by Leto
Part 12

I stepped cautiously into the gym.

"Tay? Tay?"

There were a few potplants here and there, and a number of crates and cardboard boxes. Apart from that, the stadium was bare. There were not even any bleachers.

Just an empty, echoey room.

"A dump," scoffed Kerra, behind me, "I've seen better, like every gym I've been to!"

"At least it fits in with the general tone of the town," grinned Terri.

"Not much moss though."

"Yeah, and the roof hasn't fallen in yet."

The two laughed, but I wasn't really paying attention. I noticed that in the corner of the room were several Pokemon League posters, half rolled up.

The place was deserted. As I thought that, a voice made me jump. I was sick of voices making me jump.

"Aurora, you came."

"Of course I did. I challenge you to a Pokemon battle!"

"Good. Fight hard, this will be a good match. It has to be. I think it is good to go out with a bang."

"Go out? What do you mean?"

He gestured to the boxes by the walls.

"Look at this place," he said, "nobody comes any more. The Pokemon League is shutting us down. I have not had any challenger in weeks."

"That's - that's not fair! What will happen to you?"

"I will have to leave this city. The Pokemon Center will be taken down after the gym is gone, and my Pokemon can not be left to do nothing."

"They can't do that! The Pokemon League can't do that!"

"They are doing that. I can not complain."

"Why? Why can't you complain? This is your city! Without the gym, what will happen to it?"

"It has already been forgotten. Aurora, it does not matter, do not excite yourself."

"Don't you CARE?!"

"It is not relevent."

"Do you? Answer me!"

He turned his head slightly, his expression further darkening.

"I care. Now, let's battle. You choose how many Pokemon to use."

"You can't just let it go like that! Tay, what about -"

"Choose how many."

I sighed. I didn't understand this guy. "Two on two."

"Then, let us begin."

My friends and their Pokemon moved respectfully to one side, and I faced Taylor. I was eager to battle, and I wasn't sure if he wanted me to win or lose. But my Pokemon would want to win, so I did too.

"Battle begins... I choose Beedrill."

"Okay then, go Omanyte!"

He stared. "Now, even I have not seen one of THOSE."

"Everyone seems to say that," I sighed, "water gun, Omanyte!"

"Beedrill, uh, twineedle attack!"

The two Pokemon began to clash, but I do not think Taylor was sure how to face an Omanyte.

"Pin missile!"

The bee glowed and shot a volley of spikes at Omanyte, who rolled awkwardly out of the way, only to be hit by a second barrage.

"Nii," it squealed, as spikes peppered it and cut into its shell.

"Get it, Omanyte! Withdraw!"

My Pokemon jumped up and threw itself at Beedrill, spinning as it flew. Beedrill glared at the oncoming, and treated it as one would a frisbee - turned sharply, whacked it with its stinger, and sent it flying back. I just managed to duck as Omanyte went flying into the wall behind me.

Omanyte hissed slightly and righted itself, before scuttling back towards its opponent.

"Good tenacity," I encouraged.

"Time for technique, to counter tenacity. Rage, Beedrill."

I looked to my friends. "Technique? What's that?"

Terri gritted her teeth. "It's going to get more and more powerful the more you battle it! Be really careful, Aurora!"

"Hah," added Kerra, "if you can knock it out right away, it won't get the chance!"


Beedrill flew at Omanyte, waving its spears menacingly.

"Omanyte! Give it your best water gun! Keep water gunning until something happens!"

"Do not falter, Beedrill."

Beedrill flew desperately through the fountain of water, trying to obey, but finally fell, buzzing pitifully.

"Return, Beedrill. Now I will choose Scyther."

I recalled Omanyte. "Go, Clefairy!"

I heard Kerra groan audibly. I ignored him. Clefairy appeared, gave me the thumbs up, and whistled enthusiastically... until it saw its opponent.

"Fairy," it sighed, but waited for an order nonetheless.

"Scyther, quick attack."

"Clefairy, pound!"

Scyther zipped across the arena so fast I could hardly see it, and tackled Clefairy hard.

"While it recovers, sword's dance," said Tay calmly.

"Clefairy, get up! Sing!"

Clefairy did get up, but the sing dissolved into a fit of choking, as it was clearly in some pain.

"Totally outmatched," I heard Kerra mutter.

"Well, underdogs can win too," I muttered, ignoring the weird behaviour of the opponent - it was dancing awkwardly around Clefairy.

"Come on," I urged, "get 'em with double slap!"

"Scyther, slash."

Kerra buried his head in his hands, as Clefairy ran right into Scyther - only to be scythed HARD, and sent head over heels right into my arms.

"Cleffers, are you okay?"

"Fairy," it choked out.

"I guess we lost," I sighed. Clefairy seemed near unconsciousness.

"I am impressed your Clefairy could survive even that," said Tay, "but you fought well."

"Clefairy," scowled my Pokemon. "Clefairy fairy! Fairy!"

"What is it saying, Aurora?"

"It lost the last battle it fought. I think it is stubborn and wants to beat you."

Clefairy stuck its tongue out at me, before leaping out of my arms, facing the Scyther again.

"Aurora," said Terri urgently, "it's suicide to let Clefairy fight in that condition."

"Suicide to let that weak runt fight in any condition," added Kerra, rolling his eyes impatiently.

Clefairy's red cheeks almost seemed to spark as it glared at Kerra.

"If it wants to fight," I said firmly, "I won't argue with it. It should try its hardest until it's satisfied."

"You are not a fool," said Tay, "or perhaps you are."

Clefairy began to wave its small arms in the air, chanting its name. I didn't understand what it was saying, but I didn't think it was important. Scyther followed the movement of its arms as if hypnotised.

And then I realised that Clefairy's cheeks really WERE sparking. A few seconds later, the room was lit with a brilliant light - lightning, I realised dimly, as I stepped back - and loud thunder. Terrific brilliant bolts shot around Clefairy and Scyther, shielding both from sight.

When the light faded, a crater had formed in the floor of the gym, and Scyther lay, completely unconscious.

I stared.

"What... what was that?"

"Metronome," said Kerra, sounding impressed. "You sure caught a lucky break then."

I didn't know what he was talking about, but I decided I'd just look it up later. Through some miracle - or just amazing advantage - I'd beaten another gym leader.

"Fairy," whispered Clefairy, happily. I picked it up and patted it gently.

"You did great," I said.

"That was a good match, Aurora," said Tay, recalling his Scyther. "I am quite amazed that your Clefairy survived, let alone won."

Clefairy smirked.

"So, I suppose that you have won the final Scarabadge that will ever be produced."

"Scarab badge..."

He held out a pale green badge shaped like a beetle. I accepted it gratefully and pinned it onto my backpack with the Cascadebadge.


We were going to leave Lime City, but I was reluctant. Pokemon journies were new angles on things - adventures, worlds where there were heroes. I could be a hero. I felt like I should do SOMETHING to help Taylor. And I felt like he secretly wanted help. But he didn't ask for any.

He closed the last box as he finished packing, and began taping it down. The look on his face - calm resignation - made me want to do something.

"This is your home, isn't it," I said. He nodded wordlessly and bit his lip as he concentrated on holding the box, holding the flap down, cutting the tape and stretching it out all at the same time.

"I really think you should fight back. Get some publicity for this city or something."

"And how," he said, holding his foot against the box, "do you propose I do that?"

"Something to attract the media. Something that will show people that Pokemon training is not dead in this city. Something that will show people it IS worthwhile to keep Pokemon spirit alive here, and the gym legacy continuing."

"It is too late, Aurora," he said tiredly.

He finished the box and looked at his empty gym.

"Pokemon training IS dead here."

"But if you earned the title of gym leader, how can they just take that away? You earned it!"

"Stop overreacting, Aurora."

"Stop underreacting, Tay."

"I will bring a reputation back to this city. Good luck on your journey."

He took one last look behind him, before walking away. I still did not understand him, but I began a respect for him.


"Bug Pokemon," scoffed Kerra, as we continued on our way, "no wonder you won that battle!"

"I bet you just don't like bug Pokemon because they beat all your grass types, riiiight Kerra?" grinned Terri.

"Oh, I'm really sure."

"Hehehehhh, I would like to see you challenge! Go Vileplume, or something, and then a Beedrill goes, takes all the pollen, so you can't do any spore attacks. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Beedrill don't like Vileplume pollen," said Kerra, a know-it-all look on his face, "it poisons them. In fact, it is dangerous to anyone."

"Um, guys," I ventured, "where are we going now?"

"Wherever the road takes us," said Terri, with a bright smile - as usual.

That uncertainty was somehow a security.

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