Knights of Galar: A Pokémon Shield Nuzlocke Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Encounter in the Galar Mine


It was a quick bike ride over from Hulbury Town to the second Galar Mine. So quick in fact that Ruby doubted she'd been travelling for more than five minutes to get here. Upon arriving at the mine, she climbed off her bike and folded it up for easy carrying. The bike was able to fold in half thanks to some hinges in the middle of the frame so it would be easier to carry around than having to walk alongside it all the time. Despite the questions she had about how she'd been born with Dynamax Energy in her hair, she was beginning to feel rather good about herself. With two Gym Badges earned and the third one waiting for her on the other side of this mine, Ruby was feeling like despite everything, she was still going strong and would come out on top regardless. Even though Ariel's passing still hung over her, she strongly believed that it would be the only loss on her part and that all her other Pokémon would be safe and not have to worry about getting killed themselves. Also, she was still interested to see what Project: Eternatus was and how it would benefit Galar. The fact it was going to benefit the region was enough to have her interested to see it in action.


For now, the two-time winning Gym Challenger put all other thoughts aside as she entered the second mine. This mine was significantly less colourful than the first one she'd been in, looking very purple on the inside with not so many gems and bright lights to lighten the place up. The lighting was considerably moodier and the mostly purple colouring made Ruby feel as if she'd walked into a cave from a fantasy story. There were a few bodies of water in this mine, suggesting that she would find some Water types as well as goodness knows what else in this place. Ruby had never been here so she had no chance of knowing what she was going to find in this mine.


"I definitely prefer the other mine. This is pretty drab in comparison." Ruby muttered, "But I have to go through here to get back to Motostoke so through I go. With any luck, I might find a cool Pokémon in here."


She walked on through, keeping her eyes and ears open for anything that might be lurking in the darkness. If she'd been an ordinary girl passing through this mine, she'd have felt very vulnerable as anything could leap out and attack her. Did all Pokémon trainers ever feel like this, supremely lucky to have Pokémon of their own to protect them from any dangerous threats? She knew that she definitely felt glad to have her Pokémon to use. As Ruby walked in, a shadow detached itself from the ceiling and swooped towards her. Ruby heard it coming and threw herself down on the ground to avoid being hit. The thing missed her but it swooped into a U-turn and came back towards her. Ruby picked herself up and leapt back, causing it to miss again but in a surprising display of agility and quick reflexes, the thing pulled up just before it could hit the ground. It flew in a loop and hovered before Ruby, flapping its wings to keep in one place.


The thing she was looking at was enough to bring a huge smile to Ruby's face. This was no ordinary Pokémon she was looking at. This was a Pokémon that could be considered in the category of a pseudo-legendary. The Pokémon before her was a Noibat, a Flying/Dragon type Pokémon that was native to the Kalos region and very commonly found in caves. Noibat were small, purple and black bat-like creatures with yellow eyes and huge, speaker shaped ears that vibrated whenever they talked. Dragon types were among the most powerful Pokémon in the world and although Noibat looked small and unimpressive to begin with, its evolution was an entirely different story altogether. Most Dragon-types took a while to evolve but once they did, they made the wait worth it as they were heavy-hitters and able to floor most opponents with ease. Noibat could evolve into the powerful Noivern, and once it did it was a force to be reckoned with. Ruby could hardly believe her luck.


"Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow! A Dragon type! I thought I'd NEVER encounter one of those!" Ruby cried excitedly, "I've got to catch it!"


The Noibat didn't seem to want to be captured as it threw itself at Ruby and tried to bite her face off. Ruby swatted the air to keep it away from her.


"Oy, get off, stop that! I don't want to hurt you!" Ruby cried feebly, "Honest I don't! Please stop it!"


"You are invading my territory and you wish to capture me!" the Noibat spoke in a guttural growling voice that didn't sound right coming out of such a tiny dragon-like creature, "Leave here at once and I'll cease my assault!"


"Oh no you don't, I'm adding you to my team whether you like it or not!" Ruby retorted, "A Dragon type will be awesome to have!"


She drew out a Pokéball and quickly summoned Sparkles the Electrike. Sparkles saw what she was up against and grew as excited as Ruby was upon seeing it.


"Wow, a Dragon type! I've never thought one of those before!" Sparkles said eagerly, "Let me at it!"


"Easy there Sparkles, I want to catch it, not knock it out." Ruby said as the Noibat flew back and braced itself to attack, "Use a Thunderbolt to weaken it, key word being WEAKEN it!"


"Aww, I was hoping I could show it my full power!" Sparkles said sadly.


Nevertheless, she obeyed her trainer and used a Thunderbolt attack on the Noibat. She hit it full on, but made sure it wasn't at full power so the Noibat's health wouldn't drop to zero. The Noibat let out a gravelly shriek of pain, making Ruby feel sorry that she had to do this but she was sure it would forgive her once it was made a part of the team. The Noibat fell to the ground, weakened but still conscious. Ruby seized her chance. She drew out a Pokéball and threw it, catching the Noibat and watching tensely as the ball absorbed it and closed shut. It wobbled for a moment, making Ruby clench her fists tightly as she prayed it wouldn't break free. Then to her relief, the ball made a ping sound and stayed still. The Noibat was hers! She was so happy that she picked Sparkles up and twirled her around with joy.


"Yes! We caught it, we caught it! Well done Sparkles, you weakened it enough for capture!" Ruby cried excitedly.


"I was just doing what you ordered me to and I'm glad I didn't mess up." Sparkles said happily.


"Just wait til Hop hears that I caught a Dragon-type! He'll be so hyped up about that!" Ruby shrieked.


She put Sparkles down and picked up the Pokéball containing her latest catch. It was hard to believe that she, Ruby Silverlock, was now holding an actual Dragon-type Pokémon in her hands. What a beautiful feeling it was to have something like that in your possession! She then threw the ball and out came the newly captured Noibat. The Noibat flexed its wings and looked up at Ruby, looking more disappointed than angry at being caught.


"You have bested me in combat and have claimed me as your Pokémon." he said, his speaker-like ears vibrating with every word he said, "I must concede to you for a well-executed capture. I had hoped to stay a free Pokémon but there may be some benefits to being a trainer's Pokémon."


"There will be little fella." Ruby said gently, picking the Noibat up and holding him delicately as if he was a valuable ornament she didn't want to break, "I'm sorry if Sparkles hurt you too much. I'm just a budding trainer with a love of Pokémon and I really fancied adding you to the team. If you'd rather I let you go, you can leave if you want. I won't force you to be my Pokémon."


The Noibat was tempted to leave and fly off home, but he decided against it. He may not have wanted to be caught, but he realized that there was an upside to being a trainer's Pokémon that he couldn't ignore.


"I choose to stay." he replied, "With you, I could get stronger and hopefully achieve my evolved form. It is my desire to become a Noivern. A trainer can aid me in my desire."


Ruby smiled with glee, glad to hear the Noibat say that. It also made her think back to when she'd caught Ariel back at Professor Magnolia's house. She'd wanted to be caught for the purpose of evolving into a Gyarados. It would honour her memory to help another Pokémon achieve his wishes as she had done for her.


"I'll happily help you evolve." she said delightedly, "I've already evolved plenty of Pokémon in my team so you'll be no exception. Welcome to the team! Now what to call you…"


She put a finger to her lips in thought as she mulled over some possibilities. Then she gently brushed a finger over the Noibat's ears. The Noibat shuddered, finding it surprisingly soothing to have his ears stroked like that. Maybe being a trainer's Pokémon wouldn't be so bad after all if she was this gentle with him.


"Your speaker-like ears are definitely a big trademark…" Ruby murmured, "Maybe something related to them would work for a name…hmmm…"


She clicked her fingers as an idea struck her.


"Got it! How about I call you, Soundwave?" she asked.


"That's a great name for him!" Sparkles cried approvingly.


The Noibat thought about it for a moment, and then nodded in agreement.


"A suitable name indeed. I like it." he agreed, "From now on, I shall be Soundwave the Noibat."


"Glad you approve." Ruby said happily, "You're going to be made quite welcome in my team, Soundwave. It's a good thing I caught you too as we're on our way to the next Gym and I'm about to do some training with my Pokémon. You can join us for that!"


"If it helps me to get stronger and evolve, I'll gladly participate." Soundwave said, "When do we begin?"


"Right now." Ruby said, "But first, let's get you healed up as you still have that earlier damage from Sparkles's Thunderbolt."


She gave Soundwave a quick spray of a Super Potion to heal him up. Soundwave was surprised at just how kind and thoughtful this girl was. He had no idea humans could be so nice, even if they were trainers. He had to wonder why he'd been so against being captured before as it really wasn't turning out so bad for him. After the Super Potion had been used, Soundwave flexed his wings and stretched, feeling like a completely new Pokémon.


"Thank you for that. I feel as if I'd never been hit by that Thunderbolt earlier." he said proudly.


"You're welcome." Ruby said brightly, "Now let's get training. There's plenty to do before we reach that Gym."


She was about to head further into the mine to do so until she was interrupted by a very unwelcome voice.


"You again…how unfortunate our paths should cross a second time."


Ruby's blood ran cold and her happy attitude quickly dissipated as she found herself face-to-face with Bede, the last person she wanted to see right now. The silver-haired boy was here in the mine too, no doubt looking for Wishing Stars like he was in the first mine. His face contorted with loathing. Ruby didn't care, she wasn't exactly happy to see him again either.


"Oh sod me…of all the people to run into, it HAD to be you again, didn't it?" she muttered.


"You know this dead-eyed looking guy?" Sparkles asked.


"Unfortunately…" Ruby said grimly, "Hey Bede. I'm amazed that you're still able to walk again after what happened last time." she taunted.


She got just the reaction she wanted from the arrogant boy, smirking as she saw him blush slightly and put a hand over his groin as if worried she'd kick him there again.


"It was a while before I could get up again, I'll admit." Bede sound, sounding embarrassed having to admit that, "And it was especially humiliating when I got a severe tongue-lashing from the Chairman for lying to him. You just couldn't keep your mouth shut and had to go crying to him, didn't you? Now because of you, I could very well lose my endorsement if I lie to him again!" he growled, shaking his fists.


"My heart bleeds for you." Ruby said sarcastically, "Maybe that'll teach you not to be a lying jerk in the future. Honestly, I could just punch you for daring to make me look like the villain to him, but you're not worth the effort. Besides, unlike you, I'm trying to set a good example so if you'll kindly sod off, I'll be on my way and we don't have to bother each other."


But Bede refused to move.


"You're not going anywhere." he said threateningly, "You owe me a rematch for back in that mine and for humiliating me like so. We're going to have a Pokémon battle and I'll stalk you to the ends of the Earth if it means getting you to face me!"


"You just don't know when to quit, do you?" Ruby sighed irritably, "Come on Bede, be reasonable will you? I'm trying to be nice and spare you anymore humiliation by minding my own business and moving on so please let me go by and forget you ever saw me. The Chairman himself even requested I avoid any more confrontations with you."


"I don't care if the Chairman asked you to dig the entire mine up for Wishing Stars. Fight me now, or else you'll be proving what a weakling you are if you're too scared to face me." Bede sneered, hoping he'd hit a nerve.


To his annoyance, Ruby didn't react to what he said, not even showing anger at his insult. Instead, she looked like she wanted to do this just to get it over with.


"OK, but you're the one digging your own grave here." she sighed.


"Allow me to face him. I shall terminate this impudent trainer for you." Soundwave offered.


"So will I!" Sparkles cried.


"No, he uses Psychic types so I'll need some Bug and Dark types to use." Ruby said firmly, "I'll save you both for later."


She returned her two Pokémon and got out her first Pokéball.


"Besides, it'll be the perfect time to test this one out." the leather-clad teenager declared, "Spearhead, time to battle!"


"Solosis, psych your opponents out!" Bede called, throwing one of his Great Balls.


Both balls opened at the same time and released the respective Pokémon they'd called forward. Spearhead came out of his ball giggling inanely and clapping his fins while Solosis floated in front of him, waiting to battle. It recognized Ruby from earlier and was keen to get her back for beating it so easily earlier. It stared in confusion at Spearhead as he randomly started singing.


I only want to see you underneath the Purple Rain.


Purple Raaaain. Purple Raaaain!


Ruby raised an eyebrow in confusion but Spearhead didn't take any notice.


"Look at all the purple in this place! And people said I was crazy when I said purple rain was a thing! Just wait for it to start falling! Hee, hee, hee!" Spearhead cried excitedly.


Bede just sneered at the ditzy Arrokuda.


"In the time that's passed since we last met, you seriously caught that delusional thing?" he crowed, "It should be put down rather than be allowed to fight. It looks too stupid to do so."


Ruby felt as if a dagger had been plunged into her heart. How could Bede say something so horrible?!


"You take that back you stuck-up son of a gun!" she snarled, "I'll show you that you should never underestimate your opponents! Spearhead, use Bite!"


"Oooh, is it lunch time already? I bet that thing tastes real good!" Spearhead said with delight.


He propelled himself forward as if fired from a cannon and bite the Solosis as hard as he could. Solosis winced in pain and wailed from the Bite attack. Bede recoiled, surprised at not only how fast Spearhead moved, but the fact he'd landed a meaningful blow. He'd done quite a lot of damage in that one attack. Spearhead let go of his opponent, screwing his face up and sticking his tongue out.


"Whatever that thing is, it is NOT jelly! Ugh!" he gagged, "I bet Vanillite tastes a lot better…"


Ruby took this in with a huge hope that he wasn't being serious about that. Bede frowned but he did his best to show he wasn't intimidated by the Arrokuda's attack. He'd already noticed that this fight was going differently to last time as Ruby hadn't knocked his Pokémon out in one hit like before. He could turn this around.


"Solosis, Psyshock!" he ordered.


The gel-like Pokémon unleashed a psychic wave that struck Spearhead and knocked him back a little. Psyshock was an unusual psychic attack in how despite being a Special Attack, it did Physical Attack damage instead. Despite the blow, Spearhead looked otherwise unhurt and was still fighting fit. In fact, he looked more amused by what had happened than anything, giggling about it once again.


"Cor, that tickled! I had no idea battling was so fun!" he giggled.


Bede was aghast. Even Ruby was amazed that he'd taken a blow like that and was somehow laughing about it. She felt more happy than ever to have caught this Pokémon. If he could take hits and laugh about it, then her fights were going to be considerably less tense in future.


"You're amazing Spearhead." Ruby chuckled, "Now let's have an amazing finish by using Bite one last time!"


"As bad tasting as it is, I'll do it to finish the fight!" Spearhead declared, "For the glory of the Pokémon Sea Gods!"


He charged towards Solosis a second time and bit it as hard as he could. The Psychic Pokémon cried out in pain and then collapsed onto the floor, unable to fight any longer. Spearhead zipped back over towards Ruby and frowned at Bede, although he still had his gormless grin on his face.


"Who's stupid NOW, stupid?" he taunted.


Ruby smiled with pleasure. So Spearhead was self-aware enough to know when he was being insulted. That was good as it meant he could now be proud of himself for showing that he wasn't as stupid as he seemed. Maybe this proved he wasn't even stupid at all and just acted that way to trick opponents into underestimating him. It certainly worked for Bede had done so and had lost his first Pokémon already. The purple-eyed boy frowned, humiliated at losing a Pokémon to such a kooky opponent and he returned Solosis. He drew out his next Great Ball.


"I won't stand for this, not by a long shot!" he snarled, "Gothita! Psych your opponents out!"


He threw the ball and out came his Gothita for the second time Ruby was facing Bede in battle. Ruby returned Spearhead and smirked confidently as she knew she could take this Pokémon.


"Looks like his roster hasn't change at all. It's like he can't be arsed to do any training between battles." Ruby sneered, "Hawk Moth, this one's for you!"


She summoned forth Hawk Moth, the crazy Butterfree spreading his huge wings with delight and twirling his makeshift cane around in his tiny hands. He eyed up the goth-like Pokémon and purred eagerly.


"Aaah, another pathetic looking opponent. Maybe THIS one will be subservient to my control and will become my faithful akuma minion!" he cried excitedly.


Bede stared in confusion at Hawk Moth, baffled at what he'd just said.


"Uh…what the hell was that?" he said uncertainly.


"Don't mind him, he's always like that." Ruby said tightly, "Hawk Moth, you worry about your akumas another time. We've got a fight to win. Use Bug Bite on Gothita!"


Hawk Moth obeyed, flying towards his opponent and sinking his sharp fangs into Gothita's arm. Gothita let out an ear-piercing wail as she was bitten and her health was sapped away by the attack. She withstood the blow and was still standing but she wouldn't survive another Bug Bite from Hawk Moth. The Butterfree frowned, disappointed that once again, nothing had happened.


"I have reached my fully evolved state and I'm still unable to subjugate anyone to my control!" he groaned, "How much power do I need to possess to get a faithful akuma to get those Miraculous for me?!"


"Do you have ANY Pokémon that isn't a complete nutcase, Ruby?" Bede sniffed.


"You shut it, at least my "complete nutcases" are actually winning the fight so far!" Ruby retorted.


"Yes, key words being SO FAR." Bede snorted, "That's about to change. Gothita, use Rock Tomb!"


Ruby gasped. She couldn't have anticipated that this Pokémon could learn something like Rock Tomb. It was clearly done to mitigate its weakness to Bug types as Bugs were weak against Rock types. But that didn't mean Gothita was going to knock Hawk Moth out. He was a fully evolved Pokémon while Gothita was still in her first stage so hopefully, it wouldn't be powerful enough a hit to knock him out. Gothita magically summoned some rocks from nowhere and dropped them down on Hawk Moth. He was bombarded by falling rocks and knocked down to the ground. Bede smirked, thinking he'd had his first win over Ruby's Pokémon with that move. But then to his astonishment…Hawk Moth got back up again! He barely even looked hurt from that blow! He shook his head and rustled his wings to shake the rocks and dust off of himself and pointed his cane at Gothita.


"You are a fool to think you're a match for me! I am Hawk Moth, a Pokémon empowered by the Dustox Miraculous! I cannot be defeated by a mere Pokémon such as you!" he crowed, laughing manically at Gothita's failure to knock him out.


"You maybe nuts Hawk Moth, but you're sure making me feel lucky to have caught you." Ruby said approvingly, "Use another Bug Bite to finish Gothita off!"


Hawk Moth obeyed and bit Gothita a second time to finish her off. He may not have been able to take control of her, but at least he could win this battle and prove his superiority to others. Gothita swayed on her feet, desperate to keep battling but otherwise failing as she had no energy left. She collapsed at the feet of a very disappointed and frustrated Bede. How was he getting his butt kicked by crazy Pokémon like these?! He should be better than this! He returned Gothita and drew out his next ball.


"OK, playtime's over!" he growled, "Hatenna, psych your opponents out!"


He summoned forth his first and strongest Pokémon, Hatenna, once again. The pink and blue Psychic Pokémon glared at Ruby, determined to pay her back for defeating her so easily last time. Ruby just returned Hawk Moth and drew out her next Pokéball.


"You're so predictable Bede." she sneered, "You haven't changed your roster in the slightest! It's like you WANT to lose! Now prepare for a repeat of last time Hatenna faced me as she'll get a rematch with Gene!"


She threw the ball and out came Gene the Linoone. The badger-like Pokémon stood up tall and waved his front paws as if performing for an audience and he caught sight of his opponent. Hatenna shuddered, frightened to be going against Gene again after what happened last time. Now he'd evolved, he looked even more intimidating than when he'd been a Zigzagoon. Gene smirked deviously at Hatenna.


"Say, didn't I Pin Missile the living crap outta you last time?" he gloated, "Should be fun to do it again!"


"I've got a better move for you." Ruby cut in, "Use Night Slash!"


Gene obeyed and ran towards Hatenna, his front paws glowing with dark energy as his attack was building up. Hatenna was petrified with fear, unable to move as Gene rushed towards her and slashed her across the face. The power of the slash mixed with the dark energy was enough to knock Hatenna out in one hit. It was funny how history was repeating itself as Gene had now won two fights against Hatenna in a row, both in one hit. Hatenna collapsed onto her back, unable to fight after that single blow. Gene threw up his paws I triumph, impressed and pleased with himself to have won so easily.


"Boo-yah, two-for-two! I'm the Linoone that truly rocks! Whoo!" he cried.


"You sure are!" Ruby said happily.


Bede returned Hatenna, disappointed that he'd lost so easily again. Hatenna was meant to be his ace and yet twice she'd gone down pathetically easily! Ruby was about to claim victory until suddenly, Bede pulled out a fourth Great Ball. Ruby hesitated and braced herself. So Bede did have another Pokémon after all. What did he have to fight against this time?


"You're good…but you won't be able to beat my newest Pokémon." Bede declared, "Ponyta, standby for battle!"


He threw the ball and out came his latest catch, the beautiful Ponyta. Ponyta were Fire type Pokémon native to the Kanto region, notorious for their trademark fiery manes that they could control over whether they burned people or not. But this Ponyta was nothing like the Kantonian kind. Galarian Ponyta were Psychic types instead of Fire types, gaining the secondary Fairy type when they evolved into Rapidash. Galarian Ponyta were white with beautiful pink and blue manes and tails and looked very cute to many people. Even Ruby couldn't help but feel awed by the appearance of this adorable Pokémon.


"Aww, you have a Ponyta! My sisters would've liked that!" Ruby said with adoration, "Such a pity you had to have one in your team. Something that beautiful belongs with a better trainer."


She returned Gene and drew out her next Pokéball.


"It's risky as that thing could know a Fairy-type move, but it's time to test your strength buddy." Ruby said softly, "Soundwave, it's up to you now!"


She threw the ball and out came her newest catch. Soundwave flexed his wings and smiled deviously at his opponent.


"Yes…defeating that thing will be a worthy test of my power." he crooned.


Bede smirked confidently.


"I wondered if you'd slip up eventually." he gloated, "My Ponyta's got just the thing for you measly Dragon types. Ponyta, Fairy Wind!" he commanded.


Ponyta obeyed and summoned forth a gust of wind that blew from nowhere and swept over Soundwave. It was a powerful breeze that contained Fairy magic in it, which was very harmful to Dragon types and Soundwave let out a groan of pain as he was hit by the wind. But to Ruby's surprise, he had managed to withstand the attack and was still available to fight. She then whipped out her Rotom phone to quickly check if he had any useful attacks on him. She sighed with relief upon seeing he knew Bite. So both opponents had a type-advantage to exploit. This would be interesting.


"Soundwave, use Bite!" Ruby ordered.


Soundwave swooped towards his opponent and bit the Ponyta as hard as he could. Ponyta whinnied in pain, flailing about to try and shake Soundwave off. Soundwave's teeth were sunk in good and far so he wasn't going to let go anytime soon. Desperate, Bede ordered Ponyta to use Fairy Wind again while he was holding on. Ponyta obeyed and Soundwave was hit by the attack as it shot up from Ponyta's body. Despite being blasted head on by the Fairy Wind, Soundwave still hadn't fainted and had some health left in him to keep battling. While he was still holding on, Ruby commanded him to Bite again. He did so, making the Ponyta whinny in pain and flail about some more. Ruby decided not to take any more chances. Soundwave was close to fainting and had little health left so she needed to act. She called the Dragon Pokémon back and quickly healed him up with a Super Potion to keep him going. Now he was healed, Soundwave flew back into the battle as Ponyta used another Fairy Wind on him. Soundwave was hit hard in the face by the wind but he pushed on through, grunting as he tried to ignore the Fairy magic biting into his body. Then the match came to a titanic close as Soundwave landed a final Bite attack on Ponyta. Bede watched with horror and anger in his eyes as his final Pokémon collapsed, completely drained of health after that last attack. He was so sure that he had this in the bag but even his best efforts had failed him! Soundwave perched himself on Ruby's arm like a hawk in a falconry display returning to its trainer.


"Soundwave: Superior. Ponyta: Inferior." he gloated.


Bede fell to his knees, utterly gobsmacked by his defeat. How could he have lost again, and so easily at that?! He was so sure he'd trained his Pokémon well to be stronger! How was Ruby so much better than him. He was so shocked that he didn't even notice Ruby walking by him with a proud smile on her face.


"Remember, douchebag, you brought this on yourself." she said matter-of-factly, "Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my way. If you dare follow me, I'll make sure the Chairman hears about it. I doubt he'll approve of you stalking me."


She headed off further into the mine, leaving Bede alone to wallow in his defeat and humiliation. He, the one endorsed by the Chairman himself, had been made a fool of twice in a row by some newbie endorsed by the Champion! How could he live with himself after this?! He narrowed his eyes and picked himself up. He'd heal his Pokémon at the centre back in Hulbury and then train some more. He'd get the better of that little brat if it was the last thing he did!

__________________________________________________________________________________


Things went much smoother after that unwanted encounter with Bede. Once Ruby had left him behind, she went further into the mine to do some training as she'd intended. After defeating Bede's Ponyta, Soundwave had been feeling very good about himself, like he was a Pokémon that was going to achieve great things and go far due to conquering a type-disadvantage and proving himself superior. Ruby was glad he was feeling that way and that despite his initial reluctance to be caught, he was growing to enjoy being a trainer's Pokémon.


The training was simple enough, just the usual traversing through a new area and taking on any trainers or Pokémon lurking in the mine. Ruby defeated every trainer she came across with relative ease and many of the wild Pokémon had struggled to put up a fight against her. During the training, she was rewarded with two new evolutions as Sparkles and Spearhead suddenly glowed white and began to change. Soundwave sat on her shoulder, his yellow eyes wide with admiration and excitement as he'd never seen a Pokémon evolve before. He would now get a preview on what was to come for him.


Sparkles had evolved from an Electrike to the tough and electrifying Manectric. Manectric was a blue, canine-like Pokémon with a spiky yellow mane on its head, yellow tufts around its haunches and front feet and serious, red eyes. Manectric was a powerful electric type Pokémon and in some regions, was capable of Mega Evolving. Sparkles admired herself, amazed at her transformation.


"This is too cool for words! I look awesome!" she cried, "I bet in this form, I can take down any opponent that stands in my way!"


And Spearhead had evolved from an Arrokuda to a Barraskewda. Barraskewda more closely resembled barracudas than their pre-evolved form and were much bigger than before. They had a brown head with long, powerful jaws, a set of tail fins that literally spun like a propeller on a submarine and orange fins. Barraskewda were notoriously fast, able to swim at up to 100 knots and hour. Spearhead looked himself over and grinned even wider than before thanks to his new, bigger jaws.


"I have achieved a higher stage of life! I have transformed into the legendary god of the seas!" he cried gormlessly, "Arceus himself shines down on me to bestow me such immeasurable power!"


"Well evolving hasn't exactly helped your sanity any." Ruby said sheepishly, rubbing the back of head, "But regardless, I'm so proud of you two! You've done amazingly and you both look great in your evolved forms!"


"So that's what evolution is like. I anticipate when it is my time to evolve." Soundwave said with admiration.


"And believe me, I'm gonna make sure you get there." Ruby declared, "For now, it's time for Chomps to have some training so back to your balls everyone."


She returned Sparkles, Spearhead and Soundwave and sent out Chomps the Drednaw. The huge turtle-like Pokémon was itching for some training and to have some fun of her own so she was glad that Ruby had brought her out. She walked beside Ruby as they roamed through the mine to look for any potential opponents to face. They came across a few Binacles and a Scraggy and Chomps was able to defeat them with little issue. The Drednaw was starting to look very powerful and a tough member of Ruby's team to deal with. The teen trainer was looking forward to bringing her into Kabu's Gym to test her mettle against his Fire types. However, Chomps had taken a few hits during training and her health, while not low, wasn't looking the best.


"OK Chomps, I think you should take a break for a minute and let me heal you up." Ruby said, "I've still got some Super Potions I can spare."


"No, don't worry about me. I can keep going." Chomps insisted, "It's not like there's anything in this cave that's a serious threat to me!"


"Please Chomps, I just don't want you to end up like Ariel." Ruby pleaded, "I'll get you fully healed up and then we can train some more."


But as Ruby prepared to heal Chomps up, the Drednaw noticed that something was creeping up on Ruby. It looked like a red and white ball of some kind, only it could open up and it seemed to have teeth. She had no idea what it was, but it was moving and it was advancing towards her trainer. If it was a Pokémon then it might be wanting to attack Ruby! She reacted quickly.


"LOOK OUT RUBY!" Chomps cried, head-butting her trainer to knock her away from the thing creeping up behind her.


As she flung Ruby aside, her foot came down on the thing and Chomps screamed in pain as something snapped shut around her leg. Whatever it was, it had sharp teeth and had managed to puncture her leg pretty badly. Chomps shook her leg furiously and spat water at the thing clinging to her to make it let go. It reacted instantly to the water, flinching and letting go of Chomps as the water very clearly seemed to hurt it. Chomps was hurt more than the attacker though, the wounds in her leg looking very bad and leaving her struggling to even move it. Ruby grunted, rubbing her arm as she'd landed on it after Chomps knocked her aside and picked herself up to see what had startled her Pokémon. The thing that had tried to attack her was a Stunfisk, though this one was very different to the typical Unovan species of Stunfisk. This one was coloured black and dark grey with green patterns on it and had sharp teeth that made it look like a living bear trap. While the Unovan Stunfisk was an Electric/Ground type, the Galarian version was Ground/Steel instead. The Stunfisk growled viciously, flexing its body as if threatening to clamp itself around Chomps again. Ruby frowned.


"I should've been on the alert for those things. Stunfisk are tricky and like to hide in the dirt, waiting for unfortunate victims to come in close and then they snatch them up." Ruby muttered.


"And it just tried to attack you for no reason!" Chomps cried, "I'm gonna drown this thing for that!"


"No Chomps, you need healing up! Wait a minute and then…"


But Chomps was deaf to all reasoning as a primal urge to protect her master came over her. Chomps opened her mouth and used a Water Gun attack on the Stunfisk. The Stunfisk winced in pain, acting like Chomps had sprayed it with Acid as it was weak against water. But it wasn't enough. Water Gun was a weak attack and the Stunfisk had decent defences to handle most of the attack. Enraged, the Stunfisk retaliated by using Metal Claw. Its bear trap like appendages glowed white as a magical metal sheet surrounded them and it clawed Chomps had across the face. The poor Drednaw couldn't withstand the hit and that combined with her being weakened from other opponents and the Stunfisk biting her leg was enough for her to collapse onto the ground, unconscious as her health had been completely depleted, but thankfully still alive. The Stunfisk didn't want to stop there though. It was out for blood and wanted to kill Chomps completely. It tried to attack again but Ruby reacted just in time, returning Chomps before it could do so. In order to stop the Stunfisk from attacking again, she brought out Spearhead and had him finish the job with Dive. Spearhead finished the Stunfisk off in a single blow, knocking it out and stopping it from attacking any further.


Ruby returned Spearhead and looked at the Pokéball that held Chomps. She was relieved that she had survived the hit but she was also mad at her for being disobedient. That said, she couldn't be too angry as she lamented her being defeated by the Stunfisk.


"Oh Chomps, I know you was trying to protect me, but you should've listened to me and we wouldn't have had this situation happen!" she cried, "But you'll be OK, I promise! I'll get you to a Pokémon Centre and you'll be fighting fit again in no time! I'm just glad you're not dead…"


She put a hand over her heart as if to emphasize how relieved she was to be saying that. With no time left to lose, Ruby put the Pokéball away and charged through the mine. Motostoke was just on the other side so she decided to go there and use the Pokémon Centre there to get Chomps healed.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Ruby arrived at Motostoke very shortly after exiting the mine. It felt good to see civilization again after travelling through a dark mine for quite a while, especially as it was an emergency and she really needed it. Upon arriving at the Pokémon Centre, she burst into the centre and ran to the counter frantically. Several trainers waiting for their Pokémon to recover looked up and Nurse Joy recoiled as Ruby practically threw herself at the counter, panting heavily. The way this poor girl was acting would have anyone thinking it was a matter of life and death.


"My Drednaw's in a bad state! Please help her!" Ruby cried desperately between breaths.


"Of course dearie. I'll check over your Drednaw right now." Nurse Joy said in her usual sweet voice.


Ruby handed the Pokéball containing Drednaw to Nurse Joy and she took it away to give Chomps a bed to rest in. Ruby had to wait in the waiting room along with any other trainers who had Pokémon waiting to recover. It was going to be a while before Ruby would get any news on Chomps. How long, she had no idea and it was enough to get her stomach in knots. She didn't fancy sitting around not doing anything while waiting for Chomps to recover so she tried to take her mind off of it by going to the blue counter beside Nurse Joy's counter to see what was for sale. She had plenty of money courtesy of her many victories and some treasures she'd found in the Wild Area making for a tidy profit so she could afford lots of potions for herself. Ruby wasted no time at all buying a tidy amount of Super Potions as the death of Ariel and Chomps being badly injured had her desperate to make sure she was never low on healing items. After that, she sat down again and tried her best to relax as stressing wouldn't help her at all. She closed her eyes, breathed in slowly and exhaled. She tried to picture something nice to ease her nerves, like playing on the beach with her sisters or taking walks through the forest with her family. Those sorts of images always helped her to relax when she was on edge. Although she still worried about Chomps, it did help her considerably as she was no longer shaky and her stomach felt more settled.


About an hour later, Nurse Joy came to the counter and called for Ruby. The silver-haired girl rose form her seat and approached Nurse Joy. Her heart pounded. Hopefully she didn't have bad news to give. But Nurse Joy didn't seem sad or downhearted as she approached. If anything, she looked as if she had something good to say.


"How is she?" Ruby asked nervously.


"Your Drednaw is completely fine." Nurse Joy said sweetly, "She's all bandaged up and is making a steady recovery. I'm sorry to say that you won't be able to use her for a while. The leg wound your Dreadnaw received was pretty bad and will take a while to recover. She needs rest and recuperation for the time being so I'm afraid you'll have to continue the Gym Challenge without her."


Ruby was simultaneously relieved and gutted to receive this news. It was of course great that Chomps was alive and would live after what had happened, she knew that much. But to hear that she was too injured to carry on and would have to sit out of the Gym Challenge while she carried on with her other Pokémon didn't make it all good news and just felt like a sour note to leave on. How could she possibly leave the first Pokémon she'd EVER caught in her life behind and partake in so many things Chomps would miss out on?! She sighed heavily, making her disappointment evident to Nurse Joy. The nurse nodded understandingly.


"I'm very sorry Miss Silverlock, but there's nothing more we can do." she said apologetically, "Don't worry, we'll inform you the minute your Dreadnaw is better so you can pick her up. If you just give me your number, I can call you once she's recovered."


Ruby handed Nurse Joy her Rotom phone and the sentient device displayed her phone number for her to copy down. Once that was done, Ruby put her phone back and looked up sadly at Nurse Joy.


"Please may I see her before I go?" she asked.


"Of course. Come right through, dearie." Nurse Joy replied.


She opened the counter to let Ruby through. This was the first time ever that Ruby had gotten to see what was beyond the counter of a Pokémon Centre and where injured Pokémon went to rest when they were injured. There were rows of comfortable beds and medical equipment in this room, some of the beds containing resting Pokémon recovering from all sorts of injuries they'd sustained in battle. Ruby saw Chomps lying on her stomach in a bed near the back of the room. Despite a bandaged leg and some scratches across her face, she was looking pretty good for the moment. It was clear that Chomps's injuries hadn't been too severe so thankfully she wasn't in as bad a state as she could've been. Ruby felt relieved to see her awake and moving again, no longer unconscious as her health was climbing back up. Chomps saw Ruby and her face fell, worried she was going to get a long-winded lecture from her trainer.


"Ruby, I bet you're really, really cross with me for disobeying you and getting myself all hurt and all but please understand that I…" Chomps began, her voice racked with guilt.


But Ruby wasn't cross at all. The only emotion she displayed was love for her Drednaw as she strode up to her and threw her arms around the Water Pokémon's neck. Chomps was lost for words, surprised that Ruby wasn't mad at all. She nevertheless appreciated it and closed her eyes, feeling the warmth and love of her trainer as she hugged him. Just that alone was enough to make her forget that she was recovering from a terrible leg wound.


"The only thing I care about is that you're alive!" Ruby exclaimed, shedding some tears that were a mixture of sadness and happiness, "I couldn't bear the thought of losing you as I did Ariel! I'm so glad I got you out of there when I could!"


"Aww…thank you so much." Chomps said appreciatively, "So you're not mad at me for getting myself all banged up like this?" she asked.


"I'm too relieved you're OK to be mad." Ruby insisted, "I do wish you had listened to me, yes, but your health matters more to me. Besides, I know why you acted the way you did. You were only trying to protect me. I know as a trainer, it's my job to protect my Pokémon but it's also a Pokémon's job to protect their trainer too. If anything…I can't thank you enough for saving me from that Stunfisk. If you hadn't acted in time, I might've ended up with a leg missing…" she added, cringing at the thought.


"That would've been horrible." Chomps agreed, "So did the nurse tell ya that I'm stuck here until my leg heals?"


"Yes. It'll be a shame to go on without you, Chomps." Ruby said sadly as she stroked the Drednaw's head for comfort, "You were my first catch after all. But let's look at this way, at least we'll see each other again soon."


"You bet we will!" Chomps said enthusiastically, "You know…it's kinda funny how when we met, I bit you on the butt because I wanted to steal some food from you and yet we've become such close friends after all this time. Funny how that works, ain't it?"


"When you put it like that…yeah, it is." Ruby giggled, "Still, you rest well Chomps and I'll see you when you're all better."


"I'll really miss you while I'm here." Chomps said sadly.


"I will too." Ruby said softly, "But at least there's plenty of Pokémon in here you could probably make friends with. At least you won't be lonely."


Chomps nodded. Ruby gave her Pokémon one last hug and even kissed her softly on the head as she walked away to leave to her rest. Chomps could only watch Ruby leave, her body urging her to go after her and re-join the team instead of staying here in the Pokémon Centre to recover. But her leg hurt too much for her to even stand up. Instead she settled her head down the pillows and sighed sadly as Ruby disappeared through the doors. At least in here she was being watched over be attentive nurses and the other patients seemed rather friendly. It wouldn't be too bad here. She was still looking forward to when she could leave the hospital and be reunited with Ruby again. She liked to think she'd get her mother to make some flapjack again for her to eat when she got out.


For now, she wondered if her trainer would make it past the next gym. With Spearhead as her Water type and at least one Rock type to use, her trainer still had some counters for Kabu's Fire types. Maybe she'd be able to win despite losing two powerful water types beforehand…

__________________________________________________________________________________


Pokemon obtained: Soundwave the Noibat: Gender: Male. Nature: Hardy Ability: Infiltrator (It bypasses the effects of barrier-related moves such as Reflect or Light Screen)


Pokemon evolved: Sparkles the Electrike, now Sparkles the Manectric


Spearhead the Arrokuda, now Spearhead the Barraskewda


Pokemon Lost: Chomps the Drednaw. Lasted: Level 5-24. Location of Incident: Galar Mine No. 2. Cause of injury: Attacked and wounded by a wild Stunfisk


Loss count: 2

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