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Knights of Galar: A Pokemon Shield Nuzlocke Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Gains and Losses

Naturally the first thing Ruby did after winning her Grass Gym Badge as rocket over to her father's flower shop to let him know about it. What other reaction would she have in this situation, especially as he was so close by? When presenting the badge to her father, he'd congratulated her and spun her around for joy.

"I'll bet it's the rose that did it! Anyone who buys from my shop always seems to win their battles in that gym!" he laughed.

"I doubt it was all luck dad considering how ridiculously prepared I was for that gym." Ruby giggled, "But it still felt amazing that I won! I bet you felt the same way when you won your first Gym Badge too."

"Like you wouldn't believe, kiddo." Dad said with pride, "It felt like the start of something incredible for me when I held that badge in my hand. I may have given up being a trainer…"

He paused as he reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a gold medal that contained all the Gym Badges he'd won in his time as a trainer. Ruby gasped at seeing it. Despite him having had it for so long, the badges still looked pretty new as if no time had passed. Whoever makes Gym Badges sure knew how to make them last.

"…I never got rid of them." he continued, a sense of pride in his voice as if they weren't just badges, but valuable treasure to him, "They're one of the few pleasant reminders of my time as a trainer, the good times I had in winning these and the battles I had…just how could I throw these away?"

"I'll treasure my badges like you did, dad!" Ruby cried.

"You better. They'll be more valuable than you realize as you collect all eight and keep hold of them as you get older." her dad said, patting her head, "Now how's about we have some tea together and we'll call your mother and sisters to let them know of your victory?"

So for the next hour, Ruby and her dad sat down at a table together with a cup of tea each and Ruby got out her Rotom phone to call her mother and sisters. Once they answered, Ruby showed the badge to them and explained everything about her first Gym Battle victory, not sparing any details at all. Emerald and Sapphire were ecstatic of course, barely able to contain their excitement. Her mother was equally as proud, as well as happy to have a chance to talk to her husband at the same time.

"You and I both knew she'd accomplish great things, didn't we?" she said proudly.

"Didn't we just, Annie?" her dad said with admiration, "And I bet our special little girl will go on to achieve greater things from here on out."

"Makes you almost want to go out and be a trainer all over again, doesn't it Michael?" Annie said.

"Yeah…almost." Michael said uncertainly.

Of course Annie knew what he meant. She'd been told the stories of the Pokémon he'd lost and how the death of his Raichu had been the straw that broke the Camerupt's back for him. To avoid the conversation taking a down turn, she quickly changed the subject.

"You make your way over to the next Gym Ruby and win your next badge." the brunette woman said proudly, "Your father and I will be supporting you every step of the way."

"Thanks mum. I'll call you again once I reach Hulbury." Ruby said.

Once the conversation had ended, Ruby finished her tea and kissed her father goodbye as she was no longer going to stay in Turffield. The Gym Battle was done and it was time to move on. Her dad waved her goodbye as Ruby set off from Turffield and head over a small arched bridge to Route 5. Route 5 linked Turffield to Hulbury and it wasn't a long route so Ruby would be there in an hour or so.

While she was making her way through Route 5, Ruby noticed a single building standing on the left side of the path she was walking across. It seemed strange to walk across a country path and suddenly see a building out of nowhere before she'd made it to Hulbury. The building had sloped, tiled roofs and pink brick walls with an egg-shaped window on the door. A logo consisting of three eggs perched above the door and was written with the words "Pokémon Nursery." Ruby knew what Pokémon Nurseries were about. Many people left their Pokémon there to level up and get stronger and some people used them for breeding purposes. Many a story she'd heard about people leaving any Pokémon they wanted with a single Ditto and let nature take its course. Ruby wasn't interested in that kind of stuff but decided to take a look anyway as there might be something interesting in the Nursery.

Upon entrance, she was met by a brunette woman wearing grey overalls and a yellow and black t-shirt and gloves. She was carrying a Pokémon in her hands and she seemed surprised to see that the nursery had a visitor. Clearly it had been a while since anyone had last come to this place.

"Blimey, a new visitor! Sorry about that, luv, we haven't had anyone 'ere in a while!" the woman exclaimed.

"It's OK." Ruby said casually, "I just saw this place and decided to see what it's like. I'm new around here and I've never been in a Pokémon Nursery before."

"Then allow me to explain what it's like here!" the woman said jovially, "If you have any Pokémon you'd like to leave here, we'll raise them for you until you want them back! You can leave up to two with us and don't worry, we'll take good care of them for you. We look after Pokémon of any and all kinds here."

"I'm not here to leave any Pokémon, but thanks anyway." Ruby said politely.

She then noticed the Pokémon the woman had in her hands. It looked like an infant imp of some kind with purple skin, two-fingered hands, two-toed feet, a spiky head and a little tail. It had a lightning bolt symbol on its forehead The area around its bottom was a lighter shade of purple to the rest of its body, making the Pokémon look almost like it was wearing a nappy, adding to its infantine appearance. Ruby had never seen this Pokémon before, one of the few times there was a Pokémon that was completely new to her. All she knew was that she liked it already.

"What Pokémon is this?" she asked.

"Oh that's a Toxel." the woman explained, "It's a Poison/Electric type Pokémon that's like having your own little baby! They're very cute but can be quite electrifying, especially this one here."

"You're not kidding on it being cute." Ruby agreed, staring in awe at the purple Pokémon, "Look at it, it's so adorable!"

Then suddenly, to Ruby's shock and amazement…the Toxel spoke!

"Yes, thank you darling, I get that a lot." the imp-like Pokémon said, "But I'm more than just adorable. I'm fabulously talented and completely irresistible to watch when I perform."

"Great galloping Giratina!" Ruby exclaimed, putting a hand over her chest in surprise, "I didn't expect it to talk like that! It sounds like bloody Freddy Mercury!"

This was true. The Toxel not only spoke, but somehow spoke in a flawless impression of Queen's legendary lead singer. He even had his mannerisms down to a tee, even including Freddy's trademark use of the word "darling".

"I did say this Pokémon was electrifying." the woman said sheepishly, "Yes, weirdly enough, this Toxel has developed a huge interest in Freddy Mercury. It learned how to talk like him and everything. Whenever I put the TV on, it only ever wants to watch Queen Videos."

"Well can you sing like him, little guy?" Ruby asked with interest.

"Can a Pikachu use Thunderbolt, darling?" the Toxel retorted.

The woman put the Toxel down on the floor so he could perform. He sat where he was and pulled out a toy guitar seemingly from nowhere and started to strum. Then, in a completely flawless impression of Freddy's singing voice, he started to sing.

This thing…called love…I just…can't handle it,

This thing…called love…I must…get round to it,

I ain't ready!

Crazy little thing called loooove.

This thing…called love…it cries…in a cradle all night,

It swings. It jives.

It shakes all over like a Jell-i-cent

I kinda like it!

Crazy little thing called loooove.

Ruby was utterly spellbound. She had heard Queen tribute bands and while many of them were good impressionists, they utterly paled in comparison to this baby-looking Pokémon before her. His impression was perfect with no faults with his singing at all! She'd never seen a Toxel before, but this single one had left a great first impression of the species for her. She picked Toxel up.

"That was bloody incredible!" Ruby cried, "It's like Freddy's back from the dead in the form of you!"

"Why thank you, darling. I know I'm fabulous, you don't need to gush over me so much." the Toxel said casually.

His tone was matter-of-fact with not a hint of arrogance in his voice, like he knew he was talented and didn't need a legion of fans to tell him that. Ruby turned to the woman.

"Please let me have him! I want him! He's too amazing to go without!" she begged.

"Steady on luv, don't get so excited!" the woman said hastily, "If you want this Toxel so badly, he's all yours! I bet you'll take very good care of him."

"I'll treasure him from now til the day I die!" Ruby cried, "Thank you so much miss! I'll take great care of him!"

"Good, at least I can get away from this drab place." the Toxel muttered, "Maybe if I travel with a trainer, I'll have an actual audience to perform for."

"You better believe it Freddy, because I'm on my way to the next gym and an Electric type like you will be most valuable for my team." Ruby said with a wink.

"So you're calling me Freddy then? Thank you. I want that to be my actual name from now and forever." the Toxel said graciously.

"Well you're practically Freddy Mercury in a Pokémon's body so why not?" Ruby giggled, "Come Freddy, we have lots of training to do to get you as strong as my other Pokémon."

She left the nursery with her new Pokémon, keen to get started with him. With a musical Pokémon like Freddy on her team, her journey was going to get a lot more fun and enjoyable for her…

Ruby spent the rest of the day getting Freddy up to speed. She'd spent so long at it that it was dark by the time she'd done. She'd been training him well by having him go up against some Pokémon that weren't too tough for him to handle and having him share EXP from other Pokémon she used while training them up too so he was able to level-up a little faster. To make sure everyone had a chance to level-up, Ruby rotated her roster constantly so everyone had a session of training, not just whichever six she was carrying at the time. She'd also caught a Minccino, a Normal-type Pokémon resembling a chinchilla and had nicknamed it Debbie, but she wasn't sure if she could see herself using it much. It still didn't hurt to have some extra Pokémon on hand.

It had been a long, hard session but Freddy was now on an even level with his fellow teammates. While he didn't have the hardest hitting moves ever, Nuzzle and Acid being the best he could do, he was getting there and Ruby knew he'd learn some good moves when he levelled up. All Pokémon did and there were also TMs and TRs she could use to give him any new moves if he could learn them. During training, she'd given a couple to some of her other Pokémon. Ariel the Gyarados had been given Waterfall so she had a powerful Water attack to use and Sparkles the Electrike had been given Thunderbolt, one of the strongest Electric attacks a Pokémon could learn. She really did feel as if things were going her way and that it was all going up from here. Plenty of Pokémon to train, many of them having evolved by now, a lot of them getting strong and learning new moves, it just couldn't be better!

After training for the day, she'd decided to set up camp and call it a night as she didn't fancy wandering around at night time on her way to the next gym. She set up her tent and curry pot and made a sweet sausage curry for herself and her Pokémon to eat before they went to sleep. Of course, Freddy couldn't resist singing to himself as she made the delicious brew for everyone.

Can anybody fiiiind meeeeeeeeeeeeeee…somebody toooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE… he sang as Ruby dished up dinner.

"Da new guy sure loves da sound of his own voice, eh?" Bugs side, sounding more irritated than entertained by it.

"You hush, he's just enjoying himself." Ruby said sharply, "Besides, he's really good and I love Queen music so let him sing!"

"Yeah Bugs, don't be a stick in the mud!" Chomps the Chewtle said crossly, "I like his singing too!"

"It's OK I guess. Better than listening to a bunch of ghost Pokémon making "whoooo" sounds in unison." Raven the Gastly said, "Believe me, THAT is torture to listen to, and I'm a Ghost Pokémon!"

"The real achievement I think is that that little Toxel can sing like that!" Ariel said in amazement, "How does a voice that big and powerful come out of a little baby Pokémon like him?"

"Your guess is as good as mine." Ruby said, shrugging, "As is, I'm already loving having him on the team. His musical talents really do add some fun to the journey."

"As long as he don't overdo it, I'm fine with dat." Bugs said grimly, turning his back on everyone as he was given his dish of curry to eat.

Ruby ignored him and turned to Ariel.

"So, how does it feel being a Gyarados at last?" she asked.

"It's wonderful! I feel like I can actually be of use to you and the team and I feel as if I've achieved a lifelong goal!" Ariel said excitedly, "I feel so strong, so powerful…like I could take on any Pokémon and win!"

"That's great Ariel." Ruby said, patting her on the nose softly, "But remember, you're not valuable to me just because you're a Gyarados now. You were always a valuable member of the team, even as a Magikarp. I know you couldn't do much, but you gave it your all and your hard work paid off. I'm proud to have you on the team Ariel."

The huge Gyarados smiled with pleasure and gently nuzzled Ruby, having to be careful so as not to knock her over. Upon seeing this, Freddy was inspired to sing something else. Strumming his toy guitar, he burst into another song.

Ooooh, you make-a me liiiive!

Whatever this world can give to me

It's yoooooou, you're all I seeeeeee!

Ooooh, you make-a me liiive now, honey!

Oooh you make-a me liiive!

Oooh, you're the best friend that I ever had.

I've been with you such a long tiiime.

You're my sunshine, and I want you to know,

That my feelings are true!

I really love you.

You're my best friend!

Ruby giggled in response.

"That song applies to all of you! You're all my best friends! Good choice Freddy!" she laughed.

Once he'd finished singing, Ruby and her Pokémon spent the rest of the evening eating their dinner before Ruby returned them all to their Pokéballs and went to sleep in her tent. The next morning came, grey and overcast but still warm as if the world wanted people to think it was still OK to go outside. Ruby zipped her jacket up in case of rain as she was sure it might do so later on, judging from the colour of the clouds. She packed her camping gear away and set off to continue her journey to Hulbury. She planned to have some more training on the way but didn't want to stay training in this one spot any longer, wanting to see if there were any new Pokémon to challenge further up the route. But the leather-clad girl found herself groaning in annoyance as she saw that she had some considerably less challenging opponents to face.

She had come across a long bridge that stretched straight ahead and she could see two members of Team Yell harassing a grey-haired man who looked fed-up with their antics. It was two of the male grunts with none of the females in sight. Of all the insufferable nitwits, why Team Yell again?! Freddy was riding on her shoulder at the time, not wanting to go in his Pokéball, and he looked at the two Team Yell grunts.

"So who are the weirdos with the dodgy hairdos?" he asked.

"Members of Team Yell, a hunch of over-obnoxious fans cheering for Marnie, one of the Gym Challengers." Ruby muttered, "What's their game now?"

She ran closer to see what was going on. One of the Yell Grunts was, well, yelling at the grey-haired man.

"Oi! Just hand over that bike already!" he yelled at the man, "We need it to cross this long bridge!"

"We're gonna use that bike to chase around other Gym Challengers! It'll be a scream!" yelled the other Grunt.

"I'll not let you use the bike for such foolish pursuits as that." the man said wearily, "Besides, it wouldn't work as you two clowns don't even have a Rotom with you."

"OY! You two! Leave him alone!" Ruby interrupted, stepping in to stop the Grunts from what they were doing. The duo looked at Ruby and growled in annoyance, clearly recognizing her from a couple of days back.

"Hey, you're the silver-haired brat from the hotel!" Grunt 1 exclaimed.

"Why don't you just make yourself useful and piss off? Haven't you got a Gym to get to, girlie?" Grunt 2 sneered.

"I have, and I'm not making my way over to the Gym knowing you two are causing trouble again." Ruby said firmly, "Do you want Marnie to know what's going on here? I doubt she'd approve of this."

"She'll never know." Grunt 1 said confidently, "Besides, it's for her benefit and no one else's. If we make you Challengers all tired, only she'll make it to the finals and win the Gym Challenge!"

"Wow, your plan is so unbelievably flawed that only you two twits could've thought it up!" Ruby jeered, doubling over in laughter over how incomprehensibly stupid that idea was, "Seriously, who cares if the Gym Challengers get tired from being chased by a bike? They'll just use their Pokémon to get them around or call a Flying Taxi! If anything, you'll just wear yourselves out and screw YOURSELVES over instead of the others!"

The grey-haired man couldn't help but laugh too. Ruby had such a good point and it was just hilarious that a single teenager had handily destroyed their entire plan just by explaining how ludicrous it was. The Yell Grunts weren't happy at the notion of being mocked and their plan being thought of as stupid so one of them drew a Pokéball out.

"We'll show you who's stupid around here!" he rasped, "Zigzagoon, put her in her place for me!"

The Grunt threw his ball and out came Zigzagoon. Ruby sighed. So it seemed Team Yell had made zero effort to change up their roster in the time that had passed since she'd last met them. She almost didn't want to bother fighting them as it would be a waste of time but then they'd just harass the bike man some more and cause some more trouble. At least she'd be able to set them straight. Ruby drew out a Pokéball and summoned forth Raven. Freddy hopped off her shoulder and stood on the side-lines, deciding to provide battle music to go along with the fight. He strummed away, playing a cool riff as Ruby and the Yell Grunt prepared to fight.

Steve walks wearily down the street, with the brim pulled way down low.

Ain't no sound, but the sound of his feet

Machine guns ready to go!

Are ya ready? Hey! Are ready for this?

Are ya hanging on the edge of your seat?

Outta the doorway, the bullets rip!

To the time of the beat, yeeeeeeeah!

"Raven, use Dazzling Gleam!" Ruby commanded.

"Azarath…Metrion…ZINTHOS!" Raven screeched, summoning forth a collection of sparkling lights that formed into a giant ball of energy and firing them from her mouth.

The attack hit the Zigzagoon full on and knocked it out in one hit. The raccoon-like Pokémon collapsed onto its side, wondering which way was up. The Grunt was livid and he returned his Pokémon as Freddy sung the chorus.

Another one bites the dust!

Another one bites the dust!

And another one gone, and another one gone!

Another one bites the dust!

Hey! Gonna get ya too!

Another one bites the dust!

"Dat little cretin will be singing a different tune when I'm through with you!" the Grunt yelled, "Thievul, your turn now!"

He summoned forth his next Pokémon, the Dark type Thievul. Thievul was the evolved form of Nickit, resembling an adult fox with a long bushy tail, eye markings that made it look like it was wearing a bandit mask and sporting a sly, cunning expression to fit with it resembling a fox. Ruby raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"Wait, what? You evolved your Nickit but your Zigzagoon's still a Zigzagoon? How bloody stupid are you?!" she cried exasperatedly.

"Yeah, that kind of incompetence can only be found in people as dumb as this." Raven concurred.

"Ah well, let's just put Team Yell out of their misery. Dazzling Gleam again Raven!" Ruby cried.

Raven obliged, all too happy to finish this pathetic excuse for a fight. The Ghost/Poison Pokémon hit Thievul with Dazzling Gleam but didn't take it down in one hit. It didn't matter as the Thievul didn't even do anything meaningful with what little health it had left. It just used Tail-Whip, which lowered Raven's Defence but it didn't matter as Raven just finished it off with another Dazzling Gleam. It made her feel so good that she had a Fairy-Type move to mitigate her weakness to Dark types, making it so satisfying that the once threatening Dark types now folded like paper to her. No Dark type would ever be a threat to her again! The Thievul fainted from the hit, no energy left in it to fight. Of course, Freddy rubbed its defeat in its face by singing the chorus again.

Another one bites the dust!

Another one bites the dust!

And another one gone, and another one gone!

Another one bites the dust!

Hey! Gonna get ya too!

Another one bites the dust!

"You'll bite the dust next, girlie!" the second Grunt declared, "Sableye, destroy her!"

He summoned forth Sableye, a Dark/Ghost type Pokémon from the Hoenn region. It resemble a small, purple, goblin-like creature that literally had gems for eyes and a sinister smile on its face. For a long time, Sableye had been one of the few Pokémon with no actual weakness until the Fairy type had been discovered in other regions. Fairy types were the only Pokémon that were super-effective against Sableye. Of course, Ruby knew this and quickly exploited it by once again ordering Raven to use Dazzling Gleam. To nobody's surprise, the Sableye went down in one hit. Raven's reaction was one of sheer boredom, like the easy win wasn't even worth getting happy about.

"Hey, maybe next time you could actually TRY to be challenging?" she sneered, "I'm insulted that you think Pokémon like that are worth my time."

The Yell Grunts groaned and stamped their feet in anger as Freddy continued to mock them with his song.

There are many ways you can hurt a man, and bring him to the ground!

You can beat him, you can cheat him, you can treat him bad, and leave him when he's down, yeah!

But I'm ready! Yes, ready for you, I'm standing on my own two feeeet!

Outta the doorway, the bullets rip! The rhythm to the time of the beat, OOOOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEAH!

Another one bites the dust!

Another one bites the dust!

And another one gone, and another one gone!