Knights of Galar: A Pokémon Shield Nuzlocke Chapter 12

Updated: Apr 21

Chapter 12: Back into the Wild Area


"…and then after I beat Kabu and won my Fire Badge, Freddy evolved! It was quite a way to celebrate a win by having another Pokémon evolve after I beat the Gym Leader. It was interesting for me to witness that as I've never seen a Toxel before so I wasn't even sure if it COULD evolve! The fact it can was completely new to me!"


"And I'll bet it made it all the more rewarding to see it do so. You'll have to show me what Freddy looks like in his evolved form should we battle again Ruby. I'd like to see him."


Once Ruby had left Motostoke Stadium, she had quickly made her way out of the city and back into the Wild Area. Of course, she had decided to seek out Hop first before moving on as she knew her best friend would want to hear how her latest Gym battle had gone. She'd found him waiting outside the stadium for her as if waiting for her to finish and the two friends had made their way back into the Wild Area together. They were now sitting on the steps that led up into Motostoke with a bottle of lemonade each and were talking and drinking together. After the heat of Motostoke Stadium, the lemonade came as an Arceus-send to Ruby for she had been desperately thirsty after winning the Gym. Ruby had told Hop everything from Chomps the Drednaw's game-ending injury that had forced her to leave her to recover at a Pokémon centre for the time being to having a friendly match with Marnie before going to the Fire Gym earlier today and of course, her red hot tussle with Kabu that had ended in another clean sweep for her. Hop had been impressed by this, lamenting that even he hadn't been able to pull that off for he'd managed to lose at least one Pokémon in his battle, though thankfully it hadn't suffered any injuries that would put it out of action and he'd get to use it again later.


"It was especially clever of you to make use of Matilda's Stealth Rock move." Hop added, "Weakening his Centiskorch before having Houdini take it down was a brilliant strategy!"


"I just thought I'd make use of it as I saw a great opportunity for it." Ruby said casually, "It also seemed like a good idea at the time as Centiskorch is doubly weak against rock due to being a Bug/Fire type. It paid off in the end for Houdini was able to take it out in one hit. I wonder if he'd have done so if I hadn't used Matilda's Stealth Rock." she wondered.


"Given what a great trainer you are, I think he would've. Your Pokémon somehow manage to be really strong." Hop complimented, "I mean I don't think you've lost a single battle ever since your journey started! Even I haven't got that track record as you've beaten me at least three times as we've been going through this circuit."


"I'm rather impressed at that myself." Ruby admitted, "I never thought I'd be anywhere near the level I'm at now. I guess being the daughter of an ex-Pokémon trainer helps, alongside being a devoted fan since I was little. Watching so many battles and tournaments on TV must've helped in developing my skills and strategies for the eventual time that would come for me to do it for real."


"Well all I can say is that you should be proud of yourself, mate." Hop said kindly, "You're doing your family proud with your great skills and you're certainly showing Lee that he was right to endorse you. If anyone earned that endorsement as well as me, it was definitely you."


"Oh Hop, please, you're making me blush…" Ruby said bashfully, going red in the face from the heaps of praise her neighbour was heaping on her.


"Just saying what's true." the Champion's brother insisted, "I really hope you make it to the semi-finals so you can battle in Wyndon Stadium along with me. I think the two of us duking it out in that legendary stadium would be the perfect page to add to my legend!"


Ruby wasn't so sure she agreed on that. While it would be great to reach the finals and have the opportunity to compete in Wyndon Stadium, she wasn't sure if she'd enjoy having to face Hop in the semi-finals. How could she live with the possibility of humiliating him in front of a live audience and millions of viewers watching at home? She'd already proven that he wasn't even on the same page as her with him failing to score a single victory against her so he likely wouldn't fare any better in the semi-finals. If she beat Hop then and there, would that bring an end to their friendship? Would he grow to hate her? It wasn't worth thinking about so Ruby decided to change the subject before it could get more uncomfortable.


"Um, if it's OK with you, I'm going to set off now." Ruby said quickly, "Plenty of new Pokémon to catch and there's Hammerlocke Stadium to get to after all. I'll see you there, OK?"


"You got it, mate!" Hop said brightly, "I best set off too. I bet there's all sorts of new Pokémon I could catch too! As long as they're not over-levelled, I might even be able to use them this time!"


"Hopefully. I'd love to see what else you have in your team." Ruby said brightly, "Good luck with your catches Hop. See you at Hammerlocke."


"You too Ruby." Hop said.


The two teens hugged each other and then stood up from the steps to make their way into the Wild Area, waving to each other as they left. Ruby finished her lemonade and put the empty bottle in her backpack so she could dispose of it later. Despite what she'd said to Hop, Ruby wasn't actually going to be catching some new Pokémon. At least not today. She'd decided that she'd spend the rest of the day playing with her Pokémon and relaxing as she felt she hadn't had enough moments like that on her journey. She wanted to bond with her Pokémon over more than just battling and having some fun in the Wild Area would be a great way to kick back, relax and have a good time with her new friends.


Due to having many catches by now, Ruby knew that she'd have to spend some time with six Pokémon at a time in order to play with them all. She decided that maybe two hours with each lot of six would be adequate so nobody would feel as if she was favouring any over them and all her Pokémon would get equal time spent with her. The first six she was going to play with included Bugs the Raboot, Spearhead the Barraskewda, Sparkles the Manectric, Soundwave the Noibat, Freddy the Toxtricity and Raven the Gastly. Once she'd selected the four that she'd put in her box with Freddy and Spearhead already being on her person as she'd used them in the Fire Gym earlier, she brought them all out of their Pokéballs to get some fresh air and stretch their limbs.


"Hey everyone, I just thought I'd let you know that for the rest of today, we're going to have a fun day with no more battling or training to do!" Ruby said enthusiastically, "I thought with how hard we've all been working lately that we could do with some time to ourselves, especially after winning the Fire Gym earlier this morning. All I want to say now is just have fun and have a good play together!"


"Aww, battling IS my idea of fun." Sparkles muttered.


"Maybe ya will find something else you'll enjoy doin' outside of fightin'." Bugs suggested, "Dere's more ta life den just fightin' after all."


"I already know what MY idea of fun is." Freddy purred, his hand hovering of the knobs on his chest as he prepared to play a tune.


"As do I." Soundwave cut in, "Just going for a flight is fun for me."


"I'm not really sure that I do "fun"." Raven said grimly, "Fun's never been my thing, really. But I'll give it a shot and see if there's anything I enjoy doing."


"You must do! It is upon the command of our silver-haired mistress who commands us!" Spearhead declared, "Have fun like your life depends on it, ghost girl!"


"Calm down Spearhead, you can't force Raven to do anything she doesn't want to." Ruby said hastily, "And it's not "upon my command" that you all play together. If any of you don't want to, you don't have to. But I still want you all to enjoy yourselves during our break. We'll resume training in the morning and hopefully catch some new Pokémon while we're at it."


And that was all Ruby and her Pokémon did for the rest of the day. She set up camp in a quiet spot in the Wild Area where they wouldn't get any rude encounters from wild Pokémon looking for a fight, choosing a stretch of small grass with a stream running by so anyone could play in the water if they wished. Bugs, Freddy and Raven helped her set up the tent while the others watched. Then once everything was set up, the fun began. Ruby got out a couple of balls to play catch with but Bugs had other ideas. He took one of the balls and started playing keepy-uppy with it. He bounced the ball from one foot to the other as if he was a professional footballer training for a big match. Ruby liked this idea and decided that they could play football together. The others fancied trying it too so they formed teams of three. Ruby, Bugs and Freddy were in one team and Sparkles, Spearhead and Soundwave were in the other. Raven wasn't interested so she decided to act as referee. Also, she had no feet so she couldn't play anyway.


It took a while for the Pokémon to get used to the rules as they'd never played a sport like football before and for Sparkles and Spearhead, it was hard to do much as Sparkles was a four-legged Pokémon so she had to use her head and Spearhead had no legs at all so he had to use his tail to hit the ball. He had tried to eat it in a couple of occasions, thinking the ball to be a giant meatball only for Ruby to correct him on what it was and that it wasn't edible. In the end, it didn't matter how well they played the sport as long as everyone was having fun doing it. There was much laughter from Ruby and her Pokémon as they sent the ball flying all over the place and whenever anyone tripped and fell over themselves while playing. Bugs and Freddy were the best players thanks to being bipedal Pokémon and had scored the most goals though Spearhead's tail slaps had made it difficult for the opposing team to catch the ball before the other team did. In the end, Ruby's team won but the other team didn't mind as they'd just enjoyed playing together. Even Sparkles admitted that it was fun to do something other than fighting for a change.


After that, Soundwave decided to go for a flight while Bugs and Sparkles challenged one another to a race. Raven watched to see who won while Spearhead dove straight into the lake for a swim. Ruby decided to join him, going into her tent to change into her swimsuit that she'd bought with her. It had been right to do so as many trainers loved swimming with their Pokémon, especially the Water-types and Ruby was no different. She could imagine how much she'd have enjoyed riding on Ariel or Chomps in the lake if one wasn't dead and the other wasn't in the Pokémon centre right now. She knew that Spearhead would be a fun ride anyway as Barraskewda were incredibly fast Pokémon. Once Ruby had changed into her swimsuit, a one-piece suit that was red like her t-shirt and sported the Pokéball symbol on her chest, she dived into the lake to swim with Spearhead. The Water-type Pokémon was overjoyed to swim with his trainer and the two took turns swimming lengths and diving down to the bottom to see who could stay under the longest. It was a stupid contest to have with a Water Pokémon but Ruby just found it amusing to try anyway and Spearhead just seemed to enjoy watching her give it a go. Then after that, Ruby held onto the side of Spearhead and allowed him to shoot off across the water with her holding on tight. The sensation of being whisked across the water by a super-fast Pokémon was awesome. Ruby let out a scream of excitement so loud that it was possible every single Pokémon living in the Wild Area heard her. It was like clinging onto a torpedo that had just been fired and she loved every second of the ride. Wow! She'd never travelled THIS fast across water before! After that was done, Ruby asked for another go, which Spearhead was all too happy to do as he'd enjoyed taking her for a ride.


Half an hour later, Ruby and Spearhead came out of the lake and Ruby went back into her tent to change while Soundwave returned to the camp from his flight and Bugs and Sparkles re-joined the group to have a rest from so much racing they'd done. Both had managed to score some victories between them so it had been a fair contest for both Pokémon. Once everyone had rested up, Ruby decided to challenge Bugs to a race of her own and invited her other Pokémon to join in if they so wished. All six decided to give it a go, including Raven as she reasoned it was better than doing nothing. The challenge was to see if the Rotom bike she'd been given could out speed any of her Pokémon. They would race from the campsite all the way to the Motostoke City entrance and back again and the Pokémon were allowed to move in any way they wanted, be it on foot or by flight. Only Ruby would be on wheels of course as she was riding the Rotom bike. The race began and Ruby peddled as furiously as she could with the Rotom engine kicking into gear to push the bike even faster. Bugs, Freddy and Sparkles sprinted after her with Soundwave, Raven and Spearhead flying to race after her. At first it looked as if the power of the Rotom bike would give Ruby an easy win but then Spearhead began to catch up and was eventually able to overtake her. Ruby tried to catch up but she knew it was hopeless. Barraskewda were Pokémon that were just tough to match in speed and trying to peddle after Spearhead was like trying to chase a bus at this point. Spearhead won the race in the end with Ruby coming second and Raven coming a close third. Bugs lamented on the fact he probably would've won if he'd been fully evolved as his final stage evolution, Cinderace, was a Pokémon renowned for its speed. Ruby congratulated everyone on a well-run-race and then decided to make some dinner.


She set up the curry pot and started cooking another delicious curry recipe for herself and her Pokémon to eat. She'd picked plenty of berries and decided to try a sweet-and-sour recipe with a packet of sausages she'd bought the last time she'd been in the Wild Area. As she cooked, Freddy decided to add some entertainment by singing another song. It was another Queen song of course, but he'd altered the lyrics to give this one a Pokémon twist.


She's a Nido-QUEEEEEN!


Superpower, Ice-Beam!


She knows Bite and Hyper-Beam!

Guaranteed to blow your miiiiind!


ANYTIIIIIIIIIIIIIME!


Ruby appreciated the fact she had some good music to listen to while cooking. It made her think to how her mother would always listen to music when she cooked herself. Music somehow made even the most gruelling of tasks seem more fun in her opinion. The other Pokémon couldn't help but nod their heads in time to the beat as they found themselves enjoying the tune Freddy played. Even Bugs was starting to like Freddy's singing despite it annoying him before. Once dinner was done, Ruby and her Pokémon sat and ate together, the meal a complete success as everyone enjoyed what they were eating. Ruby had made more than she needed to so her other Pokémon in her Box could get some when it was their turn to come out.


Speaking of which, after dinner was eaten, Ruby boxed the six Pokémon she'd been playing with for the past couple of hours and she brought out the next six to have their turn with her. She now had Houdini the Noctowl, Gene the Linoone, Hawk Moth the Butterfree, Matilda the Boldore, Valiant the Pidove and Debbie the Minccino to play with for the next two hours. Like before, she played catch or football with them and after that, she climbed on top of Matilda to go for a ride. Boldore were pretty large Pokémon and a girl of Ruby's size could ride on one easily. She thought it was immensely fun to ride on a Rock Pokémon like Matilda and Matilda even added some fun to it by bobbing up and down and playfully shaking Ruby about, but not too hard so she wouldn't fall off. After she'd ridden on Matilda, she went over to Houdini to go for a ride with him. While she couldn't ride on his back as Noctowl weren't big enough for that, Houdini had enough strength to pick Ruby up by the shoulders with his feet and fly off into the sky, carrying her as if she weighed no more than a Rattata. What followed was the most incredible ride of Ruby's life. Houdini flew high above the wild area, keeping a tight grip on Ruby so as not to drop her, and swooped towards the ground as fast as he could. The sheer speed and power he displayed in his flight could be felt easily and Ruby squealed with delight as the wind swept over her and played with her hair. Houdini then banked up and shot back into the air again, throwing Ruby up and making her laugh as he caught her again with his feet. This was more fun than any theme park ride in the world and Ruby felt glad to have caught Houdini when she did.


After a long hour of playing together, Ruby then dished up what was left of the curry for everyone to have. She informed them that she'd eaten already so they didn't need to save her any. As the Pokémon ate, Ruby noticed that Gene seemed to be staring intently at the moon. Night was coming and the moon was slightly visible in the twilight sky already. The Linoone seemed entranced by the moon as if it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life.


"Why are you staring at the moon?" Ruby asked.


"I dunno." Gene replied, "It's something we Linoones do a lot. It's like we have some kind of…connection to it, y'know?"


Ruby didn't understand but she had a suspicion that it tied in with the fact that Linoones in the Galar region evolved into Obstagoon at night time, but only when they were strong enough. She knew that Gene was getting close to that level so it was only a matter of time until he evolved. His staring at the moon could be him anticipating when that time arrived.


As night time arrived, Ruby returned her Pokémon to their balls and retreated into her tent for a good night's sleep. She'd enjoyed having a fun day with her Pokémon and having a break from battles and she was looking forward to seeing what new Pokémon she could catch tomorrow. But as she slept for the night, she ended up having a curious dream. She dreamt that she was back in Slumbering Weald, lost in the fog like she and Hop had been when they went running after the stray Wooloo the other day. Ruby looked around her, barely able to see anything other than the occasional tree partially obscured by fog. Then she noticed a familiar shape coming towards her. The silver-haired teen put her hands to her mouth in surprise as a wolf-like creature came out of the fog and stared intently at her with its cold, yellow and red eyes. It was the mysterious Pokémon that she and Hop had seen before! Ruby stood where she was, her heart pounding. Why was it here? What did it want with her? She shook furiously, unsure whether to run or talk to the Pokémon. She did neither in the end as the Pokémon spoke first.


"Ruby Silverlock. I come here with a dire message that you must hear." it boomed in a voice that seemed to echo with whispers of other voices edging its words, making it sound like many people were speaking at once, "A great crisis faces the Galar region. Me and my brother fear that the Darkest Day shall threaten the region again, and you must be prepared for it."


"The-the-the Darkest D-Day will r-return?" Ruby stammered, "H-H-How? And w-w-what c-can I do?"


"You have the power to stop it Ruby." the wolf-like creature explained, "You are living Dynamax Energy. You have the power within you to stop the Darkest Day and save Galar. You will fight alongside me and my brother as we combat this threat again."


Ruby gasped incredulously, unable to believe or even accept what she was being told. It all sounded completely asinine to her!


"N-n-no! Y-you're wrong! I'm not living Dynamax Energy! I-I'm a real person! I'm just a Pokémon trainer hoping to win the Gym Challenge! I-I c-can't stop the Darkest Day!"


"You cannot deny the truth Ruby. You know that we are not deceiving you in any way." the mysterious Pokémon said cryptically.


As if to emphasize this point, Ruby suddenly started to glow a dazzling white. It wasn't just her hair that was glowing this time, but it was her entire body! Ruby gasped in horror and ran her hands over herself…only she no longer had hands. Her entire body was disappearing into the light that was engulfing her completely. Her body no longer felt like her own. She was changing into a big ball of energy and she couldn't stop it! She let out a scream just so she could hear her own voice but even that seemed to be disappearing as her voice grew fainter and fainter. The light coming from her was swallowing everything up, even the mysterious Pokémon. She could only see white! She could only…


…and then the dream was over. Ruby shot up in her sleeping bag, gasping for breath and looking around frantically. Her heart was hammering against her chest, so much so that she was amazed her ribcage could still contain it. She gave a massive sigh of relief as she realized that it had just been a dream and everything was as it should be. She could still feel everything in her body from her hands to her chest to her stomach and all the way down to her feet. She was still a human, she hadn't turned into energy. Ruby lay back down in her sleeping bag, sighing again. She fingered a lock of her hair and frowned bitterly. Ever since that moment at Magnolia's house where her hair glowed in reaction to the Wishing Star, she'd been finding herself wishing she could just shave it all off and never have it bother her again. It still puzzled the poor girl how her hair somehow contained Dynamax energy. Magnolia had done the tests and had come up with that and she doubted Magnolia was the kind of professor to make mistakes. She wouldn't have told Sonia to pass the information on to her if she was wrong. But how could she have Dynamax energy in her hair? No other person had this "gift" of hers so what made her so special? Was she really just some weird entity like the dream was implying? It made her feel like crying but Ruby knew it wouldn't do her any good. She had to get the whole thing off her chest at last. She hated the idea of doing this, but she needed to ask her mum about it. She'd likely be asleep by now but Ruby couldn't wait until morning. She'd never get back to sleep at this rate.


She got out her Rotom phone and dialled her mum's number. A minute later, she received an answer as the Rotom phone's screen displayed her mum's face bathed in the light of her own phone as she sat up in her bed back home. Annie gave a yawn, clearly annoyed at having been abruptly woken up and she rubbed her eyes wearily.


"Hello Ruby." she said tiredly, "What are you calling me for at this time of night?"


"I'm sorry mum." Ruby said guiltily, "I would never normally wake you up in the middle of the night, but there's something I have to ask you about."


"Oh is there?" Annie asked, sounding concerned, "Oh sweetheart, what is it?"


Ruby swallowed, willing herself to ask the question she was dreading the answer to.


"Mum…am I real?" she asked, her eyes welling up, "Am I a real person? Just like you, dad, my sisters, Hop, Leon and everyone else in Galar?"


Annie stared in confusion at Ruby, looking as if an Alakazam had just used Confusion on her.


"Ruby, of course you're real! Why ever would you ask something like that?" she gasped, sounding hurt to hear her say that.


"Because over at the professor's house the other day, we discovered that my hair glows whenever I'm near a Wishing Star or Dynamax energy." Ruby explained, "I gave a lock of my hair to Magnolia for testing and she says that my hair contains Dynamax energy that reacts to other Dynamax energy. So because of this, I'm worried that it means I'm some mysterious entity and that I'm not who I think I am. Please tell me that it means nothing and that I'm real mum! It…it's scaring me to think that my life could be a lie!"


She couldn't help herself any longer, finally allowing the tears to stream down her face as she let out her emotions. Annie's face fell, her daughter's grief wounding her very heart. She hated seeing her special little girl looking so upset and she wanted to reassure Ruby the best she could. Luckily, she knew just what to say as she had the answer to her questions. She was regretting never telling her this before but it was the right time to do so now.


"Please don't worry Ruby. I can assure you that you are every bit the girl that I know you are." Annie said gently, "You are not a mysterious entity at all. You're my daughter, my first child and nothing about your life is a lie at all. I'm very sorry for never telling you this, but it's time you knew at last. You see…I think I know why you might have Dynamax energy in you."


Ruby snivelled, running an arm across her eyes to wipe the tears away.


"Y-you d-do?" she stammered, "P-please tell m-me mum."


"I'm going to." Annie replied, "You see…we weren't entirely sure if that was the case, but there was something that happened when I was carrying you that might've been the cause behind your trademark silver hair. You see, I was actually struck by a Wishing Star when I was pregnant with you. It didn't hurt much when it happened but it was quite surprising to have suddenly been hit by one. Your father worried about me and had me taken to the hospital to see if the Wishing Star had any effect on me. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me so they thought nothing of it at the time."


She paused a moment to let Ruby take in what she'd said before continuing.


"But then when you came out, you had your mysterious silver hair and we was puzzled on why your hair was that colour. The doctors said that everything was completely normal, just that it was highly possible that the Wishing Star might've left some of its energy on me that transferred to you and it changed your hair colour. Given you have Dynamax energy in your hair; it stands to reason that that's what happened. The Wishing Star that hit me must've left some energy that's transferred into you."


Ruby took all of this in with a mixture of relief and amazement. So she hadn't just been "born that way" after all, something had happened during Annie's pregnancy that had led to her hair being this colour. She had suspected there was more to her being born this way than met the eye but she couldn't have guessed that was the reason. It all made sense. The energy in her hair had to have some from somewhere and that somewhere was a Wishing Star that had hit her mother! It explained why Emerald and Sapphire didn't have magical glowing hair like she did and why they hadn't been born with the same silver hair she sported. Obviously the same thing hadn't happened to them. So she was a real person after all, just born with an extraordinary gift provided in an extraordinary way. Ruby smiled appreciatively at her mum.


"I do wish you'd told me this before…but at least you're telling me now." Ruby said graciously, "Thank you so much mum. That's answered all my questions and has put all my worries to rest."


"You're very welcome dear." Annie said brightly, "Anything to help my special little Ruby. I am sorry for not telling you this story sooner. I didn't want you to feel like you were strange in anyway so I thought telling you, you were born this way would make you feel normal."


"I'm just glad it's only my hair that's strange and the rest of me is normal!" Ruby exclaimed, half chuckling, "I'd have been devastated if it turned out I was just some strange entity roaming the planet and not who I thought I was. So my glowing hair is down to the possibility that any energy from the Wishing Star that hit you might've transferred there. I have to wonder why my hair in particular and not anywhere else on me."


"Regardless, I'm glad I could put your fears to rest Ruby." Annie said kindly, "But remember, it doesn't matter what the circumstances behind your birth were, you will always be my little Ruby. Always have been and always will be. Don't ever think you're anything but, darling."


"I won't." Ruby said, touched by her mother's words, "Thank you again mum. I love you."


"I love you too Ruby." Annie said sweetly, "I hope you get a good night's sleep now that we've cleared it all up. I'll talk to you again tomorrow."


"You too mum. Goodnight." Ruby said softly.


She switched her phone off and put it back in her bag. She lay back down in her sleeping bag and closed her eyes, feeling much more at peace now that the mystery behind her glowing hair was over with. She couldn't be happier to hear that she was Ruby Silverlock, a real person and a real Pokémon trainer, just as she knew she was. She had to admit that hearing about what had happened while she was still in her mother's womb was quite incredible. What were the odds of getting hit by a Wishing Star and its energy giving a fantastical gift to that person's child? At least it was just that and it didn't mean anything more to her. With nothing else to worry about, Ruby soon fell asleep again, this time losing herself in sweeter, more pleasant dreams…

______________________________________________________________________________


Ruby woke up the next morning in the best mood she'd been in since her journey had started. The conversation with her mother and the truth behind her glowing hair had chased away any and all anxieties she once had so she had every reason to be happy. Once she'd eaten breakfast and gotten dressed, she packed away her tent and made her way through the Wild Area to catch some new Pokémon. Ruby also made a quick call to Professor Magnolia to let her know that she didn't need to study her hair any further for her mother had pretty much explained everything. The professor agreed that her mother's story made sense and was happy for Ruby that she'd gotten some closure to this mystery and it didn't mean anything more sinister like she'd feared.


For today, Ruby was keen to see what she would come across as now she had three badges, she could catch higher-level Pokémon that had once been off-limits due to her having no badges. There was a bridge leading towards an area of the Wild Area that she'd never been in due to it only being accessible to trainers that completed the first three Gyms. She crossed the bridge and found herself in a section known as "Bridge Field". It was easy to see why they called it as such due to the fact there was a field and two giant bridges stretched across it. Ruby recognized the bridges. She'd been riding across one of them on her new Rotom bike when making her way to Hulbury yesterday. It was incredible getting to see the bridge from ground level and seeing just how high up it really was. She could scarcely imagine how it had been built back in the olden days when heavy machinery hadn't been invented yet. Did people in the past use Pokémon to build stuff back then? She could see some flying types and fighting types like Machamp or Conkeldurr being useful for jobs like building bridges.


As Ruby made her way forwards, her hair suddenly started to glow as the Dynamax energy that nestled there picked up some energy nearby. Ruby turned and noticed a nearby den glowing red with energy. So her first catch of the day was in that den and it was going to be another Dynamax encounter. What giant Pokémon was she going to find in here? Ruby went over to the den and climbed down. It was funny how all Dynamax dens seemed to be the same no matter where in the Wild Area you climbed down into them. Was there just a huge underground cave that all Dynamax dens just happened to connect to or something? She once again found herself in a huge, spacious cavern with the tunnel she'd just climbed down being her only way back up to the surface. Ruby dusted herself off and gave a gasp of awe as she saw what she was faced with in this den. The Pokémon that was occupying this particular den was the Bug/Poison type Pokémon Skorupi.


Skorupi was a bluey-purple coloured Pokémon resembling a scorpion with oval-shaped eyes, big white mandibles and four little legs with big pointed claws. The curious thing about its claws was that they were on either side of its head, making it look as if it had limbs growing from its head instead of the usual places were arms and hands would be. It also had a flexible tail with a claw at the end that was useful for grabbing prey and fighting off enemies. Ruby's face broke into a smile of delight. Skorupi and its evolved form, the Poison/Dark type Drapion, were among her favourite Pokémon so she was going to enjoy adding this one to her team.


"No way am I leaving this den without you in a Pokéball…" she murmured, "Spearhead, let's go!" she cried, drawing Spearhead's ball out to summon him to battle.


"Oh there's no need for that, fellow trainer." the Skorupi boomed, "You don't need to battle me. I'll come willingly if you want."


Ruby hesitated and put her Pokéball back.


"You will?" she asked curiously, "I'm grateful for that, but is there any reason why?"


"I'm a Pokémon that prefers to settle conflicts peacefully." the Skorupi said gently, "Many trainers prefer to fight me in order to catch me but I always insist to them that they don't need to. All they have to do is ask and I'll come. They never do and they just end up fighting me and then I either defeat their Pokémon and cause unnecessary harm to them or they beat me up and render me unfit for capture. It's all pointless violence that can be avoided by just asking me to come. I hope you'll be more willing to negotiate instead of choosing to have a needless battle."


Ruby was surprised to hear this. While it was possible to come across a more pacifistic Pokémon, it was still surprising to actually meet one in person and see a Pokémon that would prefer to join a trainer willingly than engage in battle. She began to wonder if catching this Skorupi would be a good idea as it might not enjoy being her Pokémon if it preferred to avoid unnecessary conflict. Then again, it was willing to join her without a fight so maybe it would be fine. Also Pokémon battling was done as a fun, competitive sport and not for violence so maybe it'd enjoy doing that kind of battling. Ruby gave a friendly smile to the Skorupi.


"If that's what you want, I accept it." she said kindly, "You can come with me if you wish and I won't fight you for it. I'm partaking in the Gym Challenge right now so I'm afraid there will be fighting going on, but the Gym Challenge is a sport so the fighting is done for fun. You'll probably enjoy that more than the usual fighting."


The Skorupi considered for a moment.


"Yes, I'm aware that some Pokémon battle for sport and entertainment." he said, "I never understood how fighting can be fun but then again, I've never tried it. Who knows, maybe I will see the fun side of combat. If I go with you, you can hopefully show that."


"My thoughts exactly." Ruby said, "I'll be glad to have you on the team, Scorponok."


The Skorupi stared at her in confusion as if she'd somehow evolved into a Jigglypuff.


"My sister, Sapphire, is a fan of Transformers." Ruby explained, "One of the characters looks like a scorpion so I thought that name would suit you."


"I see." the Skorupi said, "So Scorponok shall be my name from now on. I hope that travelling with a Pokémon trainer such as yourself will be a rewarding experience."


Ruby beamed with pleasure, glad the Skorupi was enthusiastic about coming with her. She took out an empty Pokéball and used it to catch Scorponok. Once she was done in this den, she climbed back up through the tunnel and up to the surface so she could explore more of the Wild Area and see what other new Pokémon she would catch. Making her way through Bridge Field, she came across a wide-open area that had a huge sandy spot in the centre with yellow grasses, huge rocks and little bodies of water. There was also huge hills leading towards a giant wall with a set of doors leading into what was clearly Hammerlocke City beyond this point. The entrance even had a dragon's head shape around the doors, making it look as if anyone entering the city was being swallowed up by the dragon that granted them entrance. It was appropriate as Hammerlocke City was home to Hammerlocke Stadium, the very stadium in which trainers would challenge the final Gym Leader, the Dragon Gym Leader Raihan. Ruby was far from ready to face him as she had the Ghost, Fairy, Ice and Dark Gyms to beat first so she didn't focus on that for now. She'd explore the rest of this new section of the Wild Area and then make her way into Hammerlocke.


She went into a den in the Hammerlocke Hills and encountered a Delibird while she was inside. Delibird was a Flying/Ice type Pokémon that was often referred to as "The Pokémon Father Christmas". It was easy to see why thanks to its red and white colour scheme and the fact it often carried a sack full of presents that when used in battle would either cause damage to opponents or heal them. Delibird were extremely unpopular Pokémon due to being mostly useless in battle and their Present ability being more of a hindrance than a useful attack. Ruby wasn't the kind of girl to see Pokémon as useless, even if it was a Magikarp, so she didn't mind catching this one. She also reasoned that it could have some kind of use as Ice-type Pokémon would be helpful to use in Raihan's gym later on. She caught the Delibird and as it was a female one, she nicknamed it "Mrs. Claus". While she wasn't sure if she'd use it in any of the upcoming Gyms, it helped to have spare Pokémon to use if she was to bench anymore.


After that was done, Ruby went into another den in the dusty spot that seemed to be teeming with lots of rock or ground-type Pokémon. This particular area was known as "Dusty Bowl" due to its sandy, rocky appearance and was easily the driest part of the Wild Area. It made sense that lots of rock and ground-type Pokémon would live here as they loved sandy, rocky habitats. Ruby went down into the den, eager to see what she'd see here. Maybe she'd find a Rhyhorn or a Rhydon, an Onix, a Hippowdon or even an Excadrill. What she ended up finding instead was something that made her eyes pop. In this den, she had come across one of the Galar region's strongest and most powerful Pokémon, the fiery, mighty Coalossal.


Coalossal was a bipedal Pokémon with a mountain of coal sitting atop its head. Due to its large size and vaguely dinosaur-ish appearance, Coalossal was often likened to a rock monster or a golem of some kind (which was funny as there was also a Pokémon named Golem outside of Galar). Colossal had small arms and large legs and feet with a small shard of rock on its right shoulder and a larger shard of rock on its left shoulder. The coal on its head and the inside of its mouth seemed to glow red and orange, as if it had a continuously burning furnace inside its body. People often joked about Coalossal being a sentient volcano and that it might erupt if it got mad. Coalossal was a very special find for Ruby as it was a fully-evolved Pokémon. It evolved from Rolycoly and Carkoal, the mine-cart like Pokémon she'd seen back in the Galar Mines. This was her first time seeing a fully-evolved Pokémon in a Dynamax den and the fight of this incredible Pokémon, especially Dynamaxed, was awesome.


However, Ruby noticed something about this Coalossal that made her feel sorry for it. Despite what a gigantic titan of rock and fire it looked, it was slumping on its bottom and looking down at the floor with a depressed look on its face. It looked…sad. Whatever it was, something had clearly upset it and it was looking very depressed as a result. How could a Pokémon this powerful and mighty look like it desperately needed a hug? Ruby hated seeing Pokémon look sad so she decided to see what was up with it. She coughed nervously.


"Um, excuse me. Pardon my intrusion, but I can't help but notice you look sad." Ruby said softly, "What's wrong?"


The Coalossal looked up and its eyes widened with surprise, as if it couldn't believe that someone had come into its den to see it.


"By the fires within me! A visitor! I'd waited so long for someone to visit my den!" it boomed, its voice clearly female despite being amplified and deepened by the Dynamax, "You have no idea how happy I am to see someone! I can't remember the last time I had a visitor here."


"Well I'm glad I could be that visitor." Ruby said meekly, "Now please, tell me why you're so sad? I want to see if I can help in some way."


The Coalossal looked touched to hear this, putting her hands over her chest in awe.


"My first visitor in ages and it's a kind-hearted soul! What luck I must say!" she cried happily, "Well little girl, you see…I'm desperately lonely." the Coalossal explained, "I've always wanted a friend to call my own. But most Pokémon that come here are either afraid of me, want to beat me in a battle or see me as beneath them. Most trainers that come here only wish to battle me and never want to catch me to add to their teams. I get so lonely that I often cry myself to sleep. Why do so many other Pokémon get to make friends and join trainers on their journeys while I'm stuck here, as left out and as miserable as can be? I know I look scary, as all Coalossals do, but they don't need to be afraid of me! I can be nice and friendly too! I really wish I had a friend so I don't have to be so lonely anymore…"


The Coalossal looked as if it might cry again. Ruby had to wonder if this thing cried, did it cry tears like everyone else or did it cry lava? She decided not to find out as she knew just what to do.


"Well, you don't have to be lonely anymore." she said kindly, "I would be happy to be your friend and to add you to the team. I've got lots of Pokémon that you'll make friends with easily and I think they'd be happy to meet you."


The Coalossal was so amazed at what Ruby had said that she leapt up onto her feet and made the entire den shake, causing Ruby to fall over in her bottom.


"OHMIGOSH, YOU REALLY MEAN THAT?!" she exclaimed excitedly, "Oh my, that's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you! How can I ever repay you, kind girl?"


"You don't need to repay me at all." Ruby said gently, picking herself up, "Just making you happy is all the reward I need. Welcome to the team, Vesuvius."


"Vesuvius? What's that?" the Coalossal asked in confusion.


"Your new name!" Ruby giggled, "If you want to be specific, it's the name of a volcano somewhere in a region outside of Galar. I thought naming you after a volcano would be fitting."


"I like it! It sounds like a powerful name for a powerful Pokémon!" Vesuvius said happily, "Thank you so much, kind trainer! You have no idea how happy this has made me!"


"You're more welcome than you can ever imagine." Ruby said kindly, "My name's Ruby, by the way. I'm happy to be your first friend Vesuvius. I hope on my travels, you'll make many more friends with my other Pokémon."


Vesuvius beamed, delighted at the possibility that Ruby was going to be the first of many new friends she was going to make. Now that that was done, Ruby used another ball to catch Vesuvius and she took her out of the den. She was feeling really good about herself today. She'd managed to catch a Skorupi that preferred to settle things peacefully and a Coalossal that needed a friend, finding ways to satisfy them both and make them happy to be her Pokémon. What better way to start off the day? Also while she'd been in the dens, she'd been gathering up some treasures to sell for money to buy more items that'd be useful for her and also finding some TRs to teach new moves to her Pokémon with. Also she'd been finding a bunch of strange, white discs that seemed to be in every Dynamax den. These were known as EXP candies. Pokémon that ate them could gain more EXP and level up quicker. Ruby liked the idea of using them as she could level her Pokémon up without risking their lives fighting Wild Pokémon, though she didn't want to be too reliant on the candies as her Pokémon wouldn't learn much if she just fed them candies all the time. She was going to save her stash for later.


For now, she decided to visit one more den before making her way into Hammerlocke. She reasoned four new Pokémon would be plenty for now. Ruby travelled through the Wild Area until her hair started to glow again, signifying another Dynamax Pokémon was nearby. She was starting to find herself liking this gift she'd bene mysteriously blessed with for it was making it a lot easier finding Pokémon to catch when she could just walk around until her hair glowed to find them. Ruby went down into her fourth Dynamax den of the morning and slowly made her way through the tunnel. She stepped out into the open area and brushed dust of herself. Before she could look up and see what she was up against, a sharp blade suddenly pointed at her and made her jump. Ruby screamed and backed up against the wall in fright. She looked up, finding herself staring at a giant Pokémon that was sharp in every sense of the word.


She was looking at the Dark/Steel type Pokémon Pawniard. Native to the Unova region, Pawniard were small, knight-like Pokémon with a solid metal body, blades for hands, four blades sticking out of their torsos and helmet with a sharp blade on the forehead section. They had yellow eyes and their bodies were grey and red in colour. In the wild, Pawniard lived in packs like many wild dogs did with their evolved form, Bisharp, being the leader of said packs. It was surprising for Ruby to see this one all by itself. Had it got lost in this den and had never found its pack again? She noticed that the Pawniard didn't seem particularly pleased to see her.


"What are you doing in my territory, little girl?" it snarled viciously, speaking in a clearly male voice.


Ruby shook, worried that the Pokémon might stab her at any minute. At the size it was currently at, all it had to do was prod her and she'd be dead. She tried her best not to panic as she answered the Pawniard's question.


"P-p-please. F-f-forgive me, f-for disturbing you." she stammered, holding her hands up to show she didn't mean any harm, "I-I-I w-was just looking t-to see i-if there was any P-Pokémon to catch. Please don't hurt me!"


The Pawniard seemed to be interested at what Ruby said for he lowered his blade, making Ruby feel more relaxed now he didn't seem to want to kill her.


"You're a trainer, aren't you?" the Pawniard inquired, "If so, then I'll give you the same offer I've given any other trainer that's come into my den: if you wish to capture me and add me to your team, you must defeat me in a duel of honour. I only go with trainers I deem worthy and only trainers that can best me in combat are worthy of capturing me. Beat me in battle without any dirty, underhanded tactics, and I will be your Pokémon. Do you accept my challenge?"


Ruby didn't need to wait to be asked twice. She'd read much about Pawniard and Bisharp in some of her favourite Pokémon books as a child and she knew that they were strong Pokémon with brilliant attack stats. Their Dark typing would make this a useful catch for her next Gym too as Dark-types were super-effective against Ghost types. Gym Leader Allister would be in for a surprise when she brought this Pokémon into his Gym! Luckily for her, she knew that Pawniard had a weakness to Fire due to its steel-typing so she knew just the Pokémon to win his duel of honour. She called forth Bugs the Raboot and quickly informed him of what he had to do.


"Duel of honour, eh? Never fought one of dose before." Bugs said thoughtfully, "Ah well, I'll happily fight dis ting if ya really want it fer the team!"


"I very much want it for the team!" Ruby declared, "Get ready to Dynamax Bugs!"


She held his Pokéball out and Dynamax energy swirled around her Dynamax band as the magic transformation began once again. In a matter of minutes, Bugs was now a giant and was at the right size to be fighting the Dynamaxed Pawniard. He flexed his muscles, glad to be experiencing this incredible sensation once again. The Pawniard braced himself for battle, raising his bladed hands.


"OK, let us battle!" he cried.


"Don't get too eager fer it! Dis battle won't last long!" Bugs crowed.


He was right. Bugs was a Stage 2 Pokémon and the Pawniard hadn't even evolved yet so by default, Bugs would have the greater power in comparison. Ruby ordered him to use a Max Flare attack and Bugs did just that. He unleashed a terrific tornado of flames that swept over the Pawniard, knocking it back and blazing away at its solid, metal body. He was left feeling extremely hot after the attack and very low on energy as the attack had nearly sapped away all his strength. Ruby seized her chance and threw a Dynamaxed Pokéball at the knight-like Pokémon. The Pawniard was absorbed into the ball and it snapped shut. Then it fell to the ground and shook three times before loudly pinging to signify a capture and returning to its normal size. Ruby punched the air in triumph, thrilled that she'd managed to catch the Pawniard. She picked up the Pokéball and stared at it as if she'd caught something very valuable with it. She opened up the Pokéball and the defeated Pawniard was brought out, looking disappointed with itself. It looked up at Ruby and gave a polite bow. It was weird how much less intimidating the sharp Pokémon looked when it was its normal size again. No longer Dynamaxed, he barely reached Ruby's hips.


"Well. You defeated me, therefore I am yours." he said, his voice no longer booming now he was back to normal size, "You're the first trainer I've met to actually beat me in battle. You must be very strong."


"I'm the kind of girl who likes to train her Pokémon well." Ruby said modestly, "I do hope I didn't humiliate you by defeating you so easily."


"There's no humiliation in being beaten by a worthy opponent." the Pawniard said nobly, "If you're capable of winning battles so quickly, it means you're a strong trainer who knows how to train strong Pokémon. They must feel honoured to be trained by you."


Ruby couldn't help but blush from all the praise the Pawniard was giving her.


"Th-thank you…" she said bashfully, "Th-that's nice of you to say. Anyway, while you're with me, I hope we'll have many honourable battles together." she added, patting the Pawniard on the head, "It's great to have you on the team, Lancelot."


"Hmm, naming me after an honourable night of Galarian legend. A noble name for a noble Pokémon." the Pawniard said approvingly, "Thank you for bestowing that name on me."


"You're welcome!" Ruby said cheerfully, "I thought Lancelot would suit you. Come on guys, we've got to get to Hammerlocke now."


She returned Bugs and Lancelot and made a quick sweep of the den to see if there were any EXP candies or TRs to take with her. She was able to find a few and then once she was finished, she left the den and returned to the surface. Ruby allowed herself a quick moment to reflect on what a great morning she was having. Four new Pokémon at once, and all of them with great power or useful types that would help her in any upcoming Gyms later on! Could this day have started any better? She couldn't wait to tell Hop. Ruby quickened her pace and made her way towards the entry gates to Hammerlocke City.


Unbeknownst to her, she hadn't been alone in the Wild Area. As she'd been going from Dynamax den to Dynamax den, some men dressed in the white and black uniforms of the Macro Cosmos company had been observing her. Like Chairman Rose had said, they would exploit Ruby's strange glowing hair in a way that wouldn't attract attention from the law. They had been watching from afar with sets of binoculars to keep a close eye on the girl as she made her way through the Wild Area. Every time her hair glowed, they would mark it on a map they had with him so they knew where she'd just been. Now Ruby had left the Wild Area to enter Hammerlocke, they were safe to make their moves without attracting attention from her. The men made their way down into the huge Pokémon habitat and ran over to all the dens Ruby had visited today. They made their way down into the dens to gather up the Wishing Stars that they would inevitably find in there. If her hair had been glowing near these dens, there had to be Wishing Stars to find. How else would there be Pokémon Dynamaxing when she'd been visiting them? One man stayed above ground to keep watch while the others combed the mine for Wishing Stars. He got out his phone and made a call to the Chairman.


"This is Elijah to Chairman Derek Rose. The silver-haired girl has visited four dens this morning and her hair glowed when she went into them." he explained, "We're digging up the Wishing Stars now."


"That's great news, Elijah." the Chairman replied on the other side of the phone, "Miss Silverlock will be most helpful to us in completing Project: Eternatus just as I'd suspected. She might even be more helpful to us than Bede."


"Well given she seems to be a living Wishing Star detector, that's not surprising." Elijah said, "We'll look for more if she ever comes back here and goes in anymore dens. We'll bring you all the Wishing Stars we find here as soon as possible."


He hung up and put his phone away. Elijah smiled to himself, glad that he was pleasing the Chairman. He personally thought Bede's idea would've been more productive as at least that way, they'd have Ruby on them all the time to find Wishing Stars but he saw the logic in the Chairman's plan. At least this way, they weren't doing anything illegal and wouldn't risk getting in trouble with the police if Ruby was to call them. He along with his men was very keen to see what Project: Eternatus was about and how it would benefit Galar. Whatever it was, it was bound to be big and important and would likely change Galar forever…

______________________________________________________________________________


Pokemon obtained: Scorponok the Skorupi: Gender: Male. Nature: Calm. Ability: Sniper (Powers up moves if they become critical hits when attacking)


Vesuvius the Coalossal: Gender: Female. Nature: Lonely. Ability: Flame Body (it burns Pokemon that make contact with it)


Mrs. Claus the Delibird: Gender: Female. Nature: Careful. Ability: Hustle (Boosts attack stats but lowers accuracy)


Lancelot the Pawniard: Gender: Male. Nature: Relaxed. Ability: Defiant (Its attack is boosted whenever its stats are lowered)



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