Happy Friday, everyone!
This is chapter three of my Nuzlocke. If you missed the first chapter or want to be reminded of the rules, feel free to go back to that post. Or, if you missed chapter two, that post is right here. Hope you enjoy this piece!
Current Team: Bond the Sobble, Piccolo the Blipbug, Ryder the Rookidee
Body Count: 0
It was bittersweet watching the landscape of Wedgehurst — with Postwick in the distance — blur as the train lurched out of the station. My stomach tumbled and I suddenly felt homesick despite just giving Mum a hug goodbye not ten minutes ago before leaving.
Hop nudged my foot under the table at our seats and I turned my attention from the window to him.
“This is going to be fantastic,” he said, his face in his Rotom phone. “We’ll conquer the gym challenge together, Kris. Galar will soon know who we are.”
“Oh, I’m part of this?” I teased. “I thought I was just helping to further your legend.”
He scoffed. “Of course you are,” he said, “which means you’re very important. You’ll be my closest rival, like how Raihan is to Leon!” He flipped his Rotom phone around so I could see the social media posts he was scrolling through.
Raihan was one of the gym leaders of the region. He was one of the strongest, in fact, and I remember Hop passing along stories that he heard from Leon about Raihan challenging Leon to a battle here and there. Vaguely, I wondered if it was due to those stories — of Raihan always calling himself Leon’s rival — that Hop was so adamant that we were rivals.
Hop chatted away, our conversation during the train ride easing my nerves about the upcoming gym challenge. It would be a great time, I was sure of it, but I was also constantly reminding myself that I was never too far away from home. I could go back anytime. Mum would be delighted to see me whenever I walked in the door.
…I really needed to get out more.
I gazed back out the train window as we slowed during a lull in the conversation, understanding that this would be the best thing for me. And I would be with my best friend, who…
…was no longer in his seat.
I glanced around. “Hop?”
“Kris, we stopped!” He was near the front of the traincar and, indeed, we had stopped. Puzzled, I noticed no buildings or anything out the window and hurried to catch up with Hop. He paused long enough for me to reach his side before he caught one of the conductors’ attention. “What’s going on?”
“Sorry, young man,” the conductor said, tipping his hat. “There’s a herd of Wooloo on the track, so we had to stop for them. We’re at the Wild Area now. If you wish to disembark, you can cross the Wild Area to Motostoke. Otherwise, our delay may be about an hour.”
I shrugged. “An hour’s not bad–”
“This is great!” Hop, in one breath, thanked the conductor, dragged me off the train and out of the station, and rambled about all the Pokemon we would encounter.
I gasped at the landscape before us. The rolling hills and the lakes nestled between them. The rows of trees on our left, a dark tower emerging from the horizon. The beginning of Motostoke across the way, far away enough that I seriously thought it may take a day or two to reach it from the Wild Area station.
Arceus, how did Leon get through this place when he took on the gym challenge? It could take weeks for a normal person to explore the entirety of the Wild Area. For someone missing his sense of direction, who knows how long it took him to get around the place?
Hop was ecstatic. “Imagine what kinds of team we can build!” he was saying. “Look at all of the Pokemon!”
“Look at that Onix!” I hid behind Hop, spying the giant rock monster casually slithering towards the trees on the left. It’d be able to eat my team and myself in one gulp. “Shouldn’t it be underground?”
Hop cleared his throat and shifted more so towards the right, taking me with him. “Heh, yeah, maybe we’ll go a different way to Motostoke…”
“Don’t bother it and it won’t bother you.” Sonia appeared behind us, twirling a strand of her hair around her fingers as she gazed at the Onix as well. “…Well, probably.”
“Probably?” I echoed weakly.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” Hop asked her, apparently already forgetting about the Onix.
Sonia sighed. “Gran saw how enthusiastic you two were to go on a journey and thought it’d be a great idea for me too.” In a rather impressive impression of the professor’s warbled voice, Sonia said, “‘Those two young trainers are setting off on a journey, but what are you doing with your life?’”
I winced. “Ouch.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Sonia said, waving away my sympathy. “Besides, I’m interested in that Pokemon you guys said you ran into in the Slumbering Weald, so it’s good timing. Maybe I’ll discover something new and exciting enough that’ll make Gran admit I have some talent!”
“Yikes,” Hop said. “Being an adult has got its own challenges, eh?”
Deadpanned, I said, “Hop, you’re making it sound like we’re ten-years-old or something…” He grinned and winked, and I rolled my eyes.
“I’m looking forward to being on the road again,” Sonia said. “It’ll be great to camp out and rough it. If you guys are going through the Wild Area, be careful. Some spots are prime areas for wild Pokemon to dynamax.”
“Alright, I’m off to beat as many of them as possible!” Hop darted away, going the opposite way of the Onix, I noticed. Before he was completely gone, he shouted back, “Meet you at Motostoke…!”
“What cheek!” Sonia gazed after him, hands on her hips. “He really should be careful, or at least think to dynamax his own Pokemon if he does encounter a wild one…”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” I said. “Didn’t you know? We’re witnessing the beginning of a legend.”
She gave me a withering look but said nothing. We chatted a few more minutes and she showed me a couple of more tricks with my Rotom phone before we parted ways. She returned to the station for a bit of shopping and I made sure the Onix was far enough away before I ventured further into the rolling fields.