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Emerald Knights: A Pokémon Sword Story Chapter 7

Chapter 7: The Second Gym

The walk to Hulbury Town didn't take long.

After visiting their father for a second time to let him know how the Gym battle went, the twins set off immediately to make their way over to the seaport town to battle Nessa for the Water Badge. On their way, they walked through Route 5 and passed by the Pokémon Nursery. That was interesting for them for Ruby had told them this very nursery on this very route was where she'd been given Freddy the Toxel, who went on to become Freddy the Toxtricity and had become one of Ruby's most popular Pokémon.

"I'd laugh if we went in there and got our own singing Toxel too." Emerald joked, "If I got one that sang like Elvis, I'd faint from the awesomeness!"

"I'm good with my own singing Pokémon." Sapphire said casually, looking down at the Pokéball that contained Elsa the Snorunt, "I don't need a singing Toxel. Still, it's nice to see where Freddy came from."

"I only wish we were there to see Ruby's surprise when her started singing like Freddy Mercury." Emerald giggled.

The look on her sister's face must've been priceless beyond gold and silver. But while they were on Route 5, Emerald did end up getting a new Pokémon. As they walked away from the nursery, Emerald suddenly saw a rock nearby pick itself up off the ground and start moving on its own. She and her sister stared in amazement, watching the rock move and hover in mid-air. It was like watching some magic trick happen in front of their eyes. So who was the magician waving the wand in this case? Emerald turned her head and saw who was causing the rock to move. It was another Pokémon, and a very unusual looking one too.

This Pokémon was known as Dottler, a Bug/Psychic type Pokémon and the evolved form of Blipbug. It was an orange blob-like Pokémon surrounded by a huge, yellow geometric shaped shell with blue circles where the points of the triangular surfaces met. The circles were able to flash when Dottler used its psychic powers. On each side of its head were blue V-shaped feelers and had four blue feet. Dottler were capable of evolving into the Bug/Psychic type Pokémon Orbeetle, a small ladybird-like Pokémon that possessed great psychic powers and even had their own Gigantamax form. This Dottler was clearly honing its psychic powers for when it evolved, practicing by lifting up rocks as Emerald and Sapphire saw. It seemed to be doing very well for it wasn't showing any signs of struggling. The rock hovered before the Dottler, staying completely still as the bug-like Pokémon stared at it. Then the rock threw itself away, making the twins jump in surprise. The rock landed in a pond at the bottom of a nearby hill. The Dottler sighed with satisfaction.

"I'm getting better at this. I couldn't do that before!" it cried happily, speaking in a voice that sounded a lot like the cartoon superheroine Ladybug from Miraculous Ladybug.

"That was great work there!" Emerald applauded, "You made that rock move with just your mind and you sent if flying! Your psychic powers must be really great!"

The Dottler didn't realize that people were watching her and she jumped in surprise. She was so startled that she reared up and promptly fell over onto her back due to the weight of her shell pulling her over. Her little feet scrambled frantically as she tried to get back up.

"Gah! Help! I can't get back up!" the Dottler exclaimed frantically.

"Oh, sorry for startling you! Here, I'll help you up." Emerald said apologetically.

She ran over to the insectoid Pokémon and picked her up. She turned her over and put her back down onto her little feet. The Dottler beamed appreciatively.

"Thank you! I hate it when that happens." she muttered, "It's so embarrassing when I need someone to roll me back over again. At least when I evolve, this won't be a problem…"

She glared at her shell as if seeing it as the source of her life's problems and would love nothing more than to throw it off like a discarded jacket.

"Thanks again. I'll just be on my way now." the Dottler said, turning around to skitter away.

"No, wait a minute! Don't go." Emerald said quickly, "You want to evolve, right?"

"More than anything." the Dottler insisted, "When we Dottlers become Orbeetles, we don't have to deal with these big heavy shells of ours and our psychic powers reach their full potential. If I never evolve, I'll never reach my full power." she said solemnly.

Emerald knelt down and smiled sympathetically at the little Pokémon.

"Then I suggest you come with me." she offered kindly, "I'm a Pokémon trainer, and so is my sister," she glanced over to Sapphire, "So we can help you get stronger and become an Orbeetle. If you join us, you'll be able to evolve before you know it!"

"Some of the Pokémon we own have even evolved already." Sapphire added, "You'll evolve too once we train you up."

The Dottler's eyes twinkled with joy.

"You want to help me evolve?" she gasped, "Really?! Oh my…I don't know what to say…" she said, her voice trailing off as she looked to one side.

"You don't need to say anything." Emerald said softly, "So how about it? Do you want to join my Pokémon team?"

The Dottler scuttled over to the girl in green and nuzzled against her knee.

"Gladly if it means I can evolve." she said graciously, "I can't thank you enough for being so generous!"

"Aww, you're welcome!" Emerald said happily, "I'm glad to have you join us, Marinette!"

"Sorry, what's a "Marinette"?" the Dottler asked in confusion.

"Your new name." Emerald replied, "Your voice reminds me of a character from a show I used to watch so I thought it'd be fitting."

"Oh…that's weird." Marinette said, bewildered, "But I like that name. It sounds cute and sweet for someone like me. I'll take it."

"So Marinette it shall be." Emerald said brightly, "I look forward to helping you evolve."

"I just have to wonder how many Pokémon you think you need." Sapphire joked, "You have Kerchak, Flaps, Misty, Mei-Mei, Katana, Blue, Vixey, Gemstone, Steelclaw, Thor and now Marinette! You've got enough to make two teams here!"

"There's no such thing has having too many Pokémon." Emerald retorted, "Ruby has quite a sizeable roster herself and you didn't say anything about it then so why am I any different?"

"Alright, smart-arse, I was only kidding." Sapphire said defensively, "Still, I hope you can keep up with having so many Pokémon to look after."

"Having the box link helps with changing everyone out so everyone gets a turn at least." Emerald said brightly, "No one will be left out on my watch."

She gave Marinette her own Pokéball to go into and as she already had six Pokémon on her at the moment, she was instantly transported to Professor Magnolia to be looked after until Emerald needed her for anything. She was planning to bring her to Bea's Gym in Stow-on-Side as a Psychic-type would be very useful against her Fighting types. Now that was done, the twins continued on their way to Hulbury. But as they crossed the long bridge that carried them over a section of the Wild Area and to the next half of Route 5, they came across the grave of Ruby's deceased Gyarados, Ariel. The neat array of rocks was still standing from where Ruby had marked where she'd been buried. It was sad for the twins to think that under that pile of rocks lay what had once been a Gyarados, a part of Ruby's team and one of her first catches. Upon hearing how Ariel had died, Emerald and Sapphire had developed an intense hatred of Wobbuffets and had declared that if they ever saw one, they'd never catch it. The twins knelt down by the grave and lay the flowers their father had given them down by the rocks.

"Hi Ariel. You won't know us as you died before we could meet you." Emerald said softly, "We're Ruby's twin sisters and we're following on in the same path she walked to become Pokémon trainers like her."

"We promised Ruby we'd stop by and see you." Sapphire put in, "We wanted you to know that we're doing as well as your trainer did and that Ruby's also doing fine right now. I bet you were watching down from the heavens when she became the new Champion last year."

It was a lovely thought to think that the late Gyarados had been watching Ruby as she fought against Leon in Wyndon Stadium.

"She still wishes you could've been with her to be a part of that victory." Emerald said sadly, "I'm sure you know already, but she still misses you very much Ariel. I hope you're very happy…wherever you…"

Her words caught in her throat as her emotions started to overwhelm her. Sapphire pulled Emerald into a hug, allowing her sister to cry into her shoulder for the moment. Emerald had never been the best at handling death. Even if someone died in a movie, she often got tearful. It didn't matter that she'd never met Ariel, her death was still enough for her to get emotional. Hopefully neither of them would lose their Pokémon the way Ariel had died. A minute later, Emerald dried her eyes and lifted her head away from Sapphire's shoulder.

"S-sorry about that." she said with a sniffle.

"It's OK Em." Sapphire insisted, "I don't blame you for getting so upset about it. We may never have known Ariel, but it doesn't mean we can't be sad for her. Still, she wouldn't want us to waste time mourning her. Let's do her proud like Ruby did and carry on with our adventure."

"Y-yes, let's." Emerald agreed, "The next Gym is just through that tunnel."

She motioned over to a nearby tunnel that led to their next destination. With one last goodbye to Ariel's grave, the twins got back to their feet and walked on towards Hulbury.


Upon exiting the tunnel, the twins were instantly hit with a variety of different smells. As a seaside town, Hulbury was naturally surrounded by the scent of seawater and fish. The town even had a shop selling different kinds of herbs that also gave off their own scent. If Turffield smelt like living in a field all your life, then Hulbury smelt like living in the sea all your life. There were boats sailing out to sea or moored into the docks and lots of water-type Pokémon were swimming about in the nearby water. The twins even spotted a lighthouse and Hulbury Stadium, the two buildings making no effort to hide themselves amongst the rest of the town's architecture. Hulbury looked just as big as Turffield Stadium, only it was blue and it carried the symbol of the Water-type Gym instead of Grass-type. They also spotted the Captain's Table, Hulbury's most popular seafood restaurant and the very place Ruby had dined with the ex-Chairman Rose during her journey. They were still planning to eat there par their sister's suggestion once they'd finished in Hulbury Stadium. Emerald inhaled and exhaled, taking in the fresh sea air.

"Smells like being on the beach again!" she cried.

"I always wondered if Hulbury was as pretty as it looked in the tourist guidebooks." Sapphire said with admiration, "This place looks very nice to live in."

"Especially if you love water." Emerald added, "I can easily imagine many a Pokémon trainer just taking a dip in the sea with any Water-type Pokémon they have."

She and Sapphire spotted an Arrokuda swimming nearby, the small barracuda like Pokémon shooting off like a torpedo and disappearing under the water's surface. They remembered Ruby saying she'd fished up Spearhead the Barraskewda from the docks of this town. Emerald fancied trying her chances and seeing if she could fish anything up while she was here.

"Well, now we're here, let's get to that Gym and win that Water Badge!" Emerald said enthusiastically, "You ready Sapph?"

"Oh I'm ready!" Sapphire declared, "So ready to march into that Gym with all those beautiful girls…clad in their swimwear…and showing off their slender, fit bodies…" her voice grew more feeble as she went on, "And the Gym Leader herself with her dark skin…and dazzling eyes…and long, flowing hair…who is also clad in only a swimsuit…and showing off her gorgeous swimmer's build and…and…"

Sapphire only just realized that she'd been saying all this stuff out loud and blushed so brightly that Emerald swore she must have a red flashlight in her head. The poor girl looked as if she was about to faint, or at least have her head explode from blushing so hard!

"I GOTTA GO!" she shrieked, rushing off frantically and leaving Emerald alone to do whatever.

The brunette girl blinked several times as she tried to settle in what had just happened. Then she coughed to herself.

"Well…that happened." she said meekly, "I hope Sapph doesn't take too long to recover from that. Oh well, I'll see if I can fish up anything before I go into the Gym."

Emerald walked over to the docks and stood at the edge of the pier. The water looked crystal clear and as beautiful a blue as it could be. No wonder plenty of Pokémon were swimming around in it. Emerald slipped her backpack off her shoulders and took out the fishing rod she'd packed on the day she left home. Ruby had used this same fishing rod, but now Emerald had it as Ruby didn't have much use for a fishing rod anymore. Emerald cast out a line and waited to see if any Pokémon would bite. She noticed that there were other people fishing around the docks as well. Being a pretty little sea town, Hulbury was no doubt home to many fishermen who loved to fish for Pokémon. The sea breeze softly blew over her, playing with her hair. As energetic as she was by nature, the Postwick girl had to admit that something felt soothing about standing here and fishing for Pokémon. It almost felt like the world was taking a break from life and was just enjoying what it had to offer. Just feeling the cool breeze and hearing the gentle movement of the sea made Emerald feel closer to nature than ever before.

Just as she was starting to feel relaxed, Emerald felt something tug on the fishing rod. She yelped and pulled back as the rod nearly tore itself from her hands. Whoa, what had bitten onto her line to pull with such strength?! Emerald spun the reel as hard as she could to pull the line in. The rod bent under the weight of whatever had bitten onto the hook. Emerald grunted. Hopefully the thing that had caught onto her line wouldn't be strong enough to pull her off the pier and into the water! She gave one final tug and fell over onto her back as the Pokémon her line had snagged shot up out of the water. It landed on the pier just in front of her feet. Emerald sat up and saw what she'd caught.

The Pokémon she'd fished up was a Chinchou, a Water/Electric type Pokémon that had first been discovered in the Johto region. It had a round, blue body, stubby light blue pectoral fins, large yellow eyes with plus-shaped pupils and stubby little feet. A pair of antennae sprouted from its back where its tail would be and curved up and over its head. The antennae were tipped with large, yellow teardrop shaped orbs that could glow in the dark and discharge the electricity it carried. They often lived in the darkest of ocean floors but were capable of walking on land. Emerald's face brightened at the sight of the new Pokémon.

"Wow! A Chinchou!" she cried, "It's been a while since I've seen one! You'll come in handy for my Gym battle with Nessa, little guy."

The Chinchou didn't say anything. In fact, it didn't even seem aware of what had happened and that it was suddenly on land. It was staring into space, clearly lost in a world of its own. Emerald frowned quizzically.

"Um…hello? Did you hear me?" she asked, waving a hand.

The Chinchou shook itself and coughed in embarrassment.

"Oh, sorry! I have a habit of drifting off like that." it said, speaking in a male voice, "I'm a bit of a daydreamer. Sometimes, I just…float off in a sea of thoughts."

"That's OK. I often daydreamed when I was little." Emerald said casually, "So, would you like to be my Pokémon? I'm a trainer and I'm just about to challenge the next Gym."

"Oh you mean that blue haired chick in the big blue stadium over there?" the Chinchou asked, "I always see that building when I come to the surface. I sometimes see that girl standing by the lighthouse watching over the sea."

"That's Nessa alright." Emerald giggled, "She's a Water-type trainer by nature. She always watches out to sea. So, are you up for it or would you rather I put you back in the water?"

The Chinchou considered for a moment.

"I did always wonder it was like in that building…" he thought, "And I hear Pokémon battling can be fun…I don't see why not. I'll join you, ma'am."

"Thank you! I'm glad you want to!" Emerald said happily, picking up the Chinchou, "Now for your name. Hmm…"

She thought for a moment. She didn't want to give the Chinchou an obvious nickname like "Sparky" or something like that. She wanted to be more creative.

"Hmm, Chinchou and Lanturns live in the darkest parts of the ocean…what do they usually call those parts of the ocean again?" she pondered.

"I assume you're thinking of an abyss, right?" the Chinchou asked, "If so, I'll take that as a nickname as it's fitting for my species."

"Yes! Thank you! Just what I was thinking of!" Emerald cried excitedly, "I'll call you Abyss! I've always thought that was a cool word."

She got up to her feet and carried Abyss over to Hulbury Stadium.

"I hope you enjoy your first Pokémon battle." Emerald said softly, "Your Electric attacks will be helpful in this battle against Nessa."

Abyss just smiled. He was more looking forward to seeing the stadium in all its glory as he'd been fascinated by it and what went on in there. As for Emerald, she was feeling very confident in herself. She knew she could win this Gym battle. She had plenty of Pokémon that were strong against Water-type Pokémon! Nessa would be washed away when all was said and done…


Emerald had arrived at Hulbury Stadium and got signed up for the next Gym Battle with Nessa. Luckily for her, there weren't many Gym Challengers coming to the Gym today so she didn't have to wait. She was the next Gym Challenger to face Nessa so she could go and get changed into her uniform and make her way into the arena to face her. To her surprise, the challenger that she was coming after was none other than the Unovan Champion, Ashley Benson! After signing up for her Gym Challenge, the Galarian teen had just been about to go into the changing rooms when the doors opened up and Ashley strode out, clad in her usual clothes after changing out of her uniform. The way she left the changing rooms showed that she was coming high off of a recent victory and was very pleased with herself. The two girls nearly bumped into each other but Ashley saw Emerald just in time and stopped herself.

"Oh! Emerald! Sorry about that, I didn't know you were there!" Ashley exclaimed.

"It's alright, no harm done." Emerald said quickly, "I take it you just completed the Gym Challenge here?"

"Sure did." the Unova girl said, her voice full of pride, "That Nessa maybe a hottie, but her Water-types were no match for me. My Pignite's Grass Knot caught them all off-guard. Not even her Dynamaxed Drednaw could stop him!"

"Pignite?" Emerald asked curiously.

"Oh, that's the evolved form of Tepig." Ashley quickly explained, "I evolved him before I even got to the first Gym."

"That's great! I evolved my starter as well and I'm going to be using him in this Gym battle!" Emerald said excitedly, "My starter's a Grass-type so he'll have the advantage."

"Neat!" Ashley complimented, "I wish you luck in there, kiddo. Say, where's your sister?" she added, noticing a conspicuous lack of Sapphire with Emerald.

"She…needed a moment to herself." Emerald said, not wanting to delve into details, "She'll be here once she's done."

"Well I hope she doesn't start lagging behind. I'm hoping we can have another battle soon." the Champion said, "I like her, she was pretty cool from when we had that first fight."

Don't say that in front of her, you'd make her faint! Emerald thought to herself.

"She won't lag behind, trust me." she said out loud, "She clearly likes you too so she won't miss a chance to catch up to you."

"Yeah, she didn't exactly make it hard for me to see that back in the hotel." Ashley chuckled, "Well tell her I said hi, OK? I hope to see you and Sapphire very soon."

She patted Emerald on the shoulder and then set off to make her way out of Hulbury and to the next Gym. Emerald knew she would be going to the next Galar Mine first as that was the next location trainers travelled through before circling back out to Motostoke to challenge the Fire Gym. If she and Sapphire were quick, they would probably get to catch up with her in the mine and then her sister and the Unova Champion could have their rematch.

Sapphire eventually returned after needing a moment to herself. She came into the Gym and signed up for a battle with Nessa, which would happen an hour after Emerald had her battle. She took up a seat in the lobby and looked up at the TV screen, waiting for the battle to begin. But Emerald wasn't out in the arena yet. She'd just left the changing rooms and was about to make her way out until she spotted Sapphire sitting nearby. She ran over to her.

"Hey Sapph! Glad you could make it!" she cried, hugging her sister, "Do you feel better now?"

"Yes. I feel like I got that out of my system." Sapphire sighed, "Sorry about that, my thoughts just ran away with me back then."

"It's OK." Emerald said dismissively, "Oh, I ran into Ashley while I was here. She says hi and hopes you and her can have another battle soon." she added quickly.

Sapphire was surprised to hear that. Her eyes widened.

"She…does?" she gasped, "I didn't think she'd really care much for a nobody like me."

"Nonsense! She tells me that she likes you and thinks you're cool!" Emerald explained cheerfully, "You clearly not a nobody to her."

Sapphire blushed, amazed to hear that her crush actually thought that way about her.

"W-whoa…I…I really don't know what to say about that…" Sapphire mumbled, more to herself than anyone in particular.

"You don't need to say anything. Just be glad she likes you." Emerald said sweetly, "I'm going out to face Nessa now. Wish me luck, OK?"

"Em, you have a Grass-type and a bloody Raichu on your team. I don't think you need luck at this point." Sapphire snickered.

Emerald nodded. She supposed that her sister was right on that point. She went through the doors to make her way into the arena and take on the second Gym Leader.


The Gym Trainers provided no contest for the new Pokémon trainer and soon enough, she was walking out into the blue coloured arena of Hulbury Stadium. The crowd attending this match looked just as big as back in Turffield Stadium, except everyone here was cheering for Nessa instead of Milo. Emerald had a feeling that most of the boys in the audience were here just to get a good look at the Gym Leader. Outside of being a Gym Leader, Nessa was a successful model and was generally considered one of Galar's most beautiful women. Emerald herself didn't have any real interest in boys or girls but she definitely saw why Nessa was so popular as she really was very good looking. No wonder Sapphire was blushing over the thought of battling her!

The model was already in the centre of the arena, standing completely straight with her arms folded. Emerald stood opposite her on the marked area and faced her. With her bikini clad body proudly on show, Emerald felt like Nessa looked more like an Olympic swimmer than a Gym Leader. Maybe in her spare time, she liked to swim with her Pokémon to keep in shape. Nessa looked over Emerald with clear interest in her eyes.

"Hello there, little one." she welcomed, her silky voice like honey to Emerald's ears, "I remember you from the opening ceremony. You're one of Ruby's sisters, right?"

"That's me." Emerald acknowledged, "Me and Sapph just beat Milo's Gym a few hours ago. Neither of us had any trouble with him."

"I hope I can put up a better fight then." Nessa said with a smirk, "My Water Pokémon will wash away whatever competition I'm up against."

"I won't go down easily!" Emerald said daringly, "Let's give the audience a great battle, both of us!"

"With pleasure." Nessa said brightly, "I wonder if Ruby's skills have passed on to you."

The two took up their positions and waited for the signal to begin as the announcer introduced them to the audience.

"From Postwick Town, Emerald Silverlock." came the electronic introduction, "Her opponent: Gym Leader Nessa."

Both trainers were given a rousing applause from the audience. They were looking forward to seeing how this battle was going to go. Would the Champion's sister prevail, or would it be the marvellous model that triumphed in this battle?

"Pokémon Trainers: Standby." the announcer barked.

Emerald breathed in and out slowly to ease her nerves while Nessa looked completely cool and confident, clearly not bothered by the noise or even the size of the audience watching her today. Emerald imagined that for all the Gym Leaders, it was easy to be calm in spite of the pressure put on their shoulders as they faced a potential victory or defeat. How long had Nessa been doing this before the crowd no longer bothered her? She hoped she could feel this cool and collected in front of an audience sometime soon. Maybe as she went on, her confidence would build up.

"Three…two…one…BEGIN!" came the signal to go.

"Alright my beauties, let's get started!" Nessa declared, her calm demeanour replaced by a sudden surge of energy that showed she was ready for action, "Goldeen, wash her away!"

She lifted her leg up high as if about to throw a baseball and then threw the Dive Ball that carried her Goldeen. The white and red fish-like Pokémon materialized onto the field and waved its fins, ready for battle. Emerald eyed up the sharp horn on Goldeen nervously. It was a painful reminder that as beautiful as Goldeen looked, it was quite aggressive by nature and could use that horn to great effect. At least she wouldn't be on the other end of it.

"Abyss, let the fun begin!" Emerald cried, throwing her first Pokéball.

She felt it fitting to start off with her newest catch, especially as Abyss had a type-advantage. Abyss materialized onto the field opposite Goldeen, his antennae twitching with anticipation. Nessa stared with interest at the Chinchou her opponent had sent out. She'd seen plenty of those in the sea and had even swum with them before. It was an interesting change of pace to see another Water-type being brought into battle, even if this one was part-Electric. The audience leaned forward in their seats.

"Let's go Abyss! Use Electro Ball!" Emerald ordered.

Abyss didn't seem to have heard her. Instead, he was staring into space again. He was taking in his surroundings, now finally seeing what the inside of Hulbury Stadium looked like. Not only was it much bigger inside than he expected, but there was a lot of blue colouring everywhere from the floors to the walls. It was all so fascinating to him, so much so that he didn't even realize he was in the middle of a battle.

"So this is what it looks like inside. So big and pretty…" he murmured.

The audience giggled. Even Nessa had to try stifling a laugh over how spaced out Abyss looked at the moment. Emerald blushed with embarrassment.

"Abyss? Hello? You're in a Pokémon battle now!" she hissed desperately.

Abyss blinked and turned around, glancing apologetically at his trainer.

"Oh, I am? I'm so sorry! I drifted off again!" he muttered, "Damn it…I just can't help myself!"

"Never mind that now. Just use Electro Ball!" Emerald commanded.

Abyss acted instantly, pointing his antennae at Goldeen and conjuring up a huge ball of electricity between the glowing yellow tips. Then he fired the electrical sphere at Goldeen. Electro Ball was an attack that did more damage depending how much faster the user was than the opponent. Chinchou weren't that speedy compared to Goldeen so it wasn't the most powerful hit, but it still did the damage. Goldeen winced as it was hit by the attack. Goldeen shook itself, trying to fight off the stinging of the electric attack it had just been on the receiving end of.

"Use Horn Attack!" Nessa commanded.

Goldeen aimed its sharp horn at Abyss and rocketed forward. With the speed it was going at and its horn lowered and pointing straight ahead, Goldeen looked like a speeding bullet whizzing to its target. Abyss cried out as the Goldeen hit him, its horn jabbing viciously into his face. He was pushed back by the attack but he wasn't badly hurt. He shook himself off and narrowed his eyes. The tips of his antennae crackled with electricity. He'd show that Goldeen who was boss around here!

He was ready to attack again but Nessa was quicker on the draw. Goldeen shot forward and hit him with another Horn Attack. Emerald cringed. She didn't want to imagine what it was like to be hit with a Horn Attack from a Goldeen. Abyss grimaced from the jab of Goldeen's horn but he didn't go down. The Goldeen had barely even damaged him. Emerald ordered him to use another Electro Ball attack. Abyss aimed at Goldeen and fired, hitting it square on with the electrical sphere he conjured up. Goldeen wailed in pain as it was electrocuted. The attack was enough to finish the battle in Abyss's favour. Goldeen collapsed onto the floor, unable to fight any longer. Nessa couldn't even feel disappointed at that. It was never going to end in victory for her when her opponent had a type-advantage.

"Goldeen is unable to battle! Chinchou is the winner!" the announcer boomed.

"Ooh heck, I won my first ever Pokémon battle?" Abyss gasped in astonishment, "Blimey…I didn't think I had it in me!"

"Pokémon are amazing creatures, Abyss. They ALWAYS manage to pull off a surprise or too!" Emerald said cheerfully.

Nessa returned Goldeen to her Dive Ball and whipped out a second one.

"Let's see what you think of this one." she murmured, "Arrokuda, wash her away!"

She threw the Dive Ball and out came her next Pokémon. Arrokuda floated above the floor, staring at Emerald with its dopy eyes and goofy grin. Emerald returned Abyss to his Pokéball, deciding instead to use a more powerful Pokémon to make this an easy win.

"This one's all yours, mate." she declared, "Thor, let the fun begin!"

Nessa watched dishearteningly as Thor the Raichu materialized onto the field. Her battle was over before she could even call out a move! What chance did she have against a bleeding Raichu?! Pikachu were already powerful but Raichu were even more so! She was tempted to call it quits now but that wouldn't do well for her position as a Gym Leader. What Gym Leader would she be if she just forfeited? Thor flexed his stubby little arms and waved his tail around excitedly.

"Yes, just what I've been waiting for!" he cried, "Time to see what my new body can really do!"

"You bet, Thor!" Emerald agreed, "Use Thunderbolt!"

"Arrokuda, use Aqua Jet!" Nessa ordered.

It was a hopeless mission, but Nessa knew that every attack counted. Doing at least a little damage to Thor would hopefully soften him up a bit for her personal ace to finish off. Arrokuda shot towards Thor in a tornado of water. Aqua Jet was a move that always hit first so despite Thor's greater speed, his opponent landed the first hit. Arrokuda slammed into Thor as if it was a torpedo being launched at an enemy submarine. Thor grunted but took the hit with little effort. It would take more than that for an Arrokuda to do any meaningful damage to him! After his opponent had landed the hit, Thor grabbed his tail and swung the lightning bolt tip around. To any Marvel fans, it was like watching his namesake spin Mjolnir around like in the movies. Then Thor pointed his tail at the Arrokuda and zapped it with a terrific jolt of electricity that felt as if it was being obliterated by the thunderbolts of Zeus himself. Thor was amazed. He'd never felt THIS powerful when he'd been a Pikachu! The Arrokuda collapsed onto the floor, steam drifting up from its body after the sizzling electrical attack. Thor raised his arms triumphantly.

"Ha, ha! Yes! The power of Thor truly resonates within me!" he crowed.

"Arrokuda is unable to battle! Raichu is the winner!" the announcer boomed.

The crowd murmured in amazement. It seemed that much like Ruby last year, this was going to be a very one-sided battle. Strong Pokémon and skilled training clearly ran in the family! Nessa returned Arrokuda to its Dive Ball.

"You're doing better than even your sister did." she praised, "I think you can give her some stiff competition if you reach her."

"Oh I don't think I'm at her level just yet…" Emerald said modestly.

"I still think you're a promising newcomer like she was." Nessa insisted, "But the battle's not over yet. It's time for my darling ace to turn the tide of the battle for me! Drednaw, wash her away!"

She threw her last Dive Ball and summoned forth her strongest Pokémon, the mighty Drednaw. Emerald knew perfectly well about this Pokémon. After all, Ruby had one of her own which she'd nicknamed "Chomps". It was a tortoise-like Pokémon with a hard, bulky shell and huge, strong jaws that delivered powerful bites. They were also Water/Rock type Pokémon. Emerald knew just the Pokémon to handle Drednaw. She knew Thor would be strong enough, but she returned him anyway. She'd promised Kerchak he could finish the fight so she brought him out next. Kerchak materialized onto the field, holding his sticks in his hands and twirling them around eagerly. He'd been very excited to have his first Gym Battle and couldn't wait to get started.

"A Drednaw? That's a powerful Pokémon." he acknowledged, "I won't let you down, Emerald!"

"I know you won't!" Emerald cried supportively, "Now get ready to Dynamax!"

She returned Kerchak to his Pokéball and held out her hand. Her Dynamax band activated and Dynamax energy swirled around her wrist. Nessa copied her, Dynamax energy surrounding Drednaw's Dive Ball at the same time it surrounded Kerchak's Pokéball. The two trainers watched their Pokéball grow in size as the Dynamax energy took effect. Once they'd finished growing, they threw the Pokéballs. What followed were both Kerchak and Drednaw growing to giant sizes simultaneously. Kerchak towered over Emerald and Drednaw now looked big enough to carry a cruise ship on its back. The giant monkey and tortoise like Pokémon stared each other down, both of them glowing with a pinkish red aura from the Dynamax energy that had caused them to grow. The audience screamed with excitement. As always, Dynamaxed Pokémon just seemed to make everything much more intense and exciting to watch.

"I never knew Dynamax would feel so amazing!" Kerchak boomed in his amplified voice, "I'm as big as King Kong now!"

"You'll look like him when you become a Rillaboom." Emerald giggled, "Let's make this quick and easy with Max Overgrowth!"

Kerchak pointed his sticks at Drednaw as if about to perform a magic trick with a pair of wands. He conjured up a bunch of green energy constructs resembling giant seeds and he fired them at the Drednaw. The seeds hit Drednaw and instantly grew into giant mushrooms and blades of grass. The giant foliage sapped away Drednaw's strength as if they were giant sponges soaking up water. Drednaw let out a huge, guttural cry of pain from the attack. As it was a Water/Rock type, it had a double weakness to Grass attacks and as a result, couldn't withstand the hit. The Dynamax energy in Drednaw depleted and it returned to its normal size. It collapsed onto its stomach, unable to get up again after that onslaught. Kerchak returned to his normal size too, beating his chest and screeching with triumph. He'd loved being Dynamaxed but he loved the fact he'd won his first ever Gym battle even more.

"That was fantastic Kerchak! Well done!" Emerald cried, running into the arena centre so she could hug him.

She wrapped her arms around him and spun him around with joy, Kerchak laughing along with her. Nessa just returned Drednaw to its Pokéball, smiling sadly at it.

"Oh well, we tried. Maybe next time, old friend…" she sighed.

"Drednaw is unable to battle! Thwackey is the winner!" the announcer declared, "The winner of the Hulbury Gym Challenge is Emerald Silverlock from Postwick Town and she progresses to the next Gym!"

The audience exploded with applause at Emerald's easy victory. They hadn't expected that one of Ruby's sisters would set such a good first impression by winning not one, but two Gyms effortlessly in one go! So far, it seemed like history was repeating itself. Ruby might have to watch out at this rate! Emerald returned Kerchak to her Pokéball and met up with Nessa in the centre of the arena. The two shook hands with one another.

"What can I say other than I'm all washed up?" Nessa said with a chuckle, "Not even Ruby could defeat my Drednaw in a single hit! I hope you'll continue to go far, Emerald."

"Thank you!" Emerald said graciously, "I hope I can too! Though I must stress I'm not in this to surpass my sister." she added, "I'm just in it for the fun and adventure! If I become the next Champion, that'll just be a happy bonus, I guess."

"It's always nice when a trainer's in it for fun more than competition." Nessa said brightly, "So am I right to expect that your other sister will be challenging me at some point?"

She remembered that Ruby had two sisters and that both of them had been at the opening ceremony.

"Oh yes. Sapphire's even your next opponent!" Emerald chirped, "I hope she gives you a good battle too."

"I look forward to it." Nessa said brightly, "As for you, you've more than earned this today. Many congratulations for that battle."

She handed Emerald her Water Badge. Emerald took it and looked at it admiringly. Two badges already won! She hadn't thought she'd be progressing so quickly through this challenge. She left the arena to meet up with Sapphire and spend a moment with her before her battle came next. At the same time, her mind wandered over to her elder sister. She wondered how Ruby was doing at the moment and if she was finished with her appearance on the next Pokécast episode yet…


As of now, Ruby Silverlock and Professor Sonia were in the recording studio with The Pokécast host herself, Penny Chalmers. The recording studio was known as "4Kids Records" and was the largest recording studio in Wyndon City. Penny recorded every episode of The Pokécast in this studio, often joking it was like a second home to her with how much time she spent in it. She had a huge microphone in front of her and Ruby and Sonia had their own microphone set up in front of them on the opposite end of the table. All the settings were perfect so there were no feedback issues with the microphones.

Penny Chalmers was a former Pokémon trainer who had been born in the Johto region. She had won all eight badges in her region and challenged Champion Lance for the title. She had lost and although she battled occasionally, Pokémon training was only part-time for her now. Running The Pokécast was her full-time job and she loved recording every new episode that she made. Talking to her guests and interviewing them, sharing Pokémon related facts and news and just getting to host a podcast where fans could just have a good time made her feel very good about herself and that she was a ray of light to brighten up people's days. Occasionally, she returned home to Johto to see her family but she mostly lived in Galar now, recording her weekly podcast episodes in the 4Kids Records studio.

Penny was 15 years old and dressed in a black top under a quarter-sleeved dark red sweater with a light beige collar, denim jean overalls, a yellow handbag, white and black thigh-length socks, and red shoes with white soles. Her brown hair was done up in twin pigtails and her eyes were a matching colour. She always wore a white rounded hat with a red ribbon around it, even when she was indoors like she was now.

Ruby and Sonia had arrived in the studio just minutes ago and had gotten a chance to say hi to Penny. She'd recorded the first half of the new episode, which involved her sharing the latest news and revealing the results of today's Gym Challenge battles. She was very excited to have the Champion of Galar and Galar's newly promoted professor as her guests today. She hit the record button to start the interview.

"And now Pokécasters, it's time to welcome this week's special guest…or should I say special GUESTS as I have two of them here today." Penny said, her enthusiasm unmistakeable as her microphone recorded her every word.

Despite living in Galar for a couple of years now, Penny still spoke with a Johto accent.

"I'd like for you listeners to give a warm welcome to the reigning Galarian Champion herself, Ruby Silverlock, and the author of the best-selling book Galarian History: The True Heroes of Galar, Professor Sonia Cox." Penny continued.

"Hello." Ruby said casually, knowing that it was only her, Sonia and Penny here and no actual audience so she could keep it casual.

"Greetings everyone!" Sonia cooed cheerfully.

"Can I just say it's an absolute pleasure to interview you both today?" Penny said gleefully, "I'm honestly tingling with nerves right now! This is such an honour!"

"Pleasure's all mine." Ruby said politely, "I'm glad I could be here today on your podcast. My sisters and I have been big fans of its since you created it."