Happy Friday, everyone!
This is chapter four of my Nuzlocke, and it was therapeutic to write amid everything that is going on now. 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 three, that post is right here. Hope you enjoy this piece!
Okay, so it was an interesting experience, being with my Pokemon out in the Wild Area. After a few strict rules — such as telling Ryder that, no, he could not eat Piccolo or Posie, our new Bunnelby companion, no matter how awful my first few attempts at making curry were — my Pokemon got along well enough during the few times we needed to put up the tent.
All in all, the few nights we camped out in the Wild Area were fine, but I definitely preferred an actual bed to a sleeping bag. I’m sure Hop was thrilled with the whole camping experience, wherever he was in the Wild Area. Growing up, my friend was always ready for adventure while I liked my adventure time to be scheduled. After all, I never wanted to miss any of the big Pokemon battles on television or my mother’s desserts.
A Pokemon journey was a learning curve for me and, seeing how many other would-be trainers that were running around the Wild Area like Blaziken with its head cut off, I seemed to be the only one experiencing these hang-ups.
Part of the anxiety was probably due to being hyper aware that the opening ceremony for the gym challenge would be happening in a couple days, and if I didn’t cross the Wild Area to reach Motostoke in time, there’d be disappointment all around me.
Hop would never forgive his “greatest rival” for being late, Leon would question why he gave me Bond in the first place, Mum’s face would fall in confusion if I walked back into the house so soon…
“Freya, stop taunting Everest.” I stepped in between my riled-up Oddish trying to challenge my shyer Delibird to a fight, and I added my Pokemon to the list of those who would be disappointed in me if I didn’t go through with this.
My Oddish stuck her tongue out at me and I returned her to her pokeball instead of retaliating. I decided against telling Everest that he could, you know, freeze the tip of her leaves or something to get her off his back, but with my luck, it would start a team brawl.
Despite everything, I was happy with our little team. Since entering the Wild Area, I’ve gotten a full team, along with an extra Pokemon hanging out in my Pokemon Box, and Piccolo even evolved into a Dottler, which I had to keep convincing myself was awesome. Because it was great that Piccolo evolved, got a little stronger and all that, but…
She wouldn’t be winning any races except maybe against a Metapod, that’s for sure.
I glanced around as Bond helped me finish packing up the tent and most of my other Pokemon were in their balls. Piccolo was inching her way back from the edge of the lake towards us, her stubby feet having taken her all morning to get to the edge of the lake in the first place for a drink after her spoonful of breakfast.
She chirped happily as she spotted me looking at her and I couldn’t help but give her a crooked smile. “Let me help,” I said, opting to just return her to her pokeball instead of waiting for her to catch up. Bond and I would have been waiting until noon for her to reach our sides.
“Alright, let’s keep going,” I said, and Bond hopped up to cling to my shoulder as we continued through the Wild Area. I wasn’t planning on catching any other Pokemon, aiming to just go straight to Motostoke in order to reach the city with time to spare for the opening ceremony.
Motostoke City was big enough to swallow Postwick five times over. As giant as the wild Onix seemed at the beginning of the Wild Area, a trainer’s Onix near Motostoke’s Pokemon Center looked like a runt next to the mechanisms that kept the city running.
“What did we get ourselves into?” I murmured, and Bond cooed in my ear, his voice warbling and his grip on my shoulder tightening.
“All right there, Kris?”
Bond and I were suddenly dwarfed in Leon’s and his Charizard’s shadows. My shoulders relaxed at the familiar face and I admitted, “I feel lost.”
“Story of my life,” Leon said with a laugh. “I’d never remember the way to the stadium if it weren’t for Charizard.” I refrained from mentioning just how often Leon, as the Champion, would have visited Motostoke Stadium. “You heading that way to register for the challenge?”
“Yes,” I said before I could back out, change my mind, and tell Leon to use his endorsement on someone else. “I’m sure Hop is already there.”
Indeed, after Charizard directed Leon and me to the steam-powered lift that would bring us to the stadium, we spotted Hop waiting just outside of the massive building.
“Kris, you made it!” Hop was nearly bouncing right outside of the stadium, and I’m glad he didn’t seem any worse for wear after the Wild Area. “Just think! Everyone’ll be watching the opening ceremony for the Gym Challenge… My mum, your mum, the whole world! I can’t tell if I’m trembling from nerves or excitement! Lee, you coming in now, too?”
“Not just yet,” Leon said, ruffling his brother’s hair. “The gym leaders are coming in for the opening ceremony, so I’m going to meet up with them tonight. You two go on and get registered.”
“Have fun, then,” Hop said before taking hold of my arm. “C’mon, let’s go!”
The lobby was packed with other gym challengers, so much so that I barely heard Hop mention how every other challenger there was a potential rival. We shouldered our way to the counter, nearly getting shoved down by some jerk in a bright pink coat in the process, and handed over our endorsements to the stadium official.
“Fancy that,” the official said. “This is the first time we’ve had a couple of challengers endorsed by the Champion himself.” My cheeks went red as the official added, “You two must be something special.”
I wasn’t sure if being friends with the Champion’s younger brother warranted me as special enough for an endorsement. Yet, we continued through the motions to register, picking out our uniform numbers and being surprised that the League Chairman booked rooms for all the challengers at the nearby inn.
“Alright, then,” Hop said as we got our Challenge Bands. “Let’s go check out the fancy digs!”
I took a deep breath as Hop beat me out of the lobby and stared down at my Challenge Band, Bond reaching out to touch it out of curiosity.
This was real. I was a Gym Challenger. I would be traveling all over the Galar Region for a chance to ultimately battle Leon for the Champion title. All around me were other challengers, challengers who knew as well as I did that not all of us would make it to the end. Would my team and I make it? Did I want to go that far in this challenge?
“One step at a time, I suppose,” I said to Bond, taking him in my arms as I made my way back out of the stadium as well. At the very least, I was going to get an actual bed for the night. I intended to enjoy it.
Current Team: Bond the Sobble, Piccolo the Dottler, Ryder the Rookidee, Posie the Bunnelby, Freya the Oddish, Everest the Delibird
Body Count: 0