about. There were heiroglyphs on the walls inside one of the chambers. Living in Johto, I'm familiar with many legends. And the Unown are included in that. They say Unown helped us create the many languages spoken around the world. Alone, they were said to hold little power. But, as a team, they possess phenomenal might. In Greenfield several years ago, many Unown got together, and played havoc with the mansion of Professor Spencer Hale. For miles around, everything was covered with crystal! To find evidence of these creatures living here is astounding! I poked around some more, careful not to break anything. Eventually, I came across something I could actually decipher. "Escape."
I put an ear to the wall, and jumped. "Escape! Escape!" Were those the Unown, talking to me? I didn't know then, and I don't now. But they held some sort of magic; I was sure a handle wasn't affixed to the wall before. I tried to pull, but it wouldn't budge. Then, I remembered that I had an Escape Rope in my bag. I tied one end to the handle for added leverage, and tugged hard on the other. Sure enough, the wall gave way, with the creak of an old door. I had opened a passageway! Carefully, and with a Poké Ball in hand, I entered.
This chamber, a mere tourist attraction nowadays, seems to have been used for medical purposes in the past. Maybe an ancient Pokémon Centre? There was medicine strewn about, along with berries that somehow looked deceptively fresh. I took some pictures as proof, and kept going. But I immediately regretted that decision. I stepped on a weak bit of the floor and fell. I wish I could tell you where I ended up. But I've got no idea. All I remember of that place was the same voices talking to me. The same ones that chanted "escape." This time, though, their message was much more cryptic. "Our words shall remain here for the ages." Did they think I wanted to destroy the ruins? No; they'd have done worse than making me fall over. But they weren't after my life, considering I'm still alive. With that thankfully behind us, our next stop is Azalea Town.
In between Azalea Town and Route 32, there's the Union Cave. It wasn't a long trek, nor was it a difficult one. We faced a few trainers, but nothing we couldn't handle. Soon, Azalea Town was in sight. I originally wanted to challenge the Gym, but some thugs were blocking the way. It turns out, Team Rocket has made a business for themselves of chopping off Slowpoke tails and selling them! I haven't had Slowpoke tail myself, but I hear it's delicious. And the tails grow back, so it's a sustainable food source. But, if Team Rocket is involved, it can't be good. I decided to see what I could do.
It stood to reason that I'd find Team Rocket hiding out in the Slowpoke Well. I dunno; maybe I'm being reckless. But the ease with which we defeated the grunts down there makes me think a few things. First, that Team Rocket needs better trainers as grunts. Secondly, that Brittany would probably be my best Pokémon for a while, followed by Julia. I had hoped Angelica would be my ace. But she hasn't had much training time. I'll have to change that. And thirdly, that sending these peons packing would likely anger the higher ups.
Now that the Team Rocket grunts have turned tail and fled, we can challenge Azalea's Pokémon Gym. But that would be tantamount to a suicide attempt at our current levels. Union Cave seems like the best place for some training. I could swear I saw an Onix in there; felling one of those would surely make for great experience gain. Angelica could definitely gain some levels, and perhaps evolve, but she won't be much help here; Azalea's Gym specialises in Bug types. So we should focus on getting Brittany to evolve, instead.
There are Onix in Union Cave, but they're few and far between. That's fine; it's still great training. And we can pick off the weaker trainers in the Gym, too. Brittany did indeed evolve, her body stretching out into the almost snakelike form of a Furret. That happened in the Gym, as we defeated several Bug types. But Angelica refused to be outdone. When Brittany shied away from a high-levelled Onix, Angelica leapt into the fray and bravely brought it down. As the dust settled, I saw that she was no longer a Chikorita. She had evolved! She stood tall, especially with her long neck, around which she boasted a collar of seed pods. Whereas a sweet smell came from her leaf as a Chikorita, now her scent was nearly an assault on the nose. And I got a nose full of it when, in joy, she sprinted at me and nearly knocked me over! Angelica is now officially a Bayleef!
With 3 Pokémon evolved, I decided it'd be best to challenge the Gym Leader, an androgynous boy named Bugsy. Of course, with a name like that, it's no surprise that his specialty is Bug types. I still pitied Angelica, knowing she couldn't help, especially considering she sat out the battle with Falkner, as well. But I don't wanna lose her. Obviously, I'd much rather not lose any of my teammates, if it can be helped. I just had to hope that Bugsy wouldn't cause our first casualty. Brittany was first up, but I had to do a double take at Bugsy's first choice. A Metapod! He is a Gym Leader, though, so I knew I shouldn't let my guard down. Metapod's defense might be daunting, but a few Fury Swipes downed it. Next was Kakuna. Metapod 2.0, basically. It went down to Fury Swipes just the same. Then came the problem. Scyther.
Even Brittany, who stood tall against Pidgeotto, recoiled slightly at the sight of Scyther. When I called for Fury Swipes again, she hesitated for a split second before striking. That hesitation gave Scyther the opportunity to prepare. Claws met scythes, as both lashed out, supposedly evenly matched. Scyther's strength was a counter to Brittany's speed. Fury Swipes against Fury Cutter seems a better way to explain this matchup than Furret versus Scyther. Those were the attacks that were traded, as Brittany and Scyther leapt in and out of the fray. A frightening and exciting match of blades and claws. Brittany's moment of fear, giving Scyther time to stymie her speed, turned this into a true nail-biter. But, then, a miracle happened.
Even with Brittany's agility, Scyther was beginning to wear her down. Her reactions were slower, and she stepped more clumsily. She was still landing blows, and Scyther certainly looked worse for wear. But I was ready to send her back to her Pokéball. I readied it as Scyther brought a blade down... and missed. Furret was on Scyther quicker than I could have commanded her. She dug into the manacing beast's exoskeleton with Fury Swipes once more, and the winged monster fell. Brittany had amazed me again with her battle prowess. Bugsy was as shocked as I was as he handed over the Hive Badge. Victorious, we rested at the Pokémon Centre before heading out to the Ilex Forest. At least, that was the plan. We were stopped by a familiar face. Not to mention an angry one.
#187: Hoppip, the Cottonweed Pokémon
It was once thought that Hoppip could fly freely. In actuality, these Pokémon are mostly at the mercy of the wind. These Pokémon's evolutionary line are the number one spreaders of allergens in Johto, thanks to the cottony spores they scatter as they float.
#162: Furret, the Long Body Pokémon
Furret are among the most caring Pokémon mothers. They wrap themselves around their offspring as a show of affection, as well as to keep them warm. This is why Sentret are plentiful in Johto. Take care if you travel through a Furret's habitat; they will not show mercy if you disturb their burrows.
#153: Bayleef, the Leaf Pokémon
These Pokémon are affectionate to a fault with their trainers. But their size and smell keep them from being popular pets. Its seed pods can be picked and eaten. They regrow in a few days, and will impart an unmistakable taste to dishes. Besides trainers, chefs also keep these Pokémon around.
Chapter 3 is upon us at last! Now that I have my laptop, this marks one of the last posts from my tablet. In fact, I tried transferring this chapter to my laptop, but it ended up as a jumbled mess! No idea why. Anyway, we learn that Brittany is still not to be fucked with, and we get our second badge! Not to mention, the team gains a member and we get a peek into the Ruins Of Alph. Stay tuned for more, as I hopefully keep up my string of good luck!~
We got up early this morning. Immediately, I headed out into the field. East of Violet City, Route 31 is called home by a Pokémon that only comes out early in the morning. Ledyba. And I wanted to catch one. It took some hunting, but we managed to track one down. Diane the Ledyba, named for her evolved form, joined the team. Don't worry; I don't intend to make my Pokémon work so early on a constant basis. This was a rare occurrance. With a team of Pokémon mostly weak against Flying types, however, we needed to get some serious training in. Just our luck; Violet City's Gym Leader specialises in Flying types. After asking around, it turns out the nearby Sprout Tower welcomes trainers.
It wasn't hard to find the Sprout Tower. After all, it's, well, a tower. It's not called the Sprout Cave. Hehe. I wouldn't have thought by looking at the tower from the outside that Pokémon battles were conducted there. It honestly looks more like a spot for prayer or meditation. But I could hear the sounds of battling faintly through the ceiling from the moment I walked in. I'm not gonna lie to you; I'm afraid of heights. It's not a crippling fear - that, for me, is lightning - but it was enough to make me hesitant as I climbed up to the second floor.
I was wrong in thinking Sprout Tower is a place of meditation. But it seems to be a place of enlightenment. The trainers there are monks, and, as I got closer, I could see them training with their Pokémon. Moving fluidly around Vine Whips and the like from the Bellsprout they all appear to be using. I must've caught the attention of one of them, because he bowed and readied a Pokéball. Predictably, from a flash of light came a Bellsprout. So it was for all of the monks training in the tower; they all wielded Bellsprout of varying strengths. And they were all taken down by Julia. My initial thought was that, for the upcoming Gym battle, it'd be best to have a Pokémon that can fly. Butterfree.
After some hard-fought battles, Julia suddenly tilted her head up and spat out a torrent of thread. This is how they evolve. Knowing this, I was glad that her second evolution wouldn't be far behind. The gooey thread covered her fully, leaving a tangled mass. Bit by bit, the mass hardened and took on a green shine. At the end, Julia had evolved from Caterpie into a Metapod!
We were all tired by that point, so we rested at the Pokémon Centre before continuing our training. It occurred to me that perhaps Angelica wasn't getting much attention. I'll have to do something special for her after we get the Zephyr Badge. Yes, after. Not if. We're gonna win! As long as we're prepared, we can defeat anybody; that's what I believe. And that means training. If we're gonna be up against Flying types, we'll need to hone our skills enough to fight through the type disadvantage. And, for now, that means we need to go back to Sprout Tower.
The emergence of a Butterfree is a beautiful thing. I highly recommend the experience be seen by anybody and everybody who has the chance. It's quite easy to see; the metamorphosis of a Caterpie takes place rather quickly. You probably already know, but an area of the Kanto region, near Saffron City, has a yearly celebration in which scores of Butterfree are released to find mates. I'd love to see it in person someday. They say it's impossible to witness without crying. I don't wanna try to watch it without crying; I just wanna be there. Someday, I'll save up enough money to go see it. But, for now, Julia underwent her final transformation recently. After some more felled Bellsprout, she shook as a crack bloomed on her hard emerald-green shell. Little by little, she cast off her shell until she was fully revealed. Light streaming in through the windows set her new pearl-white wings glimmering in a beautiful light show. She stretched out these new appendages and finally took to the sky with a cute trill. Julia had reached her final form.
With Julia being a Butterfree now, the rest of our training in Sprout Tower went by quickly. It seemed nothing could stand up to her. Until the building shook. I heard a loud bang and instinctively ducked, thinking perhaps an explosive had been set off. But there was no screaming. There were no alarms. I looked up. The head monk was engaged in a Pokémon battle. I thought it was his Pokémon that caused the noise, but they were sprawled out on the floor. His opponent laughed in a cold tone of voice I recognised right away. The Cyndaquil trainer! No wonder. He's lucky he didn't start a fire! I ran to the scene just in time for him to escape. No way was I going after him; I don't harbour a death wish for myself or my Pokémon.
The head monk offered me a battle, just the same as he had, I assume, offered one to that mystery trainer. He would have to get his Pokémon healed first, of course, but I was willing to wait. In exchange, I helped him with patching his Pokémon up. How they managed it, I have no idea, but they managed to avoid any serious injuries. Our battle began soon. Julia made quick work of yet another Bellsprout. But the Hoothoot that came next gave us some problems. It, too, was dispatched. But the troubles it caused us made me realise something. I couldn't expect Julia to go it alone when it comes to our upcoming gym battle. She would need backup. And, at the moment, the only member of my team who isn't weak against Flying types is Brittany.
Brittany's training went well, though we hit a speed bump along the way. I heard that there was a young lady on Route 29 who gave out scarves. I thought there'd be no harm in checking it out. Plus, the extra experience from trainers on the way would be worth the trek. So, we set off. Unfortunately, we went all the way to Route 29 only to realise that she only shows herself to trainers with a Zephyr Badge. Damn. Well, you know what they say. Nothing worth having comes easy. On the way back, we tackled - both figuratively and literally - several more wild Pokémon. I think it's finally time for Violet City Gym.
I'm slightly acrophobic, like I said. I mostly got over it by virtue of my profession. As a doctor, and an emergency physician at that, I would, at times, need to travel by air to the scene of a disaster. But a bit of the fear stuck with me. And the Gym didn't help, to say the least. To accomodate the myriad of winged Pokémon being trained there, the building is of enormous size. It's practically a skyscraper! I had to take an elevator to the top. I still remember looking down and feeling a little sick. This was it. The first Gym.
The first trainer must've noticed my trepidation; he laughed before the match. But, thanks to Brittany, he wasn't laughing for very long. Being high up, I had a fear that I know is irrational. In fact, I knew it was irrational then. But I worried Brittany would land on a weak floorboard after an attack and fall. She moves so lightly across the battlefield, though. The second trainer was fought with my fears mostly alleviated. As such, I was able to focus better when giving attack commands. He and his winged beasts fell the same as their predecessors. Then came Falkner.
Greetings were formal; like that mystery trainer, Falkner has a tone of voice that's quickly recognisable. He spoke elegantly, almost regally. But I can speak from experience now in saying that he fights with brutality. From the moment I saw his first Pokémon, I knew he was fighting seriously. A well-trained Pidgey spread its wings and stared Brittany down. At a glance, I could tell this Pidgey has seen maybe dozens of fights. I could also tell, from looking at Brittany, that she was determined to make this encounter difficult for it. No backing down now. It was time to fight.
Brittany and this Pidgey traded blows for some time, and, to my delight, Pidgey was wearing out. I just had to keep an eye on Brittany to make sure she didn't take any big hits. Finally, Brittany connected with a crushing blow. I was surprised with the power that came from her petite body. Pidgey crashed to the floor, defeated, and I felt happy. Julia was waiting as backup, but, the way Brittany was going, I decided to keep her in for Falkner's second Pokémon. A Pidgeotto, this specimen had an intimidating aura that made even Brittany cringe. I gave a command, and Brittany lunged. She made contact, but Pidgeotto barely reacted. Clearly, this would be a challenge in and of itself.
Hit after hit, they fought. A Quick Attack was answered by a Gust again and again. Brittany's speed had Pidgeotto confounded, for sure. But a Sentret versus a Pidgeotto? I had my doubts. Until I saw somethjng I'm glad I was around to see. Pidgeotto had Brittany cornered in the rafters. I was ready for Brittany to take a fall. Instead, she took a leap. A leap onto Pidgeotto's back. It all happened so fast. Pidgeotto flew around wildly, but Brittany held firm. Finally, in its thrashing, the mighty bird crashed into the floor trying to shake Brittany off. Falkner was aghast, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel similarly. Then, in a ruffle of feathers, Pidgeotto rose again. It wasn't over. But it was about to be. I ordered a Quick Attack. Brittany leapt again, but came down hard this time. Pidgeotto squawked in pain, then fell once more. We did it! We won!
#11: Metapod, the Cocoon Pokémon
Along with its toxic counterpart in Kakuna, Metapod sometimes drop from trees in forests during periods of heavy wind. Take care travelling through these forests. Upon its final evolution, Metapod splits open, and the empty shell is discarded.
#12: Butterfree, the Butterfly Pokémon
Albeit exceedingly rare, pink Butterfree are known to exist. It was thought that they hail from the Orange Archipelago, but further research is required. Rubbing the wing of a Butterfree will leave your hand covered in a prismatic silver powder. This powder is non-toxic, and waterproof.
#165: Ledyba, the Five Star Pokémon
These Pokémon produce an aromatic fluid that is used to mark their territory, as well as for communication and courtship purposes. Diluted and mixed, it makes a fine perfume, sold in especially large quantities in Johto.
Sorry this installment took so long. As you well know, I had a family emergency to attend to. But enough about that. In this entry, we learn that Brittany is a savage(she actually did sweep Falkner; I didn't make that up.)! Seriously, that... whatever Sentret is based on... I wanna say raccoon... is not to be fucked with. We also get to see Julia evolve! They grow up so fast, huh? Hopefully, Angelica is next. Or will newly-acquired Diane beat her to the Comet Punch? Find out next time! If you WANT a next time, that is.~ Oh, and let's not forget our shiny new Zephyr Badge! Now that things are calming down, I'd like to write more. Only if you want it, though! ^_^