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The Isle of Armour: A Pokémon Story Chapter 2

The Isle of Armour

The flight to the Isle of Armour wasn't long. It didn't even take long to get there by ferry, roughly about an hour, so a Flying Taxi wouldn't take much longer to get there. Sapphire even felt like she'd been in the air for a few minutes at most and here she was, touching down at the Armour Station, the island's only station, and dragging her suitcase out of the cab to make her way through. By Flying Taxi, the journey from Galar to the Isle of Armour was roughly half an hour. Sapphire felt as if the train journey from Wedgehurst had been longer by comparison. All she knew was that she was glad to be on her own two feet and no longer travelling. It was time to stretch her muscles and get ready for what was to come.

Upon arrival, Sapphire was instantly hit by the muggy weather of the island. The sky was a clear blue with not a cloud in sight and the sun was already high up and beating down on everything. The blue-haired girl was already sweating before she'd made it through the station. Her regular clothes were not suitable for hot weather so she went into the girl's toilets to get changed into looser, more summery clothes. She came out wearing a tank top that left her stomach bare, small shorts and sandals. That felt much better. Sapphire left the station and headed on out onto a stretch of grassland with a beach at the edges. She watched the sparkling blue sea lap at the shore. There were Staryu lying on the sand of the beach and Krabby scuttling about nearby. Buneary and Jigglypuff bounced together in the grasses. Wingull flew over the sea, cawing to one another. Tentacool and Horsea swam in the ocean together. This was Sapphire's first impression of the island and already she liked what she was seeing. This whole island somehow seemed like a Pokémon paradise that she'd walked into, a picture perfect example of peace and tranquillity. Good weather and a beautiful place to call home, what more could a Pokémon want? What made it even better was that the island only had four buildings from what she'd read, the station, the Master Dojo and the two towers. Everywhere else was pretty much untouched by man, making the island even more of a safe haven for Pokémon. Sapphire couldn't wait to explore more of the island. But first, she decided to snap a quick selfie. Her Rotom phone floated in front of her, making sure to get some of the scenery behind her as well as her face. Sapphire grinned cheerily as the phone snapped her picture and she sent it to her sisters and girlfriend with a text attached:

I'm here! The Isle of Armour looks so beautiful! Can't wait to see more. I'll send more pics the more I see of it!

Sapph Xxx

It didn't take long for her to receive a reply. Ruby and Emerald both answered with a text each saying that they were glad she'd made it there safely and that the scenery looked nice behind her. She blushed at what Ashley had to say:

Glad ya made it, hon! Looking very cute in those summer clothes. :3 Hope you enjoy the rest of the island!


She put her phone away and grabbed her suitcase. She could make out the Master Dojo from where she was so she was going to go straight there and let Mustard know she'd arrived. Then she'd go and explore more of the island and catch some new Pokémon. One of the books she'd brought with her was a guide to Pokémon living on the Isle of Armour so she knew which locations to look for each species in and had been narrowing down which ones she wanted to catch. But as Sapphire was making her way to the dojo, a voice called out to her.

"Hey! You new around here? I haven't seen you before."

Sapphire didn't like the way the voice had called to her. It sounded sharp and kind of a sneer. She turned around and to her surprise, the voice belonged to the pink-haired Gym Leader she'd seen on the train. She'd finished getting through the Armour Station and was heading to the Master Dojo herself. Upon seeing her more closely now, Sapphire now understood why she felt she'd recognized the girl earlier. She had the kind of face that wanted to be recognized, and also adored by everyone. She had dark purple eyeshadow on and her eyelashes were thick, thicker than most girls Sapphire had seen before. She wore bright pink lipstick and there was a beauty mark just below her lower lip on the left side of her chin. Despite the tone of voice, the girl had the sort of face that appeared friendly and bubbly. Sapphire had seen that face before.

"Hey…I know you!" she exclaimed, "You're the colourful, caring, charismatic Klara! I swore I recognized you when I spotted you on the train earlier!"

Klara beamed, clearly pleased to be recognized.

"Ooooh, so I have an adoring fan! That's so sweet!" she simpered, "So tell me, newbie, what is it about me that you adore so much? Is it the fact I'm fabulously talent or sickeningly sweet? Nobody can resist my adoring charms! Hee, hee!"

Sapphire frowned. Now she knew for a fact she wasn't going to like this girl. She seemed way too vain for her tastes. She may be pretty on the outside but she had a feeling that her good looks just masked the true person she really was inside.

"Um…no, I'm not a fan." Sapphire confirmed, "I only recognize you because I've seen your face on your album. Krazy for Klara, wasn't it? Last I heard, that thing bombed hard with only eight copies being sold."

Klara's face fell upon hearing that. All of the colour seemed to drain out of her and her bow drooped down as if to match her mood.

"Uuuuggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…nobody ever lets me forget about that!" she whined, "That album was meant to be my glorious debut into the world of music and nobody wanted it! WHY?! I was such a hit in the underground pop concerts! Was I never meant to break into the mainstream?! And here I hoped I'd finally found a fan after so long!"

Sapphire began to feel guilty over mentioning that fact. She had to admit it was pretty senseless of her to just bring that up to Klara. Maybe her vainness had rubbed her the wrong way so badly that she'd felt the need to take her down a peg, but she could've done it better.

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to upset you!" she insisted, "I shouldn't have said that, I…"

Klara recovered but surprisingly enough, she didn't seem too mad at the black teen. Her sweet smile had returned to her face and she already seemed to have forgotten what Sapphire had said earlier.

"Nah, don't worry about it! I get that a lot." she said casually, "Those ingrates laugh at me for my past failures, but I just take their laughter and use it as a motivator to grow stronger and achieve bigger! That'll show them for mocking me! It's why I'm even here, to become stronger and become an awesome Gym Leader that'll raise to the major leagues. Imagine it now…"

She put her arm around Sapphire and held her other hand out as if imagining a big crowd watching her.

"…Klara, the pop princess that failed hard will soon be Klara, the Poisonous Gym Leader that'll be on par with the big names and be part of the Gym Challenge!" she preened, "One day, people could be challenging me and my Gym for a badge that'll earn them a spot in the Pokémon League! Nobody will laugh at me again after that glorious day comes! I'll be seen as a winner and not a loser for once!"

"Wow…that's ambitious, I'll give you that." Sapphire said uneasily, "With that kind of optimism, I'm sure you'll get there."

"Aww, aren't you sweet?" Klara cooed, "What's your name?"

"I'm Sapphire Silverlock." Sapphire explained, "I thought you'd recognize me from this year's Pokémon League. I was a semi-finalist and I went out to my sister. Don't you remember that?"

Klara shook her head.

"Nope. I didn't watch any of the Pokémon League." the Poison Gym Leader admitted, "I was too busy training my Pokémon for my Gym and being fabulously spoilt during my times here on this island. I don't really have time to watch TV these days."

"Oh…I see." Sapphire said in astonishment, "But surely you heard about it on social media? I imagine someone like you must use the internet regularly."

"Why would I waste time looking at news that doesn't concern me?" Klara snorted, "When I'm on social media, I only care what my fans think about me. Anything else isn't worth my time."

Sapphire huffed, offended by Klara's dismissive attitude. For someone hoping to be a Gym Leader, she sure didn't seem to care much for other Pokémon trainers.

"Oh really?" she said coldly, "Well if anything else isn't "worth your time" as you say, then maybe you wouldn't mind if I challenged you to a Pokémon battle? Maybe I can show you why it's a bad idea to be so narrow-minded and full of yourself."

The former pop singer shrugged dismissively.

"OK, if you want to be utterly humiliated, I guess I'll play ball." she sneered, "Hope you're ready for a taste of my toxic battle tactics."

"I'm not sure those are what's "toxic" about you…" Sapphire retorted.

The two girls took up their positions and drew out a Pokéball each. Klara smirked confidently.

"Because I'm feeling generous, I'll go easy on you and keep it simple." the pink-haired girl crowed, "Let's make it a two-on-two. No need to wear ourselves out before the trials start tomorrow."

"Fair enough, though you'll be wishing that I was going easy on you." Sapphire sneered.

Klara scoffed. As if she was going to lose to this big-headed twerp! She'd show her and put her in her place!

"Alright Scolipede, infect the opposition!" Klara yelled, throwing her first Pokéball.

Sapphire was met with a Pokémon that she would never have seen in the Galarian mainland for this species was one of the ones native to the Isle of Armour exclusively. Scolipede was a Bug/Poison type Pokémon resembling a huge centipede with four large legs and several smaller legs, long bent horns on its head and an identical pair of horns on its read. It was dark magenta in colour with a smooth, dark grey underside. Scolipede were originally discovered in the Unova region and were notorious for being surprisingly strong for Bug-type Pokémon. Due to its four legs and the front half of its body being raised up high in a slight S-shape, Sapphire thought it looked almost horse-like in its stance. With Klara being a Poison-type Gym Leader, it made sense she'd have a Pokémon like Scolipede. It was a good choice, but it'd be no match for her.

"James Pond, shining time!" Sapphire yelled, throwing her own Pokéball.

Of course she was never going to come to the Isle of Armour empty-handed. Although she planned to build a new team, she'd made sure to come with at least one Pokémon, and that had been her very first. James Pond had started out as a Sobble that Ruby had given her as a birthday present earlier this year and Sapphire had trained him all the way up into an Inteleon. He'd been a valuable member of her team, winning many fights and even being the one to ultimately defeat Ashley's Emboar, a victory that had won Sapphire a place in the second round of the semi-finals. The chameleon like Pokémon looked cool and confident, like this opponent wouldn't be anyone he couldn't handle.

"Time for Klara to go Kla-razy, sugar!" Klara crowed, "Use Poison Jab!"

Scolipede lowered its head, its horns glowing purple as they coated themselves with poisonous energy. It scuttled furiously towards James Pond, moving very fast for a Bug-type Pokémon. Sapphire didn't flinch.

"Use Snipe Shot!" the teen trainer commanded.

James took aim with his finger and blasted Scolipede with a single jet of water. Snipe Shot was the signature move of Inteleon and it was a move that always hit hard no matter who the opponent was. To anyone watching, it looked like James literally shot the opponent with his finger whenever he used the move. Scolipede winced from the attack and fell over onto its side, the Poison Jab disappearing. To Klara's shock and horror, James had knocked Scolipede out in a single hit! Sapphire folded her arms smugly, clearly relishing Klara's shock at the outcome. James blew on his finger.

"I'd say that Scolipede's all wet after that." he purred.

"I thought you were supposed to be good Klara." Sapphire taunted, "That wasn't even a super-effective hit and James took Scolipede down in one shot. Maybe you should keep more up-to-date on the world around you."

Klara returned Scolipede to its Pokéball and took out her second one.

"That was just a warm-up! Now the real battle begins!" she declared, "Slowbro, infect the opposition!"

She threw the ball and out came her next Pokémon. Sapphire knew very well what a Slowbro was. It was the evolved form of Slowpoke, a common Pokémon that could be found in many other regions around the world. Slowbro in Galar looked different to the common species of Slowbro. The trademark shell they carried on their tails was instead on its left arm and resembled a projectile weapon of some kind. The top of its head, the tip of its tail and both arms were dark purple in colour. It still looked as vacant as its Kantonian brethren. Another difference between this Slowbro and the Kantonian version was that Galarian Slowbro were Psychic/Poison types instead of Psychic/Water types. Sapphire wondered if this was Klara's personal ace. If so, James might not take it down as quickly as he took Scolipede down, especially since Slowbro were Pokémon with tough defences. The Slowbro eyed up its opponent, a dopy grin on its face.

"Hi there. I'm going to defeat you." it droned in a dopy, female voice.

"We'll see about that." Sapphire muttered, "Use Dark Pulse!"

James held out his hands and sent a wave of dark energy towards Slowbro. Klara cursed herself in annoyance. Trust Sapphire to conveniently have a Dark-type move she could use on Slowbro! The Psychic/Poison Pokémon winced as she was hit by Dark Pulse. The dark energy sapped away much of her health but as Sapphire had expected, it wasn't a one-hit KO. Slowbro's bulky defences had held out. Satisfied, Klara made her move.

"Show them, my girl! Use Shell Side Arm!" the former pop star shouted.

Slowbro took aim with the shell on her arm and shot a blob of toxic sludge straight at James Pond. Shell Side Arm was the signature move of Galarian Slowbro and whether it was a Special or Physical attack depended on which one would do more damage, giving Slowbro a handy way to work around Pokémon with higher Physical or Special Defences. The Inteleon grimaced as he was hit by the filthy gunge but it didn't affect him too much. He was too high-levelled and well trained to take much damage from weaker Pokémon like this Slowbro. He didn't get poisoned from the attack either, which didn't benefit Klara's situation at all. She could only watch in dismay as James took Slowbro down with another Dark Pulse. After being hit, Slowbro stood there for a moment as if her brain hadn't registered the fact she'd been hit. Then finally, she keeled to one side and collapsed onto the ground. She stared off into space, still sporting her gormless grin.

"Hey, is it just me or does this beach suddenly have three suns…?" she slurred before passing out.

Klara stared incredulously at her downed Pokémon. This was outrageous! How the heck had she, the colourful, caring, charismatic Klara, been taken down to easily by a complete newbie?! She was starting to see what Sapphire meant by her being a semi-finalist in the Pokémon League. She clearly had the skills and her Pokémon had the strength to back up that claim. Sapphire returned James to his Pokéball while Klara returned Slowbro to her's. She shot a venomous glare at the blue-haired teen.

"OK, maybe I am behind on things." she muttered, sounding pained to be acknowledging this, "You've proven your point, blah, blah, blah…so you're not just some newbie. It doesn't matter. Next time we battle, I'll thrash you!"

"I welcome your attempts to try." Sapphire taunted, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have the Master Dojo to go to. How's about we go together, unless you'd rather go alone?"

Klara fumed but said nothing. She'd get even with this twerp at some point, but now wasn't a good time. She'd play nice…for now. The two girls headed on towards the Master Dojo. They kept their eyes focused straight ahead as if determined not to look at each other. Not a good start, Sapphire thought bitterly. This was the first person she'd met on the island and already they were enemies. Hopefully the rest of the students would be considerably nicer…


Meanwhile, Emolga had arrived at her destination.

Zeraora was being held prisoner in a Dynamax Den that was miles away from the island. It usually took longer to get to the den but there'd been a particularly strong wind today so Emolga had been given a speed-boost and got there quicker than normal. There was very little land around, which made it the perfect place to hold him. After all, if he ever escaped, he'd have a long swim to the island, which would give Mustard plenty of time to prepare for his arrival. But that day wasn't going to happen. He was secure and surrounded by guards. He'd have to wish upon a star if he wanted to set foot outside of this den!

Emolga homed in on the den and landed just on the edge. Her membrane folded up and she scuttled on all fours down through the hole in the centre of the rocky platform that provided entrance into the den. It was a long tunnel that led into a huge, spacious area under the sea bed. Despite being a Dynamax Den, nobody had any chance of actually Dynamaxing here. The den was dormant and hadn't spawned Dynamax energy for centuries, which suited them even more as it meant Zeraora couldn't grow giant size if he ever broke free. Nobody other than Emolga, the guards and Mustard knew the den was here, and they'd planned to keep it that way. Every so often, Mustard would ask a swarm of Tentacruel to carry boxes of food to feed the guards with. Emolga had seen a few carrying today's food supplies on her way over so she knew they'd be getting their lunch shortly.

The den looked the same as last time she'd seen it, a huge wide open area with all sorts of Pokémon on patrol. There was a variety of species on patrol from Raichu to Drapion to Marowak to Salazzle and even Toxicroak. There were even other Emolga gliding around keeping an eye on things. Ditto was here as usual. As Ditto was able to transform into any Pokémon it wanted, Mustard felt it would be a great idea to have a Ditto as a guard here so if Zeraora did escape, Ditto could essentially have him fighting himself, which would no doubt wear him down and stop him escaping. The leader of the guards, essentially the "prison warden" of the place, was a female Volcarona. Volcarona were Bug/Fire type Pokémon that were native to the Unova region and were exclusive to the Isle of Armour for Galarian Pokémon trainers. They looked like giant moths, complete with white fuzzy bodies, huge six leaf-like wings and a black and blue abdomen. The species had become famous due to the former Champion of Unova, Alder, having one as his personal ace and even now, they were still popular with many Pokémon enthusiasts for being powerful Pokémon that also looked very beautiful to the eye. This Volcarona wasn't interested in beauty. She only cared about keeping order in the den. Emolga scampered up to the fiery moth Pokémon and bowed.

"Good morning, Volcarona!" she chirped, "I'm here on behalf of master Mustard to deliver another report. How is the prisoner today?"

She'd spoken those same words for the twelve years he'd been locked up and to her disappointment, the answer didn't change. Volcarona sighed sadly as she gave the two words Emolga had been receiving as her answer every time:

"Same old." Volcarona muttered. Her voice was deep for a female and sounded world weary as if this job was exhausting to her.

"No difference in behaviour again? That's too bad." Emolga said sadly, "I wish that one day, I could fly back home and tell him that his old partner has returned."

"I wish too." Volcarona agreed, "I yearn for the day I can say to Zeraora, "I am honoured to announce that you may finally go free and return home". But we're fooling ourselves. He's a lost cause. He'll NEVER reform…" she sighed.

"I feel the same way." Emolga said grimly, "But if master Mustard thinks there's a chance he'll reform, then we shouldn't give up on him."

"I admire his optimism. If only I shared it." Volcarona said bluntly, "Nevertheless, he's still as secure as ever and his behaviour hasn't changed. You may leave and give Mustard your report."

"Okie Dokie!" Emolga said with a cheerful salute, "Oh, and today's the start of a new term for his dojo. It may interest you to know that one of Champion Ruby's sisters is joining us for this term!"

Volcarona nodded with interest.

"Is that so…?" she purred, "Mustard's certainly going to enjoy tutoring that one. One of the Champion's sisters…I never thought we'd get a visit from one of them."

"Same here, so this'll be exciting!" the electric flying-squirrel said eagerly, "Mustard even thinks she may become the next Armour Warrior!"

"The Armour Warrior that'll rise up and defeat Zeraora should he ever become a threat…" Volcarona mused aloud, "I'd be interested to hear if she passes the trials. Hopefully, she won't need to face Zeraora as the Armour Warrior."

"With how everything looks ship-shape, I don't think she'll have to worry about him." Emolga said optimistically, "I'll see you all later!"

She scuttled up through the tunnel and climbed up out of the den so she could glide back home and give her report. As soon as she'd gone, Volcarona turned to look at the huge metallic capsule that stood at the end of the cave. The capsule contained Zeraora. It was a feat of engineering and mechanics, the perfect prison to hold the Legendary Pokémon. It was not only solidly built, but if Zeraora tried to use his electrical powers to try and break free, he'd only be giving the capsule a power boost as it ran on electricity. The capsule was tiny on the inside with no room for Zeraora to move. There were wires attached to his arms that were programmed to fire a sedative drug into him if he tried to break out. He'd tried once and that was enough to convince him he was a sitting Psyduck. And so for the twelve years that had passed, he'd sat and waited in this capsule, only able to silently watch from the Plexiglas window as the guards patrolled the area, keeping very close watch on him.

"You hear that, Zeraora?" Volcarona crowed, "One of Champion Ruby's sisters is visiting the Isle of Armour. I bet she's a very powerful trainer. I bet if you tried to escape, she'd defeat you soundly and make you wish you'd stayed in here. So if I were you, I'd accept your fate and give up any hopes of freedom."

Zeraora ignored her. He had nothing to say to the Pokémon in charge of his incarceration. Volcarona turned away, seeing there was no point in taunting him if he wasn't going to respond. She flew off to resume her patrol. As soon as she'd gone, Zeraora's eyes narrowed as he mulled over what he'd heard. So Mustard had a new student who was related to the current Champion? And he had high hopes for her? If that was the case, he'd show his old master that no student would protect him from his wrath. Armour Warrior or not, he would get revenge. He just needed an opportune moment to escape. He couldn't see any way out now, but he knew that an opportunity would come. It was just a matter of when…


Back on the Isle of Armour, Sapphire and Klara arrived at the Master Dojo. To Klara, it was no big deal as she'd been here before whereas Sapphire was impressed upon getting to see it up close for the first time. She'd seen the pictures in many books she'd read about the place, as well as on the island's website, and yet none of them could do it just. The dojo looked grand, majestic even despite only being a single storey high. The Japanese style architecture certainly helped give it that appearance. It looked antiquated, like it belonged in a different time period, which made the Isle of Armour the perfect place to put it as it well at home with the beautiful island habitat and not any of the modern metropolises on the mainland. It was very wide and had a shiny golden roof that sparkled in the sunlight. There was a logo on top of the roof shaped like an ursine Pokémon's head with the dojo's emblem in its "mouth". Sapphire wondered what Pokémon the logo resembled as it didn't look like any she'd seen before.

"Wow…it's quite a place." Sapphire said with admiration.

Klara ignored her and sauntered on through the doors, leaving Sapphire to continue admiring the dojo for a minute. She was about to follow the Poison Gym Leader in until something on the roof caught her eye. She looked up. Was it her imagination, or had something been standing there…watching her? She thought she saw a flash of grey and white but by the time she'd looked up, it had gone. Sapphire put a finger to her lips in confusion. Had she actually seen anything or was the heat of the island getting to her?

"Meh, I was probably imagining that logo moved or something." she dismissed.

Sapphire went through the doors and found herself in the Master Dojo itself. She was greeted with the sight of a wide, open hall with neat wooden floors, a marked arena for Pokémon battles that was blue and green in colour, four thick pillars that held the roof up and pictures of Japanese symbols hung on the walls. There was gym equipment from punching bags to weights for the students to use if they so wished as the dojo was a place for them to exercise as well as their Pokémon. There were no other students here as Sapphire and Klara had been the first to arrive. Mustard was standing in the centre of the hall with a strikingly attractive young woman beside him. The woman looked to be in her thirties with sparkling blue eyes, turquoise eyeshadow and brown hair with two points sweeping over either side of her forehead. She wore a green top that had holes in the sides and had shoulder openings, grey jeans and green high-heeled shoes. She also wore green earrings. Sapphire thought she looked very warm and friendly, the kind of woman who was everyone's mother and treated everyone like they were her own children.

Speaking of children, Sapphire noticed there was one with Mustard and the woman. The boy looked about ten with short brown hair, blue eyes and a look of pure disinterest as if he didn't want to be here. He was dressed in a pink jumper that sported the same ursine-Pokémon face Sapphire had seen on the dojo's roof, only this logo was blue and white and had no emblem in its mouth. He also wore brown shorts, brown shoes and had white socks he wore up to his knees. He regarded Sapphire with a look that suggested he didn't think much of her. Sapphire wondered if he was capable of even emoting. This boy made Marnie look cheerful by comparison! So who were these two people? Sapphire imagined the woman was Mustard's daughter and the boy was probably his grandson. Mustard and the woman both smiled warmly at the two girls.

"Ah, here you are!" the elderly dojo master said jovially, "Klara, I'm glad you're here again for another term. I hope you'll put more effort into your training this time around."

Although he'd said it as a joke, Klara flinched as if it had been a personal insult.

"And you must be Sapphire Silverlock." Mustard acknowledged, turning to Sapphire, "Can I say it's a true honour to have one of the Champion's sisters joining my dojo?"

He bowed to Sapphire, making her shift uncomfortably.

"P-please d-don't sir, I d-don't want to be treated like a big shot just because I'm related to Ruby." Sapphire said sheepishly, "Just treat me like any other student, OK?"

"Completely understandable, young lady." Mustard said sympathetically, "I hope you enjoy your stay, Sapphire. I'm the Dojo Master, Mustard." he introduced, "This here is the Dojo Matron, and also my darling wife, Honey." he motioned to the woman, "And this is our son, Hyde." he motioned to the boy.

"Welcome. I'll be looking after you and the other students while you're here." Honey said sweetly.

"Hi." Hyde muttered as if this was something he'd been told to say, not because he wanted to.

Sapphire stared incredulously at Honey. Then she turned back to Mustard.

"Wait, Honey is your WIFE?!" she exclaimed, "Oh my gosh…I thought she was your daughter or something! Looking at you two, I never would've said you were a couple! Oh crap, was that rude? I bet I've offended you both now…" she stammered feebly, "Sorry about that! I really shouldn't say what I'm thinking at times like this!"

Mustard didn't seem offended. The smile never left his face.

"Don't sweat about it, dear. We get that a lot." he said dismissively, "The age gap between us may be large, but our love couldn't be greater." he said, looking up lovingly at his wife.

"Not in front of the new student, dear." Honey teased, patting him on the shoulder.

The couple giggled. Sapphire could see that, as unusual as this couple may be, they loved each other very much. If anyone could prove that age wasn't a problem in a relationship, it was these two. How did they meet, fall in love and get married? Sapphire would like to find out but she decided she'd ask that question another time.

"Anyway, we'll make sure you feel right at home here on my little island." Mustard continued, "Today, you may have time to yourself to familiarize yourself with the island and, if you so choose, catch any Pokémon. You'll agree that there is a lot of different species to choose from here so I'm sure you'll find a favourite or two. Be sure to be back here at six PM for dinner time. Come tomorrow, the trials will begin. I'm sure you'll fit right into the dojo, young Sapphire!" he concluded cheerfully.

"Thank you very much, sir." Sapphire said, bowing politely, "I'm nervous but I'm mostly excited to get started. I think I'm going to have a good time here."

"Excellent!" Honey said brightly, "You two are free to go now. And don't worry about your suitcases, I'll take them to your rooms for you. Have a nice day and we'll see you all later."

"You too, Honey." Sapphire replied.

"Yeah, see you later." Klara added.

The two left the dojo while Honey sought to their suitcases. Klara immediately set off to do some training of her own. Sapphire was OK with that as she didn't exactly want to spend the afternoon with her. As soon as the pink-haired girl had left, Sapphire took out a guide to the Isle of Armour that she had in her backpack and studied it closely.

"OK, Brawler's Cave will be my first visit." she deduced, "Hopefully, I can find a Druddigon there as that's where they live on this island. Ashley will certainly be excited to see me catch one of those! And Potbottom Desert is not far after the cave so I'll drop there next and work my way around to the other locations. Good thing Ruby lent me that Rotom Bike so travelling this place will be easier!"

She got out the Rotom bike and pedalled off to find Brawler's Cave. The bike had been given to Ruby as a gift for stopping Team Yell from harassing the man who made it last year. Ruby knew Sapphire would need a quick way to travel around the island so she'd lent it to her for this trip. Following the map, Sapphire pedalled over a hill and through the Soothing Wetlands. She could see huge Bouffalants with their trademark fuzzy afros and large horns grazing and Chewtles and Drednaws enjoying a soak in huge puddles of muddy water as she cycled through. She turned to the right and headed towards a cave entrance nearby. This was where she needed to be. Sapphire put the bike aside the wall and walked into the cave. Brawler's Cave was so-called because a lot of particularly strong Pokémon liked to live her and often held big brawls to determine who was the strongest. It was also much cooler in here than it was outside, which gave Sapphire a momentary break from the heat. Sapphire knew what species she would find here. She wasn't at all surprised to see Poliwag and Poliwrath walking around with a couple of them flexing and comparing muscle sizes. Timid Whismur and noisy Loudred made their homes here too and even some Psyduck were waddling around, clutching their heads as usual. But Sapphire spotted the Pokémon she was looking for. A female Druddigon was just up a slope punching at a pillar. The Druddigon appeared to be very strong for it had punched the pillar a few times and left several cracks in it. Was it beefing itself up by testing how strong it was? If so, that training was clearly paying off.

Sapphire climbed the slope and approached the Druddigon slowly so as not to surprise her. The Dragon-type Pokémon didn't notice as she continued punching the pillar furiously. Her scaly fist slammed hard into the rock solid pillar, leaving more cracks in it. Sapphire was amazed she wasn't hurting herself by doing this. The Druddigon was clearly very tolerant of pain, or at least very endurable. Last time she'd seen this particular species, she'd been battling against Ashley in the semi-finals of the Pokémon League. Her Druddigon had been a very powerful Pokémon thanks to its Sheer Force ability boosting some of its moves. She would be glad to have one of her own. Sapphire coughed to catch the Druddigon's attention. The draconian Pokémon turned around and narrowed her eyes.

"Oh…it's just a human." she muttered, her voice deep with a slight growl edging her words, "Do you mind? I'm busy training right now."

"Sorry, I was just passing by and I saw you punching that pillar so I wanted to find out what you're doing that for." Sapphire replied.

"Oh this? This is my equivalent of that exercise you humans call a "punching bag"." the Druddigon explained, "I've seen people in that dojo place they go to punch at some sort of bag and it's supposed to help them get stronger. I thought this rock pillar would be adequate for me and as you can see, it's been helping quite a lot."

She flexed her long arms. Sapphire could see that punching this pillar was beefing the Druddigon up a lot for her biceps were thicker than the average Druddigon's. She could imagine this Pokémon snapping telephone poles in half with ease.

"Why do you want to get stronger?" Sapphire asked curiously.

"You're an inquisitive human, aren't you?" the Druddigon said, sounding amused, "That's just the way of life in Brawler's Cave. If you want your home here, you need to be strong to keep out the riffraff. I've been pushed around by Poliwrath that think they own the place and now it's time that I fought back!" she growled.

Sapphire understood. In the wild, Pokémon would have to compete for territory. It was just part of nature.

"Well…if you don't mind, I have something that will put your strength to good use." she suggested, "You see, I'm actually a Pokémon trainer and I was hoping you'd like to come with me. I'll train you to be very strong and no Pokémon will ever push you around again! That is…if you want to."

The Druddigon's scaly face lit up with interest.

"You're a trainer?" she mused, "That is most unexpected, but interesting too. I don't see many trainers come through here. So you'd like to help me get stronger by being my trainer?"

"I'd love to!" Sapphire insisted, "I actually battled a Druddigon at the Pokémon League last month and it was really powerful! I'd love to have a Druddigon for myself and train it to be as strong as the one I battled."

The Druddigon mulled this over for a minute. If this human girl wanted to help her get stronger, than why not join her? Being a trainer's Pokémon might be fun too. She lowered her head as if inviting Sapphire to give her a pat.

"If you'll help me achieve my full strength…then I'll happily be your Pokémon." the Dragon-type Pokémon offered, "I'd be thrilled to see what kind of strength a trainer like you possesses."

Sapphire beamed with delight and patted the Druddigon's head excitedly.

"Thank you very much! I'm glad to have you!" she squealed ecstatically, "I know we're going to be great friends, you and me! I promise you, you'll be the strongest Druddigon on this island when I'm finished! Welcome to the team, Kagami!"

"I beg your pardon? What's a "Kagami"?" the Druddigon asked quizzically.

"Oh, it's the nickname I'm giving you. Do you like it?" Sapphire asked.

"So humans like to name their Pokémon…I never knew that." Kagami murmured, "Kagami sounds like a nice name for me…so Kagami it is. I look forward to my training, master." she said with a bow.

"Oh no, none of that master stuff! I'm your trainer, not your master." Sapphire insisted, "You don't have to call me anything like that anyway. My name is Sapphire and that's all you need."

"Very well, Sapphire." Kagami replied, "When do we begin training?"

"Soon. I'm going to explore more of the island and catch some more Pokémon, then we'll begin." Sapphire explained.

She got out an empty Pokéball and used it to catch Kagami, officially making her her's to own. Upon capture, Sapphire used the Pokédex app on her phone to see what this particular Druddigon was like. To her amazement and delight, this Druddigon had the Sheer Force ability, just like Ashley's did! That made Kagami an even more special catch! She could already imagine the look on her girlfriend's face when she heard this. She'd have to give her a move set that would complement Kagami's ability when she trained her.

Now that was done, Sapphire got back onto her bike and cycled out of Brawler's Cave. The exit took her through the Training Lowlands, a grassy area with trees and a stone staircase leading up to Challenge Road. Sapphire could see one of the two towers standing at the top of Challenge Road. It was five storeys high and Sapphire could make out some pinkish red tiles on the roof, a long banner waving in the wind and what appeared to be the same ursine Pokémon logo she'd seen on the Master Dojo protruded from the very top. Sapphire had read about it. This was the Tower of Darkness, one of two towers built on the Isle of Armour. The second tower was the Tower of Water. Supposedly, a trainer who was given the secret armour could unlock its full power by visiting either tower. What was in there and how did these towers unlock the armour's full power? That was classified information so no book on the island she'd read could tell her. Leon didn't know either as his poor sense of direction had left him unable to even find the towers.

"I wonder what secrets you contain…" Sapphire murmured as she stared up at the tower.

She turned away and continued to cycle. Maybe she'd find out for herself if she was to obtain the secret armour. Sapphire cycled through the lowlands and headed straight through Warm-Up Tunnel. It was a straight forward tunnel with a side path that led to a dead-end. Sandshrew and Cubone often made their homes in this tunnel and she cycled past a few of them on her way through. Potbottom Desert awaited her on the other side but before she entered, something caught her eye and the teen trainer stopped to have a look at it. Growing in a cluster from one of the walls was a trio of mushrooms, but not like any mushrooms Sapphire had seen before. They were pink and red in colour and had grown very large. It was unusual to see mushrooms growing in a tunnel. What on Earth were they? Sapphire dismissed them and jumped off her bike. She rested it against the wall of the tunnel and headed out into the desert.

Potbottom Desert was true to its name. It was a large sandy wasteland with dried up dead trees dotted around and lots of sand blowing about. The heat of the island felt much worse here than any other part of it, as if the desert itself was trapping the heat to keep it from going anywhere. Sapphire wiped her forehead. She hoped not to spend too long in this part of the island. Her eyes scanned the area for any signs of Pokémon. She could see a pair of Rhyperior playing catch with each other, a Marowak throwing its bone for presumably target practice and some Torkoal basking in the head of the sun. Gym Leader Kabu had supposedly caught his Torkoal here. It didn't surprise Sapphire that a lot of Ground-type Pokémon lived here. What better habitat for them to live in than a desert area? She continued to look around until something popped up from underneath the sand and startled her.

"G'day mate!" it said in a cheery, female voice.

It was a Sandile, a Dark/Ground type Pokémon first discovered in the Unova region. It was yet another species exclusive to the Isle of Armour so not many Galarians had the chance to catch one. Sandile looked like baby crocodiles with brown scales, black circular bands around their bodies and tail tip, a pink underbelly and round eyes that resembled shaded binoculars. The black around the eyes was a membrane that stopped sand getting in its eyes and allowed it to see in bright sunlight. Sapphire beamed delightedly. Upon reading about Pokémon native to the Isle of Armour, she'd declared that she'd catch a Sandile and add one to the team. They grew very powerful when they evolved and Sapphire thought one would make a nice addition to her roster. She knelt down as the Sandile emerged from under the sand and shook itself clean.

"Flippin' heck, you startled me!" Sapphire laughed, "Proper came out of nowhere, didn't you?"

"It's just a little something I do for fun, hide under the sand and pop up and surprise people." the Sandile said impishly, "It's especially funny when I sneak up on a Rhyperior and make them fall over in shock! I didn't scare you too much, did I?" she asked worriedly.

"Nah, you just surprised me, that's all." Sapphire reassured, "Me and my sisters are always making each other jump for a laugh so it's no big deal."

"OK." the Sandile said brightly, "Hey, are you a Pokémon trainer? I bet you're here to catch some Pokémon, aren't you?" she asked inquisitively.

"What gave me away?" Sapphire chuckled. This Sandile was clearly very perceptive if she could figure her out that easily.

"I just saw some Pokéballs hanging around your waist and connected the dots, Shelia." the crocodilian Pokémon said, pointing to the Pokéballs.

Sapphire was impressed. This Sandile was clearly very smart to not only know what Pokéballs were, but associate them with Pokémon trainers. Maybe more trainers came to Potbottom Desert than she thought.

"You're absolutely right, little fella." Sapphire confirmed, "I am a trainer, and I'd very much like to add you to the team. I'd love to have a Sandile as part of my roster. Of course, if you're OK with that."

The Sandile seemed more than happy to join her. Her face lit up with joy.

"Join a real Pokémon trainer?! You don't even need to ask! Of course I'll come!" she squealed eagerly, "I can't tell you how dull life is in this bloody desert. It's all sand and sandstorms and Pokémon throwing rocks and bones at each other. Dullsville if ever there was such a place! I hear that going with Pokémon trainers can be very exciting so I'd love to go! Anything to get away from this place!"

Sapphire smiled sweetly, glad the Sandile was so eager to join her. She would certainly liven this Pokémon's life up by letting her join the team. Her Pokémon had certainly had exciting times with her earlier this year and this Sandile would get to join in the fun! She picked the Sandile up and smiled down at her.

"Then you don't have to stay here any longer. Welcome to the team, Terri." Sapphire said softly.

"Huh? What's Terri? Is that a name you're giving me or something?" the Sandile asked.

"Yes. I just thought since you're a Sandile, it'd be funny to name you after The Krookodile Hunter's wife." the teen girl explained, "I understand if you don't get the joke."

"Oh EVERY Sandile in the world knows about that guy!" Terri replied, "He even came to this every desert one time and had a wrestle with some Krokoroks for fun. Even my dad got a go with him! I never knew he had a wife though but being named after someone related to The Krookodile Hunter sounds fun. Thanks for the name!"

"You're welcome!" Sapphire said, beaming, "I know you and are going to have lots of fun together, Terri."

She put Terri away in a Pokéball she'd reserved just for her. Now she was finished here, she left the desert behind and cycled back through Warm-Up Tunnel. She travelled back through the Training Lowlands and went through the Forest of Focus. This was a beautiful forest area that was a utopia for Grass and Bug-type Pokémon. Sapphire passed by Tangela and Tangrowth that were bundled together eating fruits, some Pinsir and Heracross that were battling one another and some Lilligant that were singing and dancing together. Sapphire made a mental note to explore this place more thoroughly when she was finished compiling her team together as the forest looked very nice from what she could see as she cycled through. She exited the forest and found herself on Challenge Beach.

The beach was so-called because it had once been the battlefield for many challengers. It was home to many Krabby, Kingler, Staryu and Starmie that lay on the sand or scuttled around. Sapphire wondered if this was where Emerald's faithful Starmie, Gemstone, had once lived before she'd won it as a prize in a giveaway contest. To the trainer's surprise, she'd inadvertently found the Tower of Waters upon arriving at this beach. It stood on its own patch of land that was connected to the beach with a thin path that occasionally went underwater in high tide. The tower looked identical to the Tower of Darkness except its roof was blue and the banner it sported had a picture of crashing waves on it. At least Sapphire knew where to find each tower when the time came to visit them. How Leon struggled to find them, she'd never know! She cycled near some patches of grass and jumped off her bike. She took a moment to admire the sea, the gentle waves lapping against the shore and the sun's light shining off the water's surface. Scenes like this was what made nature so wonderful at times. Sapphire almost felt like she could just lie down and sunbathe with the sound of the ocean to put her to sleep. It wouldn't hurt to take a rest for a moment.


Sapphire jumped a foot in the air and spun around. The voice had been an electronic, garbled robot voice speaking in monotone and she quickly saw why that was. The voice had come from a Magnemite, an Electric/Steel type Pokémon first found in the Kanto region and another species exclusive to the Isle of Armour. Magnemite looked like spherical, robotical Pokémon with a single eye, a pair of magnets on each side of its body and three screws, one on top and two on the bottom. They were among the few Pokémon to have no gender. This Magnemite didn't look pleased to see Sapphire. It was pointing its magnets at her, threatening to electrocute her if she looked at it funny.

"I-DENT-I-FY YOUR-SELF!" it barked.

Every time it spoke, its eye flashed in time with its speech. Sapphire couldn't help but be amused despite the fact it was threatening her like this.

"Ha, ha…what are the odds? I find a Dalek in Pokémon form! Emerald's going to get a kick out of this!" she chuckled.

"I-DENT-I-FY!" screeched the Magnemite.

Sapphire held up her hands hastily.

"OK, OK, calm down! No need to be so hostile!" she said frantically, "My name is Sapphire and I'm a Pokémon trainer! I don't mean any harm, honest!"

The Magnemite seemed to accept her story for it lowered its magnets.


"Oh you have? Why?" Sapphire asked curiously.


So this Magnemite was a Pokémon that battled as a way of living? Sapphire felt there were better ways to live and maybe if she caught this Magnemite, she could show it that there was more to life than battles. She'd also been thinking about catching a Magnemite anyway so if this one was just going to offer itself to her, why turn it down?

"In that case, I recruit you…man that sounded awkward." Sapphire said sheepishly, "I guess you can think of me as your "commander" now. With me, you'll have many great battles, but NO exterminating anyone! We battle for sport, not to the death, OK?"

The Magnemite seemed disappointed at this but it didn't question Sapphire's declaration.


"You can just call me Sapphire." Sapphire said softly, "Welcome to the team, Dal."

"IS-THAT-A-DESIG-NATION-ID-FOR-ME?" the Magnemite asked curiously.

"Sure is. See, you sound like a Dalek from Doctor Who so I thought calling you a name that's short for Dalek would be appropriate." Sapphire explained.


Sapphire smiled, glad that things had gone as well as they had done. At least the Magnemite had been reasonable and didn't electrocute her and she now had another great new Pokémon to add to her team! She gave Dal his own Pokéball to go into and she climbed back on the back. She had one last location she wanted to visit and then she'd call it a day. With four new Pokémon to train, it'd be a simple enough start to her time on the Isle of Armour in building up a new team. She would keep James Pond to mentor the group and she'd get her fifth new Pokémon some other time. She knew where to look for her fourth Isle of Armour catch and cycled off straight away to get there.

The last location Sapphire wanted to visit was called Loop Lagoon and luckily for her, she only had to go through Courageous Cavern and take a right turn down a path that led straight to it. The cavern was near where she was already so she didn't have long to cycle until she got there. Loop Lagoon was true to its name, a huge round body of water with a single island standing in the centre. There was a huge opening that led into the sea. Sapphire could see some Gyarados swimming around, effortlessly cruising through the water with their long, serpent like bodies. She also saw some Palossand, a Ghost/Ground type Pokémon resembling a sand castle, standing silently on the sandy shores. Were they waiting for some unfortunate trainer to come near them so they could strike? At least she wasn't going near them. The island in the middle of the lagoon couldn't be reached on foot so Sapphire deployed the bike's water-travel feature so she could get to it. Four floats expanded out from either side of the wheels and Sapphire peddled across the water to the island. Upon reaching the island, she jumped off and took a look around.

"Now if I've read my guide correctly, an Alakazam should be living around here." she murmured, "Catching one of those would be awesome!"

If it is I you seek, young one, you are indeed in the right place.

Sapphire gasped and looked around wildly. Was it her imagination, or had she heard a voice in her head? Then she realized. Of course, Psychic Pokémon could communicate telepathically.

"You're here, aren't you?" Sapphire asked.

I am. And I know that you've come for me, child.

Sapphire turned and saw the very Pokémon she'd come to find floating down from a nearby rock. She hadn't seen it as the Alakazam had been rather high up. It floated down in a meditative stance, looking like it was at peace with the world while also flying. Sapphire thought it looked surprisingly graceful the way it just floated down to the ground without moving a muscle. Alakazam were Psychic-type Pokémon first discovered in the Kanto region and notorious for being some of the most powerful Pokémon of that typing. They were yellow and brown in colour with long pointy ears and a long droopy moustache. This Alakazam was clearly male for female Alakazams had smaller moustaches. They had three fingers and three toes with two toes pointing forward and one pointing behind. They held a silver spoon in each hand, a tool that acted as an amplified for their psychic powers. The Alakazam stood up and opened its eyes. Sapphire stood still, worried that if she made any sudden movements, it would flee.

"Hello, young one." the Psychic Pokémon said, his actual speaking voice grandiose and full of wisdom. Every word he said echoed as if more than one person was talking at a time.

"H-h-hello." Sapphire said shyly, "So…you kn-know why I'm here n-no doubt."

"Of course. A Pokémon with my kind of power never misses a trick, especially with what goes on in the mind." the Alakazam purred, "I was reading your thoughts the moment you arrived in this tranquil lagoon. You wish to recruit one of my kind for your Pokémon roster."

"Yes, yes I do." Sapphire confirmed, "You…don't have a problem with that, do you?"

The Alakazam shook his head.

"It's only natural for a trainer to seek a Pokémon with power like an Alakazam's." the yellow-and-brown creature acknowledged, "But I warn you, child…I do not accept just ANYONE as my trainer. If you wish to recruit me, you must prove you are worthy."

"How do I do that?" Sapphire asked nervously, "Do you want me to defeat you in a battle or something?"

"Correct." Alakazam said, "If you can defeat me, you will prove yourself worthy. Be warned…I am not an easy opponent to defeat."

"Knowing you, you can probably read the opponent's mind and anticipate their moves." Sapphire murmured, "I accept your challenge. I'm sure I can win."

She prepared to reach for a Pokéball. She knew that the Alakazam was no doubt reading her mind and anticipating what Pokémon she was going to use. But maybe there was a way she could catch him off-guard? Trick him with a false thought? She grabbed her Pokéball, the Alakazam smirking confidently.

"Choosing your first ever Pokémon to face me? I suppose it's the most logical choice." he crooned, "It may have the strength you need."

"You keep out my head, cheater." Sapphire retorted, "James Pond, shining time!"

She threw the Pokéball…but it wasn't James who came out of the Pokéball. The Alakazam gasped incredulously as instead, Terri emerged from the Pokéball! The crocodile-like Pokémon looked up with a cutesy smile.

"G'day mate!" she said cheerfully.

"Inconceivable! You tricked me!" Alakazam exclaimed, "But I'd anticipated your move! How did…"

"Oh it's very simple." Sapphire crowed, "You see, I let you THINK I was going to choose James Pond by having that thought in my head, but I reached for Terri's Pokéball instead while fooling you into thinking it was a different Pokémon by thinking of James over and over. And I've beaten you before this battle's even started because Terri's half-Dark type, which means you can't do anything to her!" she gloated, "Dark types are immune to Psychic types so you're stuck unable to fight back while Terri can do what she likes! I'd say you're stalemated, mate!"

Alakazam was impressed. For a girl so young, she had a very sharp mind. No trainer he'd met before had ever outsmarted him like this! Sapphire was right, he only knew Psychic-type moves so he couldn't attack Terri in any way thanks to her typing making her immune to Psychic attacks. Why try to fight when he was against an opponent he couldn't do anything to? He nodded and held up his hands.

"It would seem I am defeated, not through brute strength, but sheer cunning and intelligence." he said, no hint of disappointment in his voice whatsoever. He actually sounded proud of Sapphire that she'd beaten him in such a way, "Intelligence like yours has proven you're more than worthy of recruiting me into your team. Well played, Sapphire. I am now your Pokémon as your reward."

"Wow, that's a nice prize!" Terri said gladly.

"Thank you very much." Sapphire said graciously, "And I'm glad you're not sore over losing the way you did. I hope you'll enjoy being my Pokémon."

"If anything, I'm intrigued to see more of your brainpower." the Alakazam said with a smile on his face, "Bright minds always fascinate me so."

"I wouldn't say I'm that smart but OK…" Sapphire said, blushing with pleasure, "Now then, a name. Given how mysterious Psychic type Pokémon can be, I'll call you…"

"Mysterio?" the Alakazam interrupted, "I knew that already. I practically saw that name dancing in your head before we met. I like it. It makes me sound terrifically wise and mysterious. I'll take it."

"Glad you like it!" Sapphire said brightly, "With me as your trainer Mysterio, I'll teach you many new moves, including ones that'll give you a way to deal with Dark types." she added, winking.

"Now that I like the sound of." Mysterio purred.

Sapphire beamed. She'd found the last Pokémon she'd intended to catch for today. With a Druddigon, a Sandile, a Magnemite and an Alakazam, she had a neat selection of new Pokémon to train. She was looking forward to training them and using whatever new and creative strategies she could think of to bring them great success in battle. She had a couple of hours left before dinner time so she would start training until then.

Then tomorrow, she could prepare herself for the Isle of Armour's first trial, whatever that may be. Sapphire would conquer it and no one, not even Klara, would stop her…


Pokémon obtained: Kagami the Druddigon: Gender: Female. Nature: Impish. Ability: Sheer Force (removes secondary effects for extra power)

Terri the Sandile: Gender: Female. Nature: Calm. Ability: Moxie (Attack boosts whenever she knocks a Pokemon out)

Dal the Magnemite: Gender: N/A. Nature: Rash. Ability: Sturdy (It can't be knocked out in one-hit)

Mysterio the Alakazam: Gender: Male. Nature: Gentle. Ability: Synchronize (causes opponents to get the same status conditions it receives)

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