High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 2

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

This Friday, we are continuing my Pokemon Shield Nuzlocke, “High Hopes.” If you missed the first chapter or want to be reminded of the rules, feel free to go back to that post. Otherwise, hope you enjoy this piece!

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Chapter 2:

Current Team: Bond the Sobble
Body Count: 0

My first experience with the overgrown grass in Route 1 was tripping over a Blipbug.

I decided to blame Hop. He had taken off down the route towards Wedgehurst, saying how we needed to meet the professor, and I was just trying to catch up. I was lucky I didn’t land on and squash the poor thing. Instead, it ran right into Bond, who was startled enough to Pound it with a tongue-lashing. Considering it was dazed, I tossed a pokeball and caught it.

“Well, what do you know,” I murmured to Bond as I picked up the Blipbug’s pokeball. “We got ourselves a new teammate.”

Said new teammate was dubbed Piccolo and — after reaching Wedgehurst, meeting the professor’s assistant and granddaughter Sonia, and receiving a Pokedex from her — was then almost eaten on Route 2 by a Rookidee.

At my shout, Bond leaped to Piccolo’s defense, soaking the offending Rookidee with a Water Gun. The Flying-type gave off a shrill scream before flapping up into the air, avoiding Bond, and diving at Piccolo again. On reflex, I chucked a pokeball at the bird, both the ball and the Pokemon colliding together.

As the pokeball stilled, signalling another capture, Bond, Piccolo, and I all took a collective deep breath.

“I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this,” I muttered, returning my Pokemon and picking up my new Rookidee’s pokeball. I backtracked to Wedgehurst, figuring that Hop and Leon could wait a bit longer for me. I wanted to get appropriate food for my Rookidee so he didn’t try to eat Piccolo again.

Heading back to Route 2, there were a few other beginning trainers that gave my team some experience, and it wasn’t until it was nearly sunset that Professor Magnolia’s house appeared on the horizon. Hop was there in front of the property, gazing towards the lake, but he gave me a grin when he spotted me finally showing up.

“‘Bout time,” he said. “I thought you got lost, but I figured if Leon could figure out how to here, then you’d be just fine.”

“It’s a straight way from Wedgehurst to here,” Leon said dryly, catching Hop’s words as the pair of us caught up to the champion by the professor’s door. Leon ruffled his brother’s hair, adding, “I’m not that bad.”

“He kinda is,” Hop whispered to me as we followed Leon into the house, and I stifled my chuckles as we were introduced to Professor Magnolia.

She was a nice old lady, talking about the wishing pieces and dynaxing Pokemon, and spoke up for Hop and me when Leon seemed hesitant about endorsing us. To be fair, I was as hesitant as Leon, but before I could blink, it was decided that Hop and I would battle to see if we were worthy of the champion’s endorsement. As Hop and I got into position on the makeshift battle arena outside of Professor Magnolia’s house, I wondered if Hop would hate me if I told him that I really wouldn’t mind if Leon didn’t endorse us for the Galar Gym Challenge.

I mean, sure, it would probably be a good time. Growing stronger with my Pokemon wouldn’t be a waste and it would be a good excuse to go off and explore the region more thoroughly. Yet, unlike Hop, I didn’t feel that pull to become the next greatest trainer in the region.

I’ll play the role of rival in The Legend of Hop and support him as well as I could, but if Leon could only endorse one of us after our battle, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it was Hop.

“C’mon, Kris!” Hop was stretching from the opposite side of the makeshift battle pitch, his grin infectious. “Come at me with everything you got!”

“Alright, alright,” I said, making a show of brushing off imaginary lint from my shirt and giving my friend a crooked smile at his excitement. Glancing over at Leon, I saw Professor Magnolia join him on the sidelines, the older woman interested in seeing how well Hop and I battled. 

Leon said, “Listen up, you two,” and gave us a pep talk about always learning from every battle. I mulled over the few battles I’ve had with other trainers on the route when heading towards Professor Magnolia’s house, trying to figure out if there was anything I learned aside from paranoia whenever my Pokemon took a little too hard of a hit. Leon snagged my attention again as he added, “So show me something good in this battle!”

“You got it!” Hop wasted no more time as he tossed out his first Pokemon. Predictably, his Wooloo bleated as it emerged and shook itself.

I knew his Wooloo. It was gentle and sometimes showed a little more common sense than its trainer. Taking a deep breath, I called out my own Pokemon.

Piccolo blinked her big eyes as she stared at the Wooloo before her. My Blipbug didn’t seem too surprised, probably from having seen plenty of wild Wooloo on Route 1. What Piccolo was surprised about, apparently, was me commanding, “Struggle Bug.”

Whether she was surprised I was reminding her of the only move she knew or just to attack in general, I wasn’t sure. Being tiny meant that Piccolo hadn’t spent too much time helping Bond and Ryder the Rookidee battle the few other trainers on Route 2.

Unfortunately, her pause meant that Wooloo, who had no such problems with listening to Hop and attacking, barrelled into Piccolo with a Tackle.

Oh, shit.

Piccolo flipped backwards with a somersault as Wooloo rolled right on over her and back to position in front of Hop. She gave a delighted bleat as I debated on whether to return Piccolo already. My Blipbug, however, shook off the Tackle and charged as fast as her species could — which, really, wasn’t wasn’t that fast — at her opponent. Wooloo stared at Piccolo as she went closer.

Hop didn’t waste time in commanding a second Tackle, and I preemptively winced. Wooloo, again, ran over Piccolo, but Piccolo hung on to Wooloo this time around.

Wooloo tried shaking itself to dislodge Piccolo, but Piccolo nearly buried herself in Wooloo’s thick wool, biting as she used Struggle Bug on her opponent. In a desperate move to get Piccolo off, Wooloo rolled right into the stone wall surrounding Professor Magnolia’s property, knocking itself out.

“Great try, Wooloo,” Hop said, returning his Pokemon. Piccolo stumbled back towards me as I congratulated her. Immediately, I returned her when Hop tossed out a Rookidee.

“Ryder!” My own Rookidee exploded from his pokeball, eager to battle again, and dove at Hop’s Rookidee with a Peck attack.

The two birds traded Peck attacks a couple of times until Ryder broke off and honed his claws against the professor’s stone wall. Hop’s Rookidee chased it, getting another hit in, but Ryder’s sharper claws snagged it so Ryder could get one more good Peck in.

“Ryder, enough!” I called my Pokemon back as Hop called his to return. Together, Hop and I sent out our starters to face off once again.

Scorbunny set the battlefield on fire with an Ember and Bond nearly panicked. He leaped onto one of the nearby trees, using Water Gun to put out the few flames that Scorbunny kept kicking up.

“Aim for the rabbit!” I said, ducking from one such wayward Water Gun.

Bond got the hint and directed his next attack at Scorbunny. Scorbunny’s ears flopped with the water and it shivered before Hop commanded it to Tackle my Sobble. Scorbunny dashed up the tree, its feet connecting with Bond enough to make both of them tumble back to the ground. Bond got up first, using his tongue to Pound the Scorbunny even further into the field before his Water Gun met Scorbunny’s next Ember attack.

Another Tackle to Bond, another Pound to Scorbunny, an Ember, and one last Water Gun revealed Bond — and me — as the victor.

“Heh…” Hop returned his Scorbunny, giving me a lopsided smile. “I’d expect nothing less from my rival.”

“It was a good battle,” I said, hoping that I could avoid every other wild Pokemon and trainer on Route 2 to get back to the Pokemon Center.

“Well.” Leon came up to the pair of us, pausing only to stomp on one last little ember on the battlefield to snuff it out. “After seeing a battle like that, I’ve little choice but to give you both an endorsement as Champion.”

“YES! Thanks, Lee!” Hop cheered, and I thanked Leon as well, before Hop turned to me. “Alright, Kris! You and me are going to train up against one another to aim for that Champion’s title!”

I paused, but Hop’s enthusiasm was contagious. I couldn’t let him down.

I returned his grin. “Absolutely.”

Who knows? Maybe becoming Champion wouldn’t be such a bad goal after all.

Have you ever failed a Nuzlocke challenge? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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