Chapter 1: Following in Big Sister's Footsteps
Ruby Silverlock had only been the new Champion of Galar for a year and yet she was still finding herself be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowds that her matches brought to Wyndon Stadium.
She stood on the pitch with her beloved Cinderace, whom she had lovingly nicknamed "Bugs" due to sharing the voice and mannerisms of the famous cartoon character, at her side. Bugs had grown to prefer being out of his Pokéball more often so he often stood by Ruby's side on the pitch whenever she was about to have a battle. The crowd was immense, not an empty seat to be seen all around the stadium. Ruby knew why the audience was so big today. This was the final match of the season and she was about to go head-to-head with a new Gym Challenger, a trainer that had battled through the eight Gyms of Galar and won through the semi-finals and the Champion Cup to reach her. Her title depended on this single battle whether she would remain the Champion or give up her title to a new winner. That trainer was standing opposite her right now.
Her name was Dawn Hikari and she was a girl from the Sinnoh region. She wore a white beanie with a pink Pokéball print on it, a V-neck tank top with a white undershirt and a pink skirt that was so ludicrously short it barely covered her hips. She had blue hair that she kept up with gold hairclips and wore pink knee-high boots and a pink scarf around her neck. Dawn had been a runner-up in the Sinnoh League, falling foul to the unbeatable Cynthia when she'd tried to take the title. She was here to try her luck in the Galar League. Only Champion Ruby stood before her now.
Ruby was clad in the Champion T-shirt and cape that the former champion had given to her. She'd exchanged her old leather trousers for a new pair that was a lighter black in colour and lacked the decorative studs of her original pair and also wore black fingerless gloves. Her trademark silver hair had grown back long again and was blowing about in the slight breeze that crept in through the stadium's open roof. Ruby drew her arm across her chest and threw it out again, holding up two fingers with her other hand on her hips and throwing a wink to the audience. She'd developed her own trademark pose just like Leon before her and the audience whipped up into a frenzy as she did it. It wouldn't be as iconic as Leon's "Charizard stance" but it still inspired some imitators. Dawn could hear everybody screaming her name and knew that she was against somebody who had clearly earned her reputation as Galar's most recent Champion, the unbeatable Ruby Silverlock. She knew of course of her perfect winning streak and how Ruby never lost a fight. Maybe she could break that winning streak now.
"From Twinleaf Town in the Sinnoh Region, Dawn Hikari." the announcer boomed, his voice echoing through the speaker systems all over the arena, "And from Postwick Town, the reigning Champion…Ruby Silverlock!"
Ruby and Dawn stared each other down as the audience exploded with joy. The excitement here in the stadium today was enough to generate power to keep an entire city going for months. It was a sound that Ruby had gotten all too used to over the year she'd been Champion and she'd come to understand why Leon seemed to enjoy it. There was just no feeling in the world quite like being in front of so many people cheering your name as they prepared to watch you score a new victory or a possible defeat! She would probably miss it if she was to stop being Champion. But of course, the biggest reward for Ruby was getting to meet new trainers and have new challenges come her way. Dawn smiled a friendly smile over at her opponent as if to emphasize that no matter what happened, she wouldn't mind the outcome.
"I'll be honest…I'm scared to death out here!" Dawn exclaimed, "I'm standing here feeling like my heart's gonna explode! How are you able to remain so calm in front of so many people?!"
"You get used to it after a while." Ruby said casually, "They don't do Pokémon Leagues like this back at Sinnoh, do they?"
"Not in the slightest!" Dawn gasped, "We don't perform in front of a huge stadium of people like you Galarians do! I guess it just adds a whole new air of tension to the fight, doesn't it?"
"It's why you won't get a better match anywhere else, Dawn." Ruby said with a wink, "I hope we have a great battle here today."
"No need to worry, Ruby! I'll give you everything I've got!" Dawn replied cheerfully, keen to get the battle started.
"Pokémon trainers: Standby." the announcer boomed.
The audience fell silent, leaving Ruby and Dawn to await the signal to go. The stadium had gone so quiet that Dawn was surprised to find herself hearing the sound of her own breathing. This was it, the moment that would determine who would claim victory here today: the current Champion or the newcomer. It was all so very exciting and the audience couldn't wait for the action to begin.
"Three…two…one…BEGIN!" the announcer barked.
"OK, away we go!" Ruby cried enthusiastically, throwing her cape off just as Leon before her always did before a battle, "Bryce, you're up first!"
She threw her first Pokéball and summoned forth the very Pokémon she would be opening up with. Bryce the Charizard had been a gift from Leon to her for winning her battle against him and she'd spent a long time raising him up until he'd evolved into a Charizard that was so powerful that its power exceeded even Leon's own. Bryce spread his huge wings and roared with excitement. He'd grown to love Pokémon battling and was thrilled that he was first to fight. The audience was glad to see him here as they'd grown to love him as much as they loved Leon's Charizard. Dawn eyed up her opponent with interest.
"Wow, a Charizard!" she cried, "Definitely not something we get in Sinnoh! And I think I have a Pokémon you've probably never seen before. Go Chomper!" she yelled, throwing her first Pokéball.
Ruby watched as her opponent's Pokémon materialized onto the field. Dawn was right, she had never seen this one before as this Pokémon was not native to Galar whatsoever. It was a Pachirisu, an Electric-type Pokémon native to regions such as Sinnoh and Kalos. Pachirisu looked like a squirrel with white fur, blue markings on its head, back and tail, three spikes on its tail and yellow circular cheek-markings that reminded many of Pikachu and its evolutions. Pachirisu was labelled as a "Pikachu clone" as a result of this, thrown in with species such as Plusle & Minun, Emolga and Galar's very own Morpeko species. Pachirisu looked very cute but Ruby knew that Dawn didn't bring this Pokémon to a battle for the title for its cuteness. It must be a powerful Pokémon if she had it with her now.
"You're right Dawn. I've never seen that Pokémon before." Ruby confirmed, "We don't get those here in Galar. So let's see how powerful it is. Bryce, use Fire Blast!"
Bryce built up a huge ball of fire in his throat and opened his jaws. He launched the attack at his opponent, the fireball transforming into the shape of a five-pointed Japanese character that meant the word "big" or "great". Fire Blast was the strongest Fire attack and Chomper was in for a roasting if the attack hit.
"Quick Chomper, dodge it!" Dawn cried frantically.
Chomper tried to do so but he was too slow and the Fire Blast hit him. Chomper was thrown off his feet by the sizzling attack and sent sprawling across the grass. The audience winced, feeling Chomper's pain as the Fire Blast hit. Chomper's health was critically low but otherwise he was able to carry on. Bryce grinned, looking confident that he had this match in the bag. Chomper struggled back to his feet and grunted. Dawn sighed, happy to see that he was able to carry on.
"You can do it Chomper! No need to worry!" Dawn reassured her Pokémon, "Use Thunderbolt!"
Chomper obeyed, firing a terrific jolt of electricity at Bryce. Ruby had suspected that the little squirrel-like Pokémon was more than what he seemed and wasn't surprised to see that he could launch a powerful attack. Bryce winced as he was electrocuted. His half-Flying typing made him vulnerable to Electric attacks. Thankfully, Pachirisu weren't the strongest Electric-types and his Defences held out long enough for him to take the blow. He shook his head and flapped his wings to ease the pain in his body.
"Ungh…I'm OK Ruby!" he insisted.
"I can see you are. Well done, mate!" Ruby said approvingly, "Now wrap this up with Dragon Pulse!"
Bryce opened his mouth and blasted Chomper off his feet with a draconian energy pulse that seemed to carry all the power that he had in him. Chomper's health was already low so it was no surprise that he couldn't take the hit and had ended up knocked out as a result. Dawn gasped as her first Pokémon she'd sent out lay at her feet, his eyes becoming swirls as he passed out.
"Oh no! Chomper!" Dawn cried.
"Pachirisu is unable to battle! Charizard is the winner!" the announcer declared.
"Whoo-hoo! Go Ruby!"
"Yeah, show her why you're the current Champion!"
The battle wasn't just being watched by the people at Wyndon Stadium here today. It was also being watched at home by several people on TV. Two of those people who were watching the fight at home were the very duo that supported Ruby more than anybody. They were her twin sisters, Emerald and Sapphire Silverlock. Ever since Ruby had left home to go on her Pokémon journey and had become champion, Emerald and Sapphire had promised never to miss a single match their sister had. They'd kept true to their word. In the year she had been Champion, they had watched every match of hers to the point they could remember each opponent she'd defeated and which Pokémon she had used to finish the battle.
Emerald and Sapphire were twins, though they hardly looked alike. Emerald was white like Ruby was while Sapphire was black, taking after their father's side of the family. Emerald was a bubbly, energetic girl with brown hair that always dressed in mostly green clothing. She had on a white T-shirt with green stripes, a green hoodie, green and black gloves, black trousers with a green stripe down the side of her legs and brown walking boots. Her biggest trademark, the one item of clothing she NEVER went without was a green tam-o-shanter that she'd been wearing since she was nine years old. Ruby and Sapphire often joked that her hat wasn't a hat, it was a part of her body.
Sapphire had purple eyes and long wavy hair that had been dyed blue. She wore a black and blue hoodie, a white t-shirt with blue stripes, jeans and fur-lined boots. When it came to her and Emerald, she was the sensible, more down-to-earth twin which contrasted heavily with Emerald's excitable personality, though she had her moments of joy too. She also liked to read a lot, more likely to be sat with a book on her lap than to be reading from a screen like most teenagers.
The twins were enjoying the match and had been happy to see Ruby get off to a good start with an easy win over Dawn's Pachirisu. They had worried that Bryce was going to go down but he'd pulled through and won the battle. They watched as Dawn returned Chomper and whipped out another Pokéball. Emerald and Sapphire were watching the TV with a bowl of crisps between them to enjoy and Emerald stuffed some into her mouth.
"What do you think she's going to use next?" Emerald asked with her mouth full of crisps.
"Beats me." Sapphire said, shrugging, "The Sinnoh region has Pokémon that we don't get in Galar so she could have anything at this point."
She dug out a portion of crisps herself and crunched away on them as Dawn summoned forth her next Pokémon. Unlike Chomper, this was one that the twins DID recognize as this next Pokémon was a species that was native to Galar. Dawn had chosen to use a Mamoswine, an Ice/Ground type Pokémon that was the final stage of Swinub. Mamoswine was so-called due to its resemblance to a boar and a Woolly Mammoth. It was huge with a round body, thick brown fur, stubby elephant like legs and huge tusks but it had a pig-like nose instead of a trunk like a mammoth would. Emerald shoved more crisps into her mouth as the battle was about to continue. Dawn's Mamoswine looked like a powerful Pokémon and it would be interesting to see if Bryce could beat this one. Sapphire frowned.
"Why is she using a Mamoswine? Surely Dawn knows that it's weak against Fire types!" she commented, "Bryce will roast that thing alive!"
"Yeah, but I think Mamoswine can learn Rock attacks, can't it?" Emerald asked thoughtfully, "I'm sure one of Ruby's books said something like that."
"I'm amazed you actually bothered to read her books for once." Sapphire snickered, "You're not one to read books, Em."
"Oy, just because I don't read books, doesn't mean I don't read them at all!" the brunette girl retorted, "Besides, we're gonna be starting our journeys as Pokémon trainers come our birthday next month so sue me for wanting to educate myself in time for that!"
"Hey, chill out Em! I'm just teasing!" the bluenette girl said hastily, "Ruby will honestly be happy to hear you're wanting to learn about Pokémon as much as possible."
"Of course she will!" Emerald agreed, "I love making people happy and wanting to become a great trainer like her will certainly make Ruby happy."
The twins turned back to the TV to watch as Bryce engulfed Dawn's Mamoswine with another Fire Blast. To Dawn's relief, it had managed to hold on despite the type-disadvantage. Mamoswine pawed at the ground, showing its opponent that it had plenty of fight left in it. Dawn smiled happily.
"Good job, Martha! You're hanging in there!" the Sinnoh girl praised, "Now fight back with Stone Edge!"
Emerald and Sapphire's eyes widened with shock and they leaned forward in their seat as Martha conjured up a bunch of sharp stones from nowhere and launched them at Bryce. Stone Edge was the strongest Rock attack a Pokémon could learn and unfortunately for a Charizard, it was guaranteed to knock them out instantly as they had a quadruple weakness to the type. The stones hit Bryce and he was knocked right out of the sky in an instant, every stone feeling like a missile that was being launched into him. He was already weakened from his fight with Chomper so the Stone Edge had no trouble finishing him off. He fainted onto the grass, earning gasps of surprise from the audience that the Challenger had managed to defeat Ruby's first Pokémon so quickly. It had been a while since Ruby had lost a Pokémon at an early stage in the battle. The twins groaned, disappointed that Bryce had to go down like that.
"Charizard is unable to battle! Mamoswine is the winner!" the announcer's voice croaked from the TV's speakers.
"That was a great attack, Dawn!" Ruby complimented, returning Bryce to his ball, "Your Mamoswine's clearly well-trained!"
"She's been a real trooper for my team and I love her for it!" Dawn cried happily, "My team would be empty without her!"
"Aww, that's lovely." Ruby said gleefully, "I love hearing how much a Pokémon means to its trainer. And speaking of a Pokémon that means a lot to its trainer…"
She motioned to Bugs, telling him that he was up next. Bugs stepped forward onto the pitch, stretching his legs as if he was a footballer about to line up for a perfect strike. Emerald and Sapphire knew Ruby had made the right choice. Bugs had a weakness to Rock and Ground types, but he was so fast that he'd exploit Martha's Fire-type weakness before Martha could exploit his weaknesses. They were soon proven right as Bugs took out the weakened Mamoswine with a single Pyro Ball. The attack came so fast and heavily that Dawn didn't even have time to react as Martha was hit by the giant fireball. Martha was burnt alive by the fire and her health quickly depleted from the attack. The giant mammoth-like Pokémon then keeled over onto its side and lay still. Bugs simply rubbed his nose conceitedly and grinned with pride.
"Gosh, ain't I a stinker?" he sneered.
"Mamoswine is unable to battle! Cinderace is the winner!" the announcer declared.
"YAY! Go Bugs! You're the best!" Emerald squealed, nearly knocking the bowl of crisps over in her excitement.
The powerful Cinderace bowed on the TV screen, almost as if he'd somehow managed to hear Emerald's cheers and was bowing in appreciation. The twins watched on as the battle continued with Ruby and Dawn continuously bringing out Pokémon after Pokémon until the battle came to a decisive end with both contestants down to their last Pokémon. Dawn was left with an Empoleon that she'd nicknamed "Pingu" while Ruby had her singing superstar, Freddy the Toxtricity to finish off. Empoleon was a Water/Steel type Pokémon resembling a penguin in royal attire and was the fully evolved form of Piplup, the Water-type starter for Sinnoh trainers. Naturally, it was an easy win for Freddy as Empoleon had a weakness to electric-types. In order to make this final battle even more exciting, both Ruby and Dawn Dynamaxed their Pokémon with Freddy and Pingu growing giant-sized to make this final brawl a true titanic tussle. Dynamaxing was a popular phenomenon in Galar and for a Sinnoh trainer like Dawn, it was an incredible experience getting to see her Pokémon grow to a colossal height and battle it out. Freddy won the battle in a single blow, using Max Lightning to take Pingu out, and all while singing Queen songs as usual. Pingu returned to his normal size and collapsed onto the pitch. Emerald and Sapphire hugged each other and squealed with excitement, ecstatic that their big sister had won another match. Ruby wasn't losing that Champion title anytime soon!
"Empoleon is unable to battle! Toxtricity is the winner!" the announcer barked, "The winner of the Champion Cup is Ruby Silverlock and she remains our undefeated Champion!"
The audience screamed their excitement at the amazing battle they'd witnessed and how Ruby was still the Champion. It would've been a shame if her reign had been so short so it was good to see her win again, although this battle had been much closer than any of Ruby's previous battles. Dawn returned Pingu, looking disappointed that she'd lost. Emerald and Sapphire watched anxiously. Would she be a sore loser about this match and rant about it to Ruby? They hoped not. Their sister had sadly had to deal with trainers like that making a big scene over the fact they'd lost to her. Could Ruby help it if she was so damn good at being a trainer?! But luckily, Dawn wasn't like those contestants. She and Ruby met in the centre of the pitch and she gave a sad smile to the Champion.
"Well…I lost. I guess it's back home to train for whatever league I enter next." Dawn said, shrugging.
"Failure is not the end of the journey as they say." Ruby agreed, "I hope you can find success elsewhere, Dawn. You're an incredible trainer! If it makes you feel any better, you're the trainer that's come THE closest to beating me! I've never had a battle where I've been down to my last Pokémon before!"
"Ha, ha! So I guess I can at least be proud of myself for that achievement!" Dawn said cheerfully, "Thank you for an amazing battle Ruby. You deserve to be the Champion of this region!"
"Aww, cheers! That's sweet of you to say!" Ruby said graciously, "And thank YOU for that battle too. It's one of the best I've ever had!"
The girls then shook hands and the cameras filming the battle made sure to get a good view of them doing so for the benefit of the audiences at home. Emerald and Sapphire awed at the sweet scene on the TV. They loved it when Ruby's opponents were graceful in defeat and had nice things to say to her. Those were the matches that were the most beautiful to watch to them. With the battle over, Emerald switched the TV off. She and Sapphire would give Ruby a call later today to congratulate her on another victory.
"Our sis is so cool!" Emerald cried excitedly, "She makes Pokémon battles look so easy! Ah, I bet she'll be Galar's Champion for a long, long time!"
"Unless we end up succeeding her I guess." Sapphire joked.
Despite it being a joke, Emerald didn't laugh. If anything, she just ended up being reminded of the pressure that would be on her shoulders as the sister of Galar's Champion. Ruby had given both her and Sapphire a LOT to live up to! She'd taken on the Galar League, beaten it on her first try and then went on to defeat the Champion with five Pokémon remaining! How could they top that?!
"To be honest Sapph, I'm not sure if I even want to try and become Champion like Ruby did…" Emerald said uneasily, "When I start my Pokémon journey, I want to have fun, make new friends and catch lots of Pokémon. I won't enjoy myself if I go in thinking about if I'll be able to match up to Ruby."
Sapphire nodded. She could see why Emerald was feeling this way. They shouldn't go on their journeys with the express purpose of trying to top their sister. That wasn't in their nature and it would be incredibly shallow of them to do so. Sapphire patted Emerald on the shoulder softly.
"Then you don't have to make being Champion your goal." she suggested, "After all, that was what Ruby did. You can go on your journey with a whole new goal in mind. I know I'm in it for the fun and adventure side and not so much the competition side of Pokémon battling. I want to meet as many different species as I can and make lots of new friends as I catch them. Being able to win battles will just be a happy bonus for me."
"Aww, that's nice." Emerald said sweetly, "I think I'll aim for something like that too, as well as showing Ruby that I can be a great trainer like her! It'll mean a lot to her to see us both following in her footsteps, don't you think?"
"You know Ruby, she'd still love us even if we didn't become trainers." Sapphire said softly, "Pokémon or no Pokémon, we're still her little sisters after all."
Emerald smiled in agreement.
"I'm going to go read some of Ruby's old books some more." she said, "Call me when it's time for tea, OK?"
"Will do." Sapphire said, "Here's hoping you can learn some more useful information from them in time for our journeys."
Emerald left the living room and climbed upstairs to her bedroom. All the books that Ruby owned about Pokémon and Pokémon battling had once been in Ruby's bedroom but Emerald had taken them and had kept them in her room since. Ruby wouldn't mind of course as she'd once told her sisters they could borrow all her books if they so choose, but she had insisted they don't mess with anything else in her room while she was away. The only person allowed to go in there all the time was their mother for whenever she had to clean it. Emerald flopped down onto her bed and picked up one of the books. This one was titled Pokémon: The Complete A-Z Guide. That was helpful to read for knowing as many species as she could identify would help in catching Pokémon and putting together the perfect teams. The green-coloured girl even made sure to memorize all the different types. She decided to test herself before reading the book again. Emerald closed her eyes.
"Pokémon types there are include Fire, Water, Grass, Ground, Rock, Electric…uh…Normal? Yeah, Normal. There's Fighting, Flying…um…what else…Psychic, Ghost, Dragon and…Ice. Also there's Bug and Poison and uh…um…"
Her mind went blank. What else was there? Had she memorized them all? She looked through the book to find a page that had all the different Pokémon types listed and frowned in annoyance.
"Bugger!" she cursed, "Steel, Dark and Fairy types! Forgot about them for a minute! Ugh, Ruby makes this look so easy! She's got a brain like a sponge, I swear!"
She closed the book again and tried again. This time, she was able to list all the types. She would try again another day to see if she would still remember them. Emerald opened the book again and read through as much of it as she could, starting from the letter A and working her way through the book. It amazed her to see just how many different species of Pokémon there were in the world. Even Galar with its wide variety of species wasn't home to all of them. There were species that could only be found in areas outside of mainland Galar like the Isle or Armour or the Crown Tundra. Emerald liked the idea of going to those places to catch any of the Pokémon that couldn't be found in mainland Galar but it wouldn't be possible without a pass for either location. Instead, it would be better to stick to the mainland and think about those places another time.
As Emerald read through Ruby's books again, trying to take in as much information as possible, she felt the excitement tingle in her stomach once again. How she couldn't wait to become a trainer! Why couldn't her birthday come now? She took a moment to pause from reading to glance out the window. She looked up at the sky, imagining Ruby was up there looking down at her. She smiled softly.
"I'll make you proud Ruby. Me and Sapph will become great trainers just as you have." Emerald promised.
She turned back to the book, this one a guide to Galar's Gym Leaders and how best to match up to them. In a month's time, the brunette girl would get a chance to see how she would fare up against said Gym Leaders, just as Ruby had done last year…
The twin's birthday came and so did their chance to become trainers at last.
Upon waking up, Emerald and Sapphire had been treated to a delicious birthday breakfast of pancakes with their choice of toppings, eggs and hot chocolate, all lovingly prepared by their mother, Annie Silverlock. She was the kind of mother that showed nothing but love to her children and couldn't help but be cheerful, even during the worst of times. After the two had eaten and gotten dressed, Annie gave them their presents. To their interest, both Emerald and Sapphire had received a couple of potions, a card full of money to spend and a new backpack each. They understood immediately what the presents were for.
"I now you two are keen to be trainers like your sister, so I thought these birthday presents would get you off to a good start." Annie explained, "I hope they're good enough for you."
"They're great mum!" Emerald said sweetly, "This backpack looks like it'll carry a lot and having a couple of potions to start off will help in keeping our Pokémon healthy until we have to buy more."
"Which we'll be able to with the money we got in our cards." Sapphire added, "You sure gave us a lot mum, as did cousin Gloria…" she said thoughtfully, looking back to the wodge of notes she had in her hand, "You sure this is alright?"
"I didn't mind sparing a tidy sum of money for Ruby last year so don't you worry, sweetheart." Annie said kindly, "And cousin Gloria insisted on donating as much as she did. She's as excited as you two that you're going to become Pokémon trainers today."
"That's nice of her." Emerald said brightly, "Though what do you mean about us becoming trainers "today"? We can't start today as we have no Pokémon!"
"Oooooh, just wait until Ruby gets here for the party tonight." Annie said with a wink, "I believe she'll have a surprise for you both."
That had the twins eagerly anticipating their sister's arrival. Given what their mum had hinted at, maybe the surprise was that Ruby would be bringing a Pokémon for them. They soon found out as come the evening, they had a couple of visitors join the Silverlock household for their birthday party. The first to arrive was their father, Michael Silverlock. He was a former trainer who had quit being one and had gone on to become a florist, working at a flower shop in Turffield just outside the local Gym. He had arrived riding on the back of Tiger the Arcanine, a Pokémon that Ruby had given to him as a gift after she'd become Champion. Work was done for the day so he was all too happy to see his twin daughters for their special day.
The next guests were the Dande family consisting of Hop, his brother Leon, the former Champion of Galar, and their mother, Judy Dande. The Dande family were neighbours to the Silverlocks and had been close friends with the family since they'd moved into Postwick Town years ago. Hop had gone on his own journey alongside Ruby last year and had been the last Gym Challenger to go out when he'd lost to Ruby in the second round of the semi-finals. He'd been wondering what to do with his life since then as he'd lost heart in trying to take up his brother's former title. Leon on the other hand had become the new owner of Rose Tower in Wyndon City and had refurbished it into the Battle Tower. The Battle Tower had become an instant success and Leon had enjoyed the amount of trainers that came in to have a go at its unique features.
"Happy Birthday Emerald and Sapphire!" Hop said cheerfully.
"Thanks Hop!" both twins said at the same time.
"So where's Ruby? She wouldn't want to miss her own sister's birthdays." Judy asked curiously.
"If I know our new champ, mum, I imagine she'll be on her way after a new victory." Leon said optimistically, "She'll be here."
"And I bet she'll make an entrance too!" Emerald cried excitedly.
"Yes, that girl can't just simply arrive and knock on the door like the rest of us." Michael joked.
Surely enough, Ruby did arrive shortly afterwards. Hop and Leon had just been handing out presents to the twins until they heard the sound of wings flapping in the distance. Everyone ran outside to see what it was. To everyone's excitement, it was the reigning champion herself. Ruby had flown over from Wyndon City on her beloved Noivern, Soundwave. He was Ruby's go-to mode of transport due to his great flying speed. He touched down gently and folded his wings as Ruby jumped off his back. She was barely back on the ground before Emerald and Sapphire tackled her, wrapping their arms around her tightly. Soundwave smirked. It never failed to amuse him that his trainer's sisters were always so quick to pounce on her.
"Hooray, you're back, and just in time for the party!" Emerald hollered.
"Ungh, yes Em, I am!" Ruby grunted, "I wouldn't miss my sister's birthdays for the world! Even if it meant cancelling any matches today, I'd have happily done so."
"No doubt." Sapphire chuckled.
"Anyway, Happy Birthday girls!" Ruby said jovially, "And it's going to be a VERY Happy Birthday indeed for your journeys start today!"
"Mum said you'd have a surprise for us." Sapphire noted, "And by that am I right to guess that…"
"…that you've got us a Pokémon?!" Emerald interrupted.
"What better present for my two favourite girls in the world?" Ruby said brightly, "Yes Emerald and Sapphire, my birthday present for you is a Pokémon of your own to choose!"
She whipped out three Pokéballs from her cape and tossed them into the air to release their occupants. Hop smiled, thinking back to when he and Ruby had been through this very same process back when they'd started their lives as trainers. Emerald and Sapphire watched, hardly able to contain themselves as the three starter Pokémon of the Galar region materialized into view before them.
It was no different from Ruby and Hop's first day as trainers. Like them, the twins were met with a choice between the Fire-type Scorbunny, the Grass-type Grookey and the Water-type Sobble. Scorbunny, as its name suggested, resembled a rabbit and had white fur with orange-tipped ears and feet. Grookey looked like a green-furred squirrel monkey that carried a stick in its hair and had orange coloured hands, feet and an orange coloured mouth. Sobble looked like a blue-coloured lizard of some kind with a yellow fin on its head and skinny limbs. The trio of Pokémon started to run around excitedly, showing the Silverlock and Dande families that they were clearly full of energy. It was cute to watch and Emerald and Sapphire awed at the sight of them. They knew that Scorbunny was cute having seen Bugs when he was still a Scorbunny back when Ruby started out but seeing Grookey and Sobble in person was even more special. They looked just as cute as Scorbunny did.
"OK guys, settle down and line up for me." Ruby called out politely.
The starter trio obeyed and they lined up for Emerald and Sapphire to have a good look at them. Ruby turned to her sisters.
"OK Em and Sapph, they're all yours. Feel free to pick the ones you'd like. Don't worry about the one neither of you choose, I'll keep hold of it until it can find its own trainer." she said.
"Oooooh, this is it! At long last, we're gonna have our own Pokémon!" Emerald squealed, her heart pounding for joy.
"I thought this day would never come." Sapphire said happily, "But here we are! Oh which one to pick? They all look so cute!"
The twins looked over the three Pokémon, giddy with excitement. Annie and Michael decided to take some pictures of the two, knowing that this was a moment to be treasured forever. Both parents had tears in their eyes as it sank in for them that now their only remaining children would soon be leaving for their own journeys. The house was going to be a much quieter placed without their daughters.
Emerald looked over Scorbunny, Grookey and Sobble with wide eyes of admiration. It was going to be hard to pick which one to have. They were ALL so cute! Why couldn't she just pick all three of them?! She ended up deciding against picking Scorbunny. As cute as it was, she didn't want to copy Ruby by picking the same starter she did. Emerald fancied carving her own identity with her own starter. In the end, she finally settled on someone. Her eyes swept over Grookey, the cute little monkey looking up at her with big, friendly eyes. It chattered to her.
"Aww, you're such a sweetie! I'll pick you!" Emerald said, reaching out to pick up Grookey.
Upon doing so, the Grookey quickly nuzzled against her chest and made happy chatters. Everyone awed at the tender scene. The fact it had so readily accepted Emerald was too precious for words. And then the Grookey suddenly began to speak.
"Thank you for picking me!" he said, speaking in a child-like voice that suited its cutesy appearance, "I've always wanted a trainer to be friends with and go on adventures with!"
"Aww, that's lovely! I'm glad I can be your friend." Emerald said sweetly, "You and me are going to be the bestest besties that ever bested anything!"
"I'd say that Pokémon suits you." Sapphire said supportively, "Heck, it even has your colours! A green Pokémon for the girl in green!"
"No joke Sapph, I literally predicted she'd pick Grookey because of that." Ruby chuckled.
"I didn't pick him just because he's green." Emerald insisted, "I would've picked him even if he was bright pink!"
"We know." Ruby said reassuringly, "So Sapph, who will you choose?"
"Since Emerald picked Grookey, I'll go with this one." the black girl said, picking up Sobble, "I don't want to copy you and go with Scorbunny so Sobble it'll be."
It seemed Sobble objected to this for as soon as Sapphire had picked it up, the lizard like Pokémon suddenly started bawling its eyes out. Its cries made everybody wince and cover their ears to block out the noise. Sapphire was the only one not to do this, trying her best to calm it down instead.
"Oh please don't do that!" she cried, "Ssshhh, ssshhh, it's OK. You don't need to cry. I promise I'll take good care of you. I won't hurt you."
Sobble stopped crying and looked up at Sapphire with nervous eyes.
"N-no m-miss. I-it's not th-that at all." he said, speaking in a voice that made him sound perpetually upset and worried all the time, "I'm j-just scared, is all. I-I've n-never been a trainer's P-Pokémon before. I d-don't know what it'll be like…"
Sapphire could see the Sobble's concerns. It must be nerve-racking for some Pokémon to be given to a trainer like this with no idea on what said trainer will be like. Sapphire cradled the Sobble gently as if he was her own baby.
"You don't have to be scared, mate." she cooed softly, "I'll take very good care of you and be the best trainer I can. You'll see that it's nothing to be worried about."
"W-well, O-OK…if you s-say so." Sobble said, appreciating the blue-haired girl's kind gesture.
"Well I'll be. I think you're already going to make a great trainer." Leon said with a smile, "Most trainers that pick a Sobble want to get rid of it the moment it starts crying, but not you! I see a kind heart runs in the family."
"Thanks Leon." Sapphire said brightly, "And yeah, if there's anything we Silverlocks share, it's a kind heart."
"It's why we're all qualified to be trainers." Ruby agreed, "So little Scorbunny, I'm afraid your turn has to come later. Don't worry, I'm sure Bugs will be happy to have a playmate until next time."
The Scorbunny smiled hopefully. Ruby returned it to its ball and put it back into her cape.
"So girls, what are you going to call your new Pokémon?" Ruby asked, "I mean you don't have to, of course, I just thought I'd ask."
"I know nicknames are your thing, but I wanna nickname my Pokémon too as it'll be fun to give them names!" Emerald piped, "And I know just what to call you, little guy."
She stroked Grookey's head affectionately.
"My favourite movie of all time is Disney's Tarzan and since your kind evolves into a gorilla-like Pokémon, I'll name you after one of the gorillas in the movie." Emerald explained, "Let's see…how about I call you Kerchak?" she asked.
"I'd have just called him Tarzan myself." Ruby joked.
"I like that name!" Kerchak said happily, "Kerchak sounds like a cool name! I'll take it!"
"Awesome!" the green-coloured twin cried happily.
"As for you, I know it's a really bad pun but sometimes puns for names can really work." Sapphire said, looking down at Sobble as she cradled him in her arms, "From what I've read, your final form is known as the "Secret Agent" Pokémon…and it even looks like one…so how about I call you James Pond?" she suggested.
Ruby and Emerald snickered.
"You're not serious, Sapph!" Ruby chuckled.
"What, you think "Bubble-07" would sound any less corny?" Sapphire retorted, "What do you think little guy?" she asked, looking at Sobble.
"I honestly th-think it s-sounds k-kinda cool." James Pond said gloomily, "I'll be h-happy with that name i-if you are."
"So James Pond you shall be." Sapphire said happily, "And I won't have you two making fun of him for it." she added, glowering at her sisters.
"No, of course not. If he's happy with that name, we won't judge." Ruby said kindly.
"Yeah, and it's fitting for the reasons you said so why not?" Emerald added, "Oh Sapph…can you believe it?" she said, her face a broad smile of glee, "We have our very own Pokémon at last!"
"I know!" Sapphire cried, "Oh Ruby, this is the best present you could've given any of us! Thank you so much!"
"You're more than welcome, girls." Ruby said, hugging her sisters happily, "I know you'll take great care of them and raise them well."
"We will, we will!" Emerald insisted, "Now, who wants cake?" she asked.
It was dusk by the time the party had finished. The rest of the day had been spent sharing birthday cake and playing games together, along with the twins spending some time with their new Pokémon to further get to know them. Now Emerald and Sapphire were ready to take their first day as Pokémon trainers to the next level. They were ready to have their first Pokémon battle together. What better way to end their birthday than to have a battle with each other? Ruby couldn't agree more, eager to watch the two in action and see how they did. She'd been longing to see this moment ever since she herself had become a trainer last year so she was just as excited as her sisters were. Hop and Leon knew the best place to have their first battle was at their house so they invited the whole Silverlock family over to theirs to use their training area to have their battle. Both Hop and Ruby couldn't help but think back to when they'd started their journeys together. Their first battle together had been right here in this training area right outside the Dande family house in which Ruby had beaten Hop's Wooloo and Grookey with just Bugs back when he was a Scorbunny. Now Emerald and Sapphire would get their time to shine here too.
Emerald and Sapphire took their positions, standing opposite each other on the marked arena on the ground and waiting for the signal to start. Ruby took up the position of referee while also setting up her Rotom phone to hover around the arena and film the battle. No way was she going to watch this fight without filming it! Annie and Michael held each other's hands as they waited for the battle to begin. What an amazing feeling it was to think that all three of their daughters were Pokémon trainers now with one as the reigning champion and the other two following in her footsteps! Emerald couldn't help but feel a little nervous. Maybe it was down to the fact that there was a crowd and it was feeling tenser with Ruby, her parents and her neighbours watching her and Sapphire. This was her chance to set a good first impression! What if she slipped up? Would Ruby take Kerchak away if she felt she wasn't ready for this? It made her feel wobbly just thinking about it. Sapphire on the other hand looked pretty chill as if there was nothing to worry about. Out of the three, she was usually the one to keep herself in check the most despite her own tendency to get excitable at times.
"Remember girls, this is your first Pokémon battle together so don't get too carried away." Ruby insisted, "Also your Pokémon won't know a lot of moves at their current stage so don't expect this battle to be too flashy. Just have fun and don't worry if you don't win. This is your first battle so anything can happen."
"Got it." Sapphire said casually.
"Sure, anything can happen." Emerald said meekly, trying to keep herself in check.
She turned to Kerchak, the little Grookey looking more excited and ready for this match than she was.
"You ready for this, Kerchak?" the green-coloured girl asked.
"More than anything!" Kerchak chirped, "I've always wanted to take part in a real Pokémon battle!"
"Then let's make it a good one, OK?" Emerald said, feeling a little more confident seeing her partner was ready.
Kerchak leapt off her shoulder and took his position in the arena. Sapphire gestured to James Pond to do the same but he stayed on her shoulder, still unsure about the whole thing.
"Ooooh, I dunno if I can do this, ma'am…" he mumbled worriedly.
"Come on mate, don't worry about it. You'll do fine, I know you will." Sapphire said reassuringly, "You never know if you don't try after all."
James Pond nodded. His trainer was right. If he didn't give it a go, he would never know if he could fight well. The chameleon like Pokémon climbed down Sapphire's arm and stood opposite Kerchak in the arena. The two starters stood still, waiting for their trainers to give the first order. For the moment, Emerald and Sapphire took out their Rotom phones to see what attacks their Pokémon could use. Leon had given them a Rotom phone each as a birthday present earlier today. Emerald had a pink coloured one while Sapphire had a purple coloured one. As Ruby had said, the two wouldn't know many attacks at their current levels. Kerchak's only attacking move was Scratch while James Pond only knew Pound. Both of them knew Growl, a status move that could lower the opponent's attack. Emerald was glad that this was the way as it wouldn't have been fair on Sapphire if Kerchak had a Grass attack already and thus could exploit James Pond's weakness to Grass types. This would be a more even match with neither one have a type-advantage for now.
"Whenever you're ready girls, let the battle begin!" Ruby declared, swiping her arm down to signify the start of a battle.
"I've already got my strategy worked out." Sapphire said coolly, "James Pond, use Growl!"
James Pond obeyed instantly, opening his mouth and letting out a surprisingly loud growling noise for what was a usually timid and meek Pokémon with a reputation for crying a lot. Kerchak winced as the noise cut into him. A blue flash swept down his body, signifying a drop in his Attack. Whenever he launched an attack now, it would do less damage than normal. Ruby put a finger to her lips with interest. So Sapphire was going with a less direct approach, very different from how she herself battled her opponents. She was going to be an interesting opponent to fight if she made it to the finals. Emerald could see Sapphire's strategy but she wasn't deterred.
"Our Attack may have been lowered, but we'll still win!" Emerald declared, "Use Scratch!"
Kerchak bounded towards his opponent and scratched James Pond across the face. The Water-type Pokémon winced in pain but he quickly shook it off. It would've hurt more if he hadn't used Growl to knock Kerchak's Attack down a peg. Sapphire quickly responded by ordering James Pond to use Pound. The reptilian Pokémon leapt into the air, showing its stick figure limbs had some surprising strength in them and he somersaulted towards his grassy opponent. His tail slammed down on Kerchak's head, the only way a Sobble could ever "pound" any opponent it faced. Kerchak cried out from the hit and clutched his head as James Pond took up his position on the opposite side of the arena. As James Pond's Attack hadn't been lowered, he had hurt him more than he had hurt James Pond with his Scratch attack.
Emerald was impressed. The blue-haired sister had chosen a good Pokémon and was already showing well that she knew how to utilize its move set. Going on this journey with Sapphire was going to make being a Pokémon trainer much more exciting than she thought! She was still confident that Kerchak could win so she ordered him to use Scratch again. Kerchak repeated his earlier move, scratching James Pond across the face once more. Unlike the first time, this attack actually managed to do a lot of damage despite the lowered Attack. James Pond was surprised to find himself staggering back from the attack and rubbing his face vigorously to ease the pain. Kerchak had managed to land a critical hit, something that made attacks more powerful in a Pokémon battle. Anyone could land these, but it was not guaranteed to happen all the time, making it unpredictable when anyone could land these. Everyone gasped, surprised that things didn't seem so open-and-shut now. Emerald squealed in excitement.
"That was great Kerchak! Well done!" she cried.