Edit 22.07.2016: Note: This chapter's events take place approximately around the same time as the twentieth through the twenty-second episodes of the Ruby and Sapphire series of the anime.


The Ball clicked and stilled.

After retrieving it, Brendan took out his Pokédex to check it once more. "That's Geodude. How are you two holding up?" He glanced at his two companions with a smile; Splash and Ivy, whom had since evolved into a Nuzleaf, each emanated a ray of confidence. And in good measure, after all they had helped their Trainer earn two badges thus far.

Now, Brendan and his Pokémon were doing a bit of catching and training against the wild Pokémon in Dewford cave. He had just recently caught a Makuhita and a Geodude. When he was done for the day, he was planning on sending his new Pokémon back to his father's lab. So far, his main team consisted only of Splash and Ivy.

Brendan wandered around the dimly lit cave. He had to admit, it was a perfect habitat for all kinds of nocturnal Pokémon, but he was glad for the light sources nonetheless – small lanterns strung up by miners and explorers along the rocky walls. It did give the cave a slight sense of eeriness, though…

As the boy and his two Pokémon were just coming around a bend in the cave, he noticed something up ahead. There was a small steel type Pokémon munching on some loose rocks at the base of a steep slope.

Brendan was too absorbed in the Pokémon to notice where he was going, and suddenly lost his footing. His Pokémon panicked as they tried to safely catch up to him.


In a whir of browns and grays, Brendan felt his face slam right up against the solid rock wall in front of the wild Pokémon, but not before tripping over said Pokémon with his foot. He was going to feel that for a month. Mudkip and Nuzleaf tumbled behind him, each in turn smacking into the now-disturbed steel type and then falling in different directions.

"Heh, heh… Sorry about that, Aron…" Brendan rubbed his head, smiling sheepishly at the little Pokémon, whom was sending a rather upset glare at its three intruders.

It looked as if it was accusing them, gave a small roar, and began digging its foreleg into the ground. Brendan held his arms up, backing away slowly. "We really didn't mean anything by it, little guy!"

The Aron charged at its nearest target, slamming into Mudkip with its armored body powerfully, sending the little water type sprawling across the rocky floor of the cavern. "Splash!" Brendan called his starter, and then turned to Nuzleaf when Aron changed direction as well, "Alright, buddy! Use Razor Leaf to stop it!"

Nuzleaf nodded, sharpening the leaf on its head, and then swinging it like a knife down onto the Aron when it got too close. It seemed to do decent damage.

However, when Brendan took a closer look, the Aron had apparently used a last-minute Harden to raise its defense. "Dang it! That's a fast-thinking Pokémon…" He muttered to himself as Aron's boosted armor faded, and it huffed, annoyed.

Aron began to charge at Nuzleaf.

Brendan turned, "Splash, Mud-Slap!" The Mudkip shot out a forceful jet of water aimed at the ground in front of Aron, loosening the rocky soil and splashing up in the wild Pokémon's face.

Aron abruptly halted its assault, closing its eyes and trying to shake the mud from its face. In the process, it was doing a sort of reckless flailing about, charging in all directions. Nuzleaf jumped out of the way quickly, while Mudkip was ordered to aim a Water Gun at the ground again. This time, it slickened up the ground and caused Aron to lose its footing and fall flat on its face.

"Ivy, Razor Leaf again! Splash, Water Gun!" Brendan commanded both of his Pokémon flawlessly, determined to calm the upset Pokémon down.

Though, it was kind of his fault…

Nuzleaf sharpened its leaf again, and swung it through the air, landing an attack on the Aron's back. Mudkip came up from the front, in the same instance, and shot a jet of water in Aron's face.

Thinking of no other way to calm it down, Brendan shuffled through his bag, and brought out a Luxury Ball that his mom had sent him in a care-package back when he was in Rustboro. He figured now was as good a time as any, and maybe the extra comfort of this particular Ball would allow Aron to forgive him easier.

Standing up, Brendan threw the Luxury Ball at the downed steel type, as Nuzleaf and Mudkip stood around it and watched patiently. The Ball landed and shook multiple times, showing that Aron was not wanting to give in to it without a fight.

Finally, it stopped.

But before Brendan and his Pokémon could celebrate, someone else picked up the quiet Ball. It was a young man with silvery gray hair dressed in an expensive suit. He had a serious expression plastered on his face.

"Uh…" Brendan stumbled awkwardly for words, as his Pokémon ran to his sides.

"I would say that was a spectacular capture, but it was a bit one-sided on your part, right?" The man studied Brendan sternly.

Brendan rubbed the back of his head; trying to laugh off the situation. He felt extremely awkward; this guy had a presence that felt like a demanding older brother. "Oh, yeah… Sorry… Heh, heh… Who are you?" He added bluntly.

"My name is Steven Stone," the man held out the Ball as if he was going to release the Aron.

Steven Stone? I know I've heard that name before… Steven Stone… Stone… Stone? Is he the son of the Devon Corporation president!? Brendan was panicking internally now. He was being chastised by the son of a billionaire!

Then he remembered about the Aron. "A-Are you going to release it?" He asked frantically, referring pointedly to the Ball in Steven's hand.

Steven nodded slightly. "I should, unless you can give me a good explanation for all this." He cocked an eyebrow, looking expectantly at Brendan.

"I-I thought it would help. Luxury Balls make a Pokémon friendlier, right? So, I thought it would help it forgive me. I didn't mean to upset it!"

Steven seemed to study Brendan for a minute or two. Finally, he let up and gave a kind smile. "Sorry, I just have a fondness for Steel-type Pokémon. I'm going to trust your reason, but if we are ever fated to meet again, I hope my instinct will not be wrong…"

Brendan jumped at that. "Uh, you can count on me, sir!" He received the Ball from Steven. And then, he suddenly felt a fiery surge of determination in his gut. "You can count on me! I promise you – the next we meet –" he pointed the Luxury Ball at Steven, "I'll beat you in a battle with this very Aron! That's how much we'll trust each other!"

Steven felt like he could trust the kid. He nodded. "Alright then," he dug something out of his pocket after shooting a glance to the boy's Nuzleaf. "Then, I think you should have this. When the time comes, I would be willing to accept a full 6-on-6 battle with you. I think you'll know the right time to use it."