Good Training
by Leto

Trainers that stop by here think Master is a bad trainer. I don't really know; I haven't known anything else.

But isn't a trainer's job to get their Pokemon as strong as possible? If that's so, Master is a good trainer.

The whip hurt at first. But then I got used to it, and now I'm glad for it. I don't feel it now. Similarly, I barely feel a vine whip. A tackle, a quick attack, a peck. Trifles.

The water, the swimming, I was terrified of it at first. Ground Pokemon are not supposed to go near water. Everyone knows that. But now I'm used to it. My skin has toughened against it. Bubble, water gun, surf? Give it your best shot. I've swam in this stuff a million times.

Having a trainer was hard at first. Going from foraging for food and raising my family, to being whipped and shouted at and ordered to use the powers I usually just used in self defense. The reason Sandshrew have good defense is so we don't have to fight.

But now I fight. I suppose I enjoy it, really. Any Pokemon does, it's inbred into all of us, but not all of us discover it. So I suppose it was a good thing for me to get a trainer.

We live in a gym in the middle of the forest. Sometimes I want so much to go back into the forest, go back into freedom. Be free of rules and Pokeballs and orders and restrictions.

I would never run away. Now that I'm so used to fighting hard, I don't think I could leave peacefully any more. But I do often wonder what Master thinks of me.

Does he like me? Does he like any of us? He's just a tamer of wild Pokemon, I heard that said about him. Have I been tamed? I feel wilder and stronger than I did before.

But these 'wonderful' taming and training techniques... maybe they're good, but are they what's best for us? Really?

Because, why should I have to get used to water? Other trainers don't do that, they just send out a different type. Do I have to have strengths against every type? I mean, sure, it's fine NOW, but I really hated water... when I couldn't swim, he'd throw me into the pool and tell me to just try harder, even when I could hardly breathe, he'd say that.

Maybe once, I would like to lose, just to see what would happen. What Master's response'd be.

I won't lose, of course. I can't, by now. But I do want to lose, because it would prove that there's a better trainer than Master out there. Maybe even that Master's training techniques are not necessary. I don't like them, even if they helped me.


Ash stared at AJ and his Sandshrew. He couldn't believe that Sandshrew would prefer to go with AJ, even after all that.

He didn't know that Sandshrew was wondering if AJ was glad to have it back because he cared about it, or because he needed someone to win battles for him.

And he didn't notice Sandshrew glancing back at him anxiously.

Wishing this trainer, who obviously cared about his Pokemon, could have beaten it.

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