High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 4

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy 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!

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Chapter 4:

Camping sucked.

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

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

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High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 3

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy 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!

Pokemon | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming | Nuzlocke | Nuzlocke Challenge | Doublexjump.com

Chapter 3:

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.

Which Pokemon game is the best to Nuzlocke? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Pokemon Nuzlockes

Double Jump Kris MiiWhen Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are released later this year, there will be nearly 30 core Pokemon games. While these games grant the player the ability to explore an entire region with whatever Pokemon teams they can imagine, sometimes the usual “defeat-the-bad-guys-and-become-the-champion” plot line can get a bit old. To alleviate that, there are some challenges out there and one of the most famous is the Nuzlocke Challenge.

 

The Nuzlocke Challenge was created only about seven years ago by a college student whose finals weren’t difficult enough to warrant the need for him to study. He restarted his Pokemon Ruby game and, to make things a little more challenging, gave himself two rules for his new run:

  1. Only the first Pokemon encountered in an area can be caught.
  2. If the Pokemon faints, it is considered dead and must be released or boxed for the remainder of the run.

By using these two rules, players not only end up caring even more for their Pokemon — since every hit could be their last — but it also forces players to use Pokemon that they normally would overlook. Plenty of other optional rules have been added to the players’ liking, such as nicknaming the Pokemon to increase affection for them, never using healing items, never using Pokemon Centers, duplicate clauses, and plenty more.

The original Nuzlocke challenger ended up drawing simple comics to document his adventures, and it’s become something of a phenomenon. There have been plenty of Nuzlocke comics that I’ve followed in the past, especially ones where the artists delve even deeper into the stories of the games to create fantastic plots. It’s also such a joy to watch the artist’s skills evolve (pun totally intended) the longer the comic goes on.

Some of my favorite Nuzlocke comics include:

What do you think of Nuzlockes? Have you ever done a Nuzlocke run on your Pokemon games?

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