Updated: Feb 8
Chapter 1: Champion Visit
Today was going to see the birth of two new Pokémon trainers. Nobody could've suspected that said trainers would be coming from the quaint little town of Postwick. Whenever people thought of Pokémon trainers starting off on their grand adventures to become Pokémon Masters, so few would picture them with such humble origins.
Postwick was a quiet little town with cosy cottages to live in and Pokémon roaming freely around the town. Butterfree would fly by to enjoy whatever tasty berries house owners would leave in the gardens for them and Wooloo would roam by and nibble on the grass, as well as anything else they could get their teeth into. There weren't many people living in Postwick, but the residents liked it that way. Life was peaceful there, even with Pokémon roaming wild and lurking in the tall grasses for trainers to catch.
In one little cottage sat three young girls that were all sitting on the sofa together, watching Champion Leon's exhibition battle with Raihan. A Munchlax, which belonged to their mother, sat snoozing contently on the carpet as they watched. The three girls were all sisters and came from a mixed race family. Two of the sisters were white and the third was black. One was the eldest while the other two were twins, though they hardly looked it with their differing skin and eye colours. They also dressed mostly in a single colour. The eldest of the three was wearing a red t-shirt and red gloves accompanied by a black leather jacket and matching trousers and black boots. The middle child dressed in a green cardigan, black trousers with a green stripe down the legs, green gloves and a green tam o' shanter hat. The third dressed in a navy blue hoodie, blue jeans and had even dyed her hair blue to match. Funnily enough, the sister dressed in green was the only one who had a natural hair colour, brown, for the eldest sister had the most striking feature of all. Her's was a shiny silver colour that made her look unusual to anyone who met her. Nobody knew why her hair was silver, her mother had said she was just born that way. She didn't really believe this but had come to accept it over time for what other reason could there be?
The eldest of the sisters was holding a Rotom phone, something she'd received from her mother as a birthday present last week. She used it to call her neighbour and watch Pokémon matches on it as well as on the TV in her living room. She was very excited about today for now she had become of age, she would be allowed to leave her cosy little home and start her Pokémon journey. She was waiting for her neighbour to come for he would be accompanying her. Her sisters would have to wait until next year for they were only 12 years old and 13 was the official age you were allowed to become a Pokémon trainer. They still shared their joy over the fact their older sister was going to start her journey soon.
"I bet you'll be strong enough to defeat Champion Leon himself!" cried the sister in green.
"Let's not count our Torchics before they hatch Emerald, I think I've got a LOOOONG way to go before I can even think about challenging the champion!" the elder sister exclaimed.
"But you've been a major Pokémon enthusiast since the day we were born!" the blue-haired sister noted, "You'll know everything there is to know about raising a Pokémon and becoming a powerful trainer Ruby, I know you will."
"Thank you Sapphire, but I'd prefer not overselling myself." Ruby said with a modest smile, "As mum likes to say, if you don't sell yourself too high, you'll be less disappointed if things don't work out. I'd like to think I'm just an ordinary trainer who's going to slowly and steadily become big over time."
"Well whatever happens Ruby, you'll always have our backs…and our fronts, and whatever else you need from us for that matter." Emerald quipped, "I really wish we could be trainers too and go travelling through Galar with you."
Her face fell as she sadly had to acknowledge that Ruby had to go through this alone. Ruby just smiled and patted her sister on the shoulder.
"Don't worry, you've only got one more year and we can all be trainers." she said reassuringly, "Who knows, maybe if I become the new champion, you two could challenge me for the title."
"I'd laugh if we beat you." Sapphire joked.
The trio turned back to the fight that was playing on Ruby's phone and let out a cry of excitement as they watched Leon's Charizard Dynamax and let fly a terrific fiery attack at Raihan's Duraludon. The Munchlax woke up with a start, surprised to hear the noise and looked around wildly. Upon seeing it was only its owners daughters enjoying themselves, it went back to sleep. But Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire didn't get to watch much else for there was a knock at the door.
"Hello, hello!" called a familiar voice.
"Wow, it's Hop!" Emerald exclaimed, "That means it's time!"
"I knew he'd waste no time getting here." Ruby said, putting her Rotom phone away and raising from the sofa.
The three girls scampered over to the door to let their neighbour in. Standing in the door way was a young boy with purple hair and the same dark skin colour and golden eyes that Leon had. He wore a blue jacket with a furry collar and fur trimmed cuffs. He had his sleeves rolled up. He also wore black trousers with a purple stripe down the legs and sneakers with matching colours. Upon seeing him, the girls welcomed him in.
"Morning Hop." Sapphire said brightly.
"Hey girls, I just came by to pick Ruby up so our Pokémon journeys can begin!" Hop replied, smiling cheerfully at his neighbours.
"I'm ready when you are." Ruby said, stepping forward, "I almost can't believe that my dream's about to come true. I'm gonna become a Pokémon trainer! I bet you're buzzing with excitement too!"
"I've practically got Butterfree in my stomach!" Hop replied gleefully, "Come on, let's get going! My brother's gonna be here any minute now, and he'll be bringing us the Pokémon we'll be starting with!"
"Don't you have a Wooloo already?" Ruby remarked, "I'd say that's technically your starter."
"Well in my case, Wooloo will get a partner." Hop said quickly, "Come on, enough chin-wagging already, let's go!"
"Oy, at least let our big sister bid us goodbye Hop!" Emerald said indignantly, folding her arms and playfully pouting.
Hop chuckled sheepishly.
"Right, sorry. I'm such a bugger for running off and all." he said, "I'll wait for you outside Ruby."
He went back outside the house so Ruby could say goodbye to her sisters. Once he'd gone, Ruby turned to Emerald and Sapphire and embraced them. They hugged her back, determined not to let go for a while. This could well be the last time they'd see each other for a long time so they wanted to make the moment last.
"I'm gonna miss you both so much…" Ruby said softly, "But I'll remember to call you and mum every day and let you know how everything's going. I promise you both that I'll be fine out there."
"We know you will." Emerald said, trying her best not to cry, "We all agree that you will be an incredible trainer. Just…just be careful out there!"
"When you get your starter, you'll come straight back so you can show us, won't you?" Sapphire asked.
"Of course. I'd never set off without letting you meet my first Pokémon before I go!" Ruby said cheerfully, "Well, I'd best not keep Hop waiting any longer. A guy with the patience of an enraged Mankey doesn't like to wait."
But before she could leave, somebody else came into the room carrying a large brown bag for Ruby to take with her on her journey. It was her mother. She was a pretty young woman with glasses and brown hair tied into a ponytail that draped over her left shoulder. She dressed in overalls and white boots with flower patterns on them as if she was going to do some gardening. Ruby mentally face-palmed. Had she seriously been about to just run off without saying goodbye to her own mother?! She took the bag from her mother and slipped it on her back.
"Thanks mum. I'll need that for all the stuff I'll need for my training." the silver-haired girl said.
"I honestly couldn't be prouder of you Ruby." her mum said approvingly, "My little girl, all grown up and ready to become a Pokémon trainer! Oh it reminds me of when I met your father. He could talk for hours about his past life as a trainer!"
"It's a pity he retired and decided to be a florist." Emerald said glumly.
"Pokémon training isn't for everyone dear, but I know that your sister will follow on in his footsteps." Mum said fondly, "Your father and I both agreed she'd want to become a trainer by the time she was 13. Glad to say we were both right…"
She then turned to Ruby and gave her a warm, loving hug that she knew was going to be the last one for a while.
"You have an amazing time Ruby." Mum said softly, "I bet you'll catch many Pokémon and become an incredible trainer. I just want you to be careful out there. It's exciting I know, but it's also dangerous. Not all Pokémon are friendly and they can do serious harm if you're not careful."
"I know. I'll be careful mum." Ruby said reassuringly, "I'll call you and my sisters every day and update you on my journey. Goodbye mum. I love you."
Her mum kissed her goodbye on the cheek and released her from the hug so she could finally set off. Ruby waved to her mum and sisters one last time before looking on ahead to where Hop had got to. The leather-clad teen was determined to put her knowledge to the test and see how much she truly knew about Pokémon. As a child, she would regularly watch the Pokémon Championships on TV and had naturally been enraptured by the incredible sight of people all over Galar competing and challenging Leon for the champion title. She had devoted much of her childhood to studying Pokémon battling and had read many books detailing facts and information about Pokémon from the many species that were indigenous to Galar to the various types they had. It was all so fascinating to think a sport involving fantastical creatures battling each other had so much more to it than strength and power. Now she would be a trainer herself, Ruby would see if all that studying would pay off.
She saw Hop just at the bottom of the steps leading to her house, waving to her. He chuckled upon seeing the bag she was carrying.
"Ha, ha, look at you Ruby! That old bag looks like it could pull you over!" he joked.
"All the better to carry as many Pokéballs and potions as I can buy." Ruby retorted, "So where are we meeting Leon? Is he back at your house?"
"Not yet. He texted me earlier to say he'll be arriving at Wedgehurst Station shortly. We'll meet him there." Hop answered.
Then he and Ruby noticed something very odd. There was a loud thumping sound coming from nearby and to their surprise and confusion, it was a single Wooloo tackling a gate. Wooloo were Normal type Pokémon that resembled sheep, and like ordinary sheep they weren't terribly bright. The single Wooloo kept rolling into the gate over and over as if determined to break through it. Ruby giggled whereas Hop looked puzzled.
"A Wooloo…but what's it doing here?" he murmured as it tackled the gate again, "Hey you silly Wooloo, don't go using Tackle on that gate!"
"You don't want to go in there! The Slumbering Weald has some scary Pokémon living there!" Ruby shouted.
But the dim Wooloo took no notice and continued to tackle the gate. Ruby shook her head and sighed.
"Is your Wooloo as dim as this one?" she asked.
"Absolutely not!" Hop cried, "I trained it well. Not all Wooloo are dopey like that one!"
"Well I sure hope it gets tired of hurting itself like that and stops or else it'll be in trouble." Ruby muttered, "Let's leave it alone before we miss Leon."
"I'll race you to the station! Bet you can't get there before me!" the purple haired boy dared.
Both he and Ruby raced away from Ruby's house to get to Wedgehurst Station. As they ran off, the Wooloo shook its head and bleated in annoyance, unable to understand why it couldn't get past the gate. It decided to keep trying for it would get through eventually…
Minutes later, Ruby and Hop reached Wedgehurst Station, a local train station in the town of Wedgehurst. The station wasn't far from where they lived so a brisk run had been enough for them to get there in due time. The silver-haired teen had won the race, finishing just ahead of Hop. He was stuck gasping for breath whereas Ruby barely looked tired at all. If anything, she looked as if she could run another mile, only panting slightly.
"Wow, you run like a Rapidash!" Hop gasped.
"My sisters and I went for plenty of walks when I was younger." Ruby explained, "We were always running about and having races. I guess I'm a natural born runner."
The two children's attention was then caught by the sight of a crowd gathering around Wedgehurst Station. They ran up to join the crowd and see what was happening. It was inevitable to them both what the fuss was about and they didn't need to see or hear who had arrived to find out. A train had come into the station in the time it had taken them to run there and one of the passengers had departed. He stood in front of the station, his trademark Charizard beside him as if to further advertise who it was that had decided to grace this humble town with his presence. It was Leon of course and he struck his famous Charizard pose to whip up the crowd. The townspeople joined in, cheering for him and mimicking his pose. Pleased with the happy greeting, Leon spoke to them.
"Hello, hello, Wedgehurst! Your champion, Leon, is back!" he said enthusiastically.
Hop and Ruby pushed through the crowd to get a closer look. Ruby could feel her stomach doing corkscrews with anticipation. She was about to meet THE champion of Galar! Leon was always away training and battling so she'd never had the chance to meet him until now. The soon-to-be trainer could hardly wait.
"I promise I'll keep doing my best to deliver the greatest battles for you all to watch!" Leon continued, "I hope you'll all carry on training up your Pokémon and never shy from a battle. Then come challenge me for the Champion title!"
"Get out of it! That Charizard of yours is too strong for any of us to fight!" yelled one of the townspeople.
"And that goes for the rest of your team!" cried another, "I'll never forget the time you single-handily thrashed one challenger with just a Rhyperior! What hope do any of us have?"
It was clear to Ruby that Leon had done much to earn his fearsome reputation. This single crowd was already shuddering at the mere thought of taking him on! It made her feel a little nervous about doing the same. Would she ever be in his league? Would she even come close? She heard Leon give his reply, his tone modest and gentle as if to reassure the crowd they had nothing to fear.
"Too true that Charizard is blazingly strong, as well as many others I've trained." he said, "But other Pokémon can be strong as well, as can any one of you! That's why I want the strongest of challengers to fill the Gym Challenge and come battle me! My wish is for Galar's Trainers to work together to become the strongest in all the world!"
His Charizard roared as if concurring with his master. That confidence boost seemed to settle the audience for they cheered for their champion. Just hearing their undefeated champion say that anyone could be strong could boost anyone's morale. Hop finally managed to push his way through so he could get his brother's attention. He waved to him frantically.
"Lee!" he cried out.
The caped Pokémon master turned and spotted him immediately. His face broke into a broad grin of delight.
"Hop!" he said cheerfully, striding over to him.
Ruby fought hard to keep herself from going crazy with excitement. Not only was she actually looking at Galar's champion, she was now up close to him as he came to Hop! She never thought she'd ever get this close to him. Leon didn't notice Ruby at first as he was focused on his little brother. He patted his shoulders in greeting.
"I knew my number one fan in the world would be here to witness my arrival." the champion said, "Look at you Hop! I reckon you've grown…exactly an inch and a quarter since the last time I saw you!"
That stunned Ruby. Who knew Pokémon Master was so meticulous that he could notice something like that upon first glance? Hop was clearly amused at Leon's observation skills.
"Bingo! That's the sort of sharp eye that's kept you undefeated so long, eh Lee?" he chortled.
"Right you are little brother." Leon concurred.
He then noticed Ruby looking up at him, her red eyes wide with admiration. She noticed that he was actually looking at her and yelped, blushing with embarrassment.
"Uh…h-h-hi there!" Ruby squeaked, "S-s-sorry about that, I-I-I just d-didn't know how to react! I-I-I mean, I'm looking at the freaking CHAMPION of all people! What does o-one d-do in this situation?!"
Leon understood and just gave a friendly smile in return.
"And you must be Ruby Silverlock. My brother's told me much about you." Leon said jovially, "You know, I never expected that you would literally have silver locks! That silver hair of yours is quite striking."
Ruby blushed even harder, barely able to contain herself. To not only meet the champion of Galar in person but to have him compliment her hair! What a start to her Pokémon journey this was!
"G-g-gosh…I r-really don't know what to say…" she stammered.
"Don't mention it kiddo." Leon said casually, "I must say, I'm quite intrigued that I'll be helping not just my brother, but my neighbour start off their Pokémon journey today. I say let's not waste any more time and get back to my place so your journey can begin."
"Bet I can beat you home!" Hop challenged, already running off.
"I'll let you have that head start so I have more of a challenge!" Leon chuckled.
He and Ruby waited a couple of seconds before running after him. It was no surprise to Ruby that Leon could run faster than her and Hop. A man his age and fitness capacity could run rings around them both! They left the town of Wedgehurst behind, the townspeople watching as they disappeared up the road.
Minutes later, the two children and the Pokémon champion had made it back to Postwick. Leon and Hop lived in a huge country mansion that dwarfed every other house in the town. It was a house fitting for a man of Leon's reputation. Ruby liked to think it was a metaphorical depiction of how impressive he was: big, easily seen and towering over everything else around him. She and Leon stood beside each other by a training area by the house as Leon was about to unveil the Pokémon they would choose. Both of them felt a surge of excitement coursing through their veins. This was it! Their journey was about to begin!
"Right now, it gives me great pleasure to give you two the greatest gift from the greatest champion." Leon said, drawing out three Pokéballs from his cape, "Ruby, I can imagine this'll be a huge moment for you. You've never had a Pokémon of your own before, have you?"
"My mum has a Munchlax but aside from that, I've never had my own." Ruby answered, "I'm really hyped for this! I've been dreaming my whole life for this moment."
"Well then, allow me to make your dream come true." Leon said kindly.
He then threw the Pokéballs into the air and all of them opened up simultaneously to release their occupants. Ruby clasped her hands over her mouth as she realized the reality that was unfolding before her. She was soon to choose from these three Pokémon to start her journey with! It was quite magical to see actual Pokémon coming out from Pokéballs happening before her. TV didn't do this justice. The three beams of light materialized into a mixture of shapes and sizes as a trio of Pokémon stood before the trainers. One was a green coloured monkey-like Pokémon with orange paws and a stick it carried in a leaf that protruded from the top of its head. The second was a white and red rabbit-like Pokémon with large ears and markings on its feet and the bridge of its nose that made it look like it had plasters on them. And the third was a chameleon-like Pokémon with blue scales, a yellow fin on the top of its head and skinny limbs and feet. Leon introduced them.
"Here you have the Grass type Pokémon, Grookey!" he pointed to the green monkey Pokémon, "The Fire type Pokémon, Scorbunny!" he pointed to the red and white rabbit Pokémon, "And the Water type Pokémon, Sobble!" he pointed to the blue chameleon Pokémon.
The trio all bounced up and down eagerly, keen to have a trainer to partner with and make friends with. Leon turned to Ruby and Hop.
"So you two, which will you pick?" he asked, "Don't worry about whoever you don't pick, I'll look after that one."
Ruby approached the starter trio, ready to have the first pick. She looked over them with excitement in her eyes. Which one to pick, they all looked so cute and awesome! Her eyes settled on the Scorbunny, who curiously enough produced a carrot seemingly from nowhere, spat a tiny flame onto it to roast it and then chewed it while looking up at her with cheeky eyes.
"N'yah…what's up doc?" he asked in a thick Brooklyn accent.
"Aww, you look so adorable!" Ruby cooed, "I've read about all the starters and I've always liked Scorbunny the best! So cute looking and I'll admit, I've always loved fire types. I'll pick you."
"Dat's fine with me doll-face, ya look like a nice goil from what I can see." the Scorbunny said casually.
"So Scorbunny it is then!" Leon said happily, "He's all yours Ruby! I hope you'll treat him well."
There was no doubt about it that she would. Ruby wanted to be the best of friends with Scorbunny and she would be the trainer it deserved to have. Scorbunny jumped up and fist-bumped her, clearly satisfied with his trainer.
"Glad I could be yer foist Pokémon." he said brightly.
"As am I. You're perfect for me." Ruby said kindly, "My name is Ruby Silverlock. I hope we'll be best of friends."
She then put a finger to her lips for a second.
"Hmm…what should I call you?" she mused, "You know, you kinda remind me of Bugs Bunny from the Looney Tunes with the way you talk…"
She snapped her fingers, her decision made.
"I know! I'll call you Bugs!" Ruby said happily.
"Whatever floats yer boat I guess, I mean I'm da one dat has ta live with dat name and all." Bugs said, shrugging, "Bugs it shall be."
Ruby beamed, her heart swelling with joy. She'd received her first Pokémon and had even given it a nickname. Just wait until she showed Bugs to her sisters! Now she'd chosen, Hop decided to pick his Pokémon next.
"In that case, I'll have you Grookey!" he declared, bending down to pick up the Grass type Pokémon, "I'm aiming to be the next Champion so be ready for some serious training!"
"Grookey glad to be chosen!" Grookey chirped happily.
That just left Sobble as the sole starter with no trainer to go with. As Leon had said, he would look after him. He picked the little Water Pokémon up and patted its head. Sobble looked glum and he wanted to make it feel better.
"You'll come with me then." Leon said, "I'll train you up to be the best you can be and my Charizard will be a great mentor to you. You don't have to worry about him, he's very friendly."
"Well I suppose that's alright…" Sobble said gloomily, not sounding too perky.
He climbed onto Leon's shoulder as the Pokémon champion turned to face Ruby and Hop.
"Now you've chosen your starters, why don't we let them have a test of their abilities?" Leon suggested, "It'd give you both a chance to prove you're ready to be trainers too."
Ruby and Hop looked at each other. They didn't see anything wrong with a friendly battle. As Leon pointed out, they'd get a chance to prove that they're not just a pair of wannabes. They'd received their Pokémon and now they could see if they were fit to train them.
"I'm up for a little friendly battle." Ruby said eagerly, "I never would've imagined my first Pokémon fight would be with my friend and neighbour."
"I'll give you a good first impression!" Hop declared, "As the Champion's brother, I imagine I'll have the advantage as I know everything my brother does and how he battles with his Pokémon!"
"You do know that just watching me battle won't instantly make you an amazing trainer?" Leon retorted.
Hop and Ruby took their places on the training area. It was a blue rectangle with marker positions and a Pokéball painted in the centre. Ruby and Hop stood facing each other and prepared to battle. Ruby could feel her nerves tingling with anticipation. At long last, she was going to have her first battle! Deciding to preserve this moment, she took her Rotom phone out and had it float over her shoulder.
"Record this battle. I'd love to show my sisters later." she commanded.
The possessed device obeyed and began to film the fight. Hop made the first move by bringing out his first Pokémon, his beloved Wooloo. He'd had the Wooloo as his faithful companion for a long time and was closer to it than anyone else he knew. The Wooloo bleated, ready to battle. Bugs stepped forward, eying his opponent up and folding his arms casually.
"N'yah, a Wooloo ain't dat tough. I'll handle it easily." he gloated.
"Maybe you will but keep in mind that Hop has two Pokémon to fight with and I've only got you so you'll have to be on you're A game." Ruby warned, "That and he's had that Wooloo for a while. It might be pretty strong."
Leon raised his arm, clearly deciding that he would be referee for the match.
"When you're ready…" he paused and then swung his arm down, "Begin!"
Ruby was about to issue the first command but then it dawned on her that she had no idea what attacks Bugs actually knew. She'd studied much about Pokémon but that didn't mean she automatically knew what they could do.
"Um, Bugs? What attacks have you got?" she asked sheepishly.
"Not much, I only got Tackle and Growl." Bugs said, sounding disappointed.
"Well then, Bugs use Tackle on that Wooloo!" Ruby commanded.
The sassy Scorbunny acted immediately, pounding towards the sheep-like Pokémon and tackling it head of, knocking it off its hooves and sending it rolling backwards. Wooloo grunted but shook its head and got back up again.
"Nice hit, but it won't take Wooloo down that easily." Hop said confidently, "Wooloo, you Tackle it back!"
The Wooloo obeyed, charging quickly into Bugs and tackling him. Bugs landed on his back but got up again just as quickly. He shook himself off and lowered his head, waiting for his master's next command. Ruby's phone focused on Bugs as it filmed the match. Ruby commanded another Tackle attack, which Bugs did without hesitation and he hit the Wooloo hard a second time. It didn't have much health left so the fight wouldn't last for much longer. Hop repeated his first command, the Wooloo tackling Bugs back and knocking him down. Bugs dusted himself off, barely fazed by the attack. Despite Wooloo's size in comparison to him, it didn't hit him all that hard.
"Let's see if this wins the match." Ruby said, "Use one more Tackle!"
"Right on it, doc!" Bugs cried.
He ran towards his opponent, head lowered and ready to hit. The Wooloo tried to dodge but Bugs was much too fast for him. Scorbunny were speedy Pokémon, it was never easy to dodge them. Bugs hit the Wooloo and that one last tackle was enough to end the fight as a victory for him. The Pokémon lamb lay on his side, bleating in defeat as it couldn't fight anymore.
"Wooloo is unable to battle! Scorbunny is the winner!" Leon announced.
"Woohoo! Yes! My first ever Pokémon battle and I won!" Ruby shrieked, jumping up and down in delight.
Her cheer was interrupted as Bugs suddenly glowed a brief flash of blue for a moment and her Rotom phone stopped filming for a second to inform her on what just happened. She looked at the screen and noticed that it said he'd levelled up and had learned a new attack. Bugs was now able to use Ember, a small fire attack that Stage 1 Pokémon commonly learned before learning stronger fire attacks when they evolved. Ruby beamed.
"Great, now you've got a fire attack to use!" she cried.
"I wonder how many carrots I can roast with dat new move…" Bugs wondered aloud.
Hop returned his Wooloo and turned to his second Pokémon, his newly acquired Grookey.
"It's all up to you now my new friend." he said, "You may have a type disadvantage, but I'm sure you'll be great out there."
"Grookey will fight for new friend and win battle!" Grookey cried enthusiastically.
Bugs and Grookey faced each other on the battlefield, the two feeling a little guilty that they would have to fight each other after being friends for a while.
"Hey, no hard feelings if ya lose, right doc?" Bugs asked.
"Grookey won't be a sore loser." Grookey replied, drawing his stick out.
"This fight will be a piece of cake." Ruby said confidently, "I know all about type matchups from the many books I've read. Grass is weak against Fire so use your new Ember attack on Grookey!" she commanded.
Bugs opened his mouth and let fly a ball of flames towards his opponent. Grookey yelped and braced himself for impact as the Ember attack slammed into him. He was hit and the move did a lot of damage but he was still standing. Although the Ember attack had set the leaves on his head alight. Grookey noticed this and ran around panicking.
"GAH! GROOKEY'S HAIR IS ON FIRE!" he shrieked, running in circles to try and put it out.
Hop looked worried. He was clearly not going to win this battle, not when Ruby had type advantage. This wasn't going to be quite the start he'd hoped for. Nevertheless, he refused to give up so easily and decided to carry on. As soon as Grookey had put the flame out, he gave his command.
"Grookey, use Scratch!"
Ruby was puzzled. How did Hop know what attacks Grookey could use when he'd never had one before? She looked over to Leon, the Champion focusing intently on the battle between them. He'd probably told him what all the starters could do in preparation for when it was time for him to choose one. Leon probably told his little brother everything he needed to know about Pokémon. She turned back to see Bugs wincing in pain as Grookey scratched him across the face. The attack left a few marks but otherwise didn't seem to do much to Bugs. He shook off the pain as quickly as he'd felt it and prepared to retaliate.
"OK, let's wrap this up! Another Ember!" Ruby commanded.
Bugs did just that and Grookey was helpless to defend himself as he was hit by another Ember attack. The flames sapped away whatever energy he had left and he fainted onto his back. He groaned in defeat.
"Grookey can't handle flames that well…" he mumbled groggily.
Bugs just smiled, pleased with how well he'd done for his first time battling. He drew out another carrot from nowhere and chewed it.
"Gosh, ain't I a stinker?" he sneered.
"Grookey is unable to battle! Scorbunny wins again!" Leon cried, "Looks like little Ruby here is our winner!"
"Yes! My first ever battle and I took out two Pokémon at once! I can't believe it!" Ruby cried, punching the air triumphantly.
Hop just ran his hand down his face and groaned, disappointed that he was off to a poor start.
"Man, your one Pokémon took out the two I had!" he said incredulously, "You and Bugs are just too much!"
He returned Grookey so he could rest for now and he approached Ruby. Despite his disappointment, he didn't want to come off as a sore loser so he gave Ruby a congratulatory smile and looped an arm around her.
"That was a great battle. You're definitely going to be a great trainer Ruby." he complimented.
"Thanks Hop." Ruby said graciously, "And thank you for being my first opponent. I don't think I'd have enjoyed it as much if I'd had that fight with anyone else."
"I'd say you both fought well." Leon put in, a bright smile on his handsome face, "It made me almost want to bring Charizard out and join in on all the fun!"
He turned to Ruby. The silver-haired girl looked up at him back, wondering what he was going to say.
"You've got real promise, I can tell." Leon acknowledged, "In fact, I've got a favour to ask you."
"M-me?" Ruby said in surprise, "W-well uh…OK, what is it?"
What Leon said next took Ruby completely off-guard. She'd never have expected what the Champion would ask of her.
"Be a real rival to Hop, would you?" the caped Pokémon Master asked, "Push him, and make the both of you stronger!"
"I already want to get stronger and stronger!" Hop pointed out.
Ruby just stood still for a moment, unable to believe what had been requested of her. Be a rival? How could she be a rival to her close friend and neighbour? She didn't want to be a rival to him! She wanted to make friends, not enemies! Or did Leon mean something else by that? Maybe in this case, he didn't mean "rival" in the traditional sense. He did request that she push Hop to make herself and him stronger. Maybe by "rival", he meant someone to motivate his brother and inspire him to push harder and harder to become better and better. She hoped that this wouldn't put a strain on their friendship. She would hate it if she and Hop went from friends to enemies. Ruby was snapped out of her thoughts as Leon patted her on the shoulder.
"Blimey, you looked like you were miles away there!" Leon said, "Is everything alright?"
"Oh yes, perfectly!" Ruby said quickly, "Just thinking over what you requested of me, that's all. Did you say something?"
"I was just telling Hop that he and you should get yourselves a Pokédex from the professor." the champion explained, "If you two are to take on the Gym challenge, you'll both need to catch many, many Pokémon and a Pokédex can give you all sorts of handy information."
"Oh, that's great." Ruby said, "But I'd like to go home first. I'd promised my mum and my sisters I'd show them my first Pokémon once I got it. I'll see the professor later."
"That's fine with me." Leon said brightly, "I'll wait for you at the Pokémon Research Lab in Wedgehurst."
He then turned to head out and set off down the road to Wedgehurst. As soon as he'd gone, Ruby headed off back to her house to let her family see Bugs. She could already imagine how Emerald and Sapphire would react upon seeing him. They'd think he was adorable like she did. Bugs walked beside her, still pleased with how he'd done in the last battle.
"I always knew I was a powerful Scorbunny." he said proudly, "I bet I could take down much bigger Pokémon than dose ones we just fought!"
"I think even you have your limits little guy." Ruby replied, "But you don't have to worry about that, I'll train you up to be the best Pokémon in the…"
She was interrupted by a loud crashing sound that was startlingly close by. Hop ran up behind her, having just been about to leave for Wedgehurst himself but the crash had caught his attention.
"Ruby, did you hear that?" Hop asked.
"Oh no…I hope that's not what I think it is!" Ruby said worriedly.
The two children shot off faster than a Sharpedo travelling in a straight line through water. They ran back to where Ruby's house was and saw just what they'd been dreading they would see. The gate that had been closed off for so long was now open. And the Wooloo that had been tackling it…was gone.
Pokemon obtained: Bugs the Scorbunny. Gender: Male. Nature: Sassy. Is proud of his power. Ability: Blaze (it powers up fire-type moves when his health is low)
Pokémon belongs to GameFreak and The Pokémon Company
Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire Silverlock all belong to me