High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 5

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

This is chapter five of my Nuzlocke, a little shorter than previous chapters, but the ending seemed fitting. 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 four, that post is right here. Hope you enjoy this piece!

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Chapter 5:

I felt like I was going to throw up.

I thought I would be fine with all this. We registered as Gym Challengers, got to the hotel, and even helped out the hotel by defeating this really weird group of people that called themselves Team Yell in a Pokemon battle. After Hop and I defeated them, another Gym Challenger introduced herself to us as she berated the group and apologized for Team Yell.

At first glance, Marnie seemed like me. From a small town, not quite sure of her place in the world just yet, but she surprisingly had a fanclub already. She seemed nice at first glance, but I was wary of her. What had she done in her life already to warrant a fanclub? Team Yell wasn’t the most orthodox fanclub, I’ll admit, but they were there just the same with banners of Marnie’s face plastered on them.

Hop thought it was great. She was another potential rival for him to beat to the Champion status, after all. Marnie gave him a crooked smile, humoring him, before we all went on our way the next morning to the opening ceremony.

Cue me almost getting sick.

I knew there would be plenty of pomp and circumstance about the Gym Challenge. It’s what the Galar region lives for. I knew there would be a gaggle of us challengers on the field in the stadium. I knew Chairman Rose would be there to give a speech. I knew the gym leaders — well, most of them — would show up.

I was not prepared for it at all.

“Kris, isn’t this great?” Hop shouted at me above the cheering crowds. If not for him at my side, I would have turned around and retreated.

Hop was beaming and waving to those in the stands, and he couldn’t keep still even as a hush fell around us when the gym leaders sauntered in. I stuck close, my friend helping to keep me grounded as the flowery speeches began.

The opening ceremony couldn’t end soon enough. All of the celebration just for the beginning of the competition made my head spin and I wasn’t sure what it would be like whenever the Gym Challenge began to wind down.

Yet, while I was ready to go back to the hotel or the Pokemon Center to decompress for the rest of the day after the ceremony, Hop was more than ready to keep going.

“The first gym is in Turffield,” Hop said, his voice still a little louder than normal — somehow — because he didn’t quite realize we were out of the stadium yet. His Rotom Pokedex up hovering in front of our faces with the map app open. “We just go through Route 3 then the Galar Mine, then a short trip through Route 4 to reach Turffield. Easy-peasy.”

“Hop…” I paused him before we reached the edge of Motostoke. “You realize this is the farthest we’ve ever been from home?”

“Yeah, it is,” he said, the wattage of his grin dimming just a bit. “But that’s what makes it so exciting. We’re exploring the world with so many other people and Pokemon. What, are you worried?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “You’re cut out for this, but I’m not sure about me.”

“Lee wouldn’t have endorsed you if we thought otherwise,” Hop said. He moved the map app on his phone and added, “The first three gyms are Turffield, Hulbury, and Motostoke. It’s like a circle. With your bond with… well, Bond”–I rolled my eyes as Hop grinned and continued–”and the awesome way you’ve battled so far, I think you’re going to be great at the gym challenge.”

“I’ve only really battled you,” I pointed out.

“And Team Yell.”

With you.”

“Still.” Hop would not be deterred. “You’ve a full team of Pokemon already, too, don’t you? And we’ve crossed the Wild Area without any trouble. I think you should give this a go. See how you feel when we get back to Motostoke after getting the first two badges, yeah?

“Not gonna lie, Mum gave me an earful about being safe while on this journey,” Hop continued. “I know I’m really excited about this whole thing, but I am aware that it’s not going to be easy. It’s why I’m glad you’re doing this too. You got the whole level-head-on-your-shoulders thing going on. Because of that level head, though”–he poked my forehead–”I’m worried you’re going to miss out on a lot of things. You don’t want to stay in Postwick forever, do you?”

“I suppose not,” I said. I took a deep breath. “Alright. Two badges, at least. I’m just going to visit the Pokemon Center once more before heading to Turffield, make sure I’m stocked up on medicines.”

Hop grinned. “Perfect! I’ll meet you there.”

“Be careful,” I called as Hop raced off. He waved backwards and I watched until I couldn’t see him anymore.

Two badges. I could do that. My team would be just fine. We had a diverse group, and everyone was growing well enough that we’d be okay. Pokemon training was a tough but supposedly rewarding career. Everything would turn out fine.

At least, so I thought until Posie died.

Current Team: Bond the Sobble, Piccolo the Dottler, Ryder the Rookidee, Posie the Bunnelby, Freya the Oddish, Everest the Delibird
Body Count: 1

Who is your favorite Galar gym leader? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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