Heyllo folks! I'm back from my trip and have returned to posting. In the end, my sister insisted on going early on Friday so I didn't get a chance to write as much as I wanted to. Apologies for the long wait, but things got screwy for a few days there so I'm glad that I'm able to even post.

During my trip I left the bag with my laptop in the car for one night and the temperature fell below freezing, then when I turned it on the next day half of my screen had these blue and purple vertical lines going through it and I just wanted to punch myself. However, they cleared up slowly after a few days and now I only have a small blue blob in the right corner of my screen left from the whole mess.

In other news, we made it past 1000 Followers! Yey! I'm really glad so many people decided to give my ramblings a shot and stuck around this long. Now, let's go Favourites! You're 200+ behind.

Another positive of this unexpected break is that I got a chance to see the new Pokemon games that are coming out in the next couple of years and had a few days to process what I thought about them past my initial reaction. In short, I don't care about Snap since I never played it as a kid, but the Sinnoh remakes and the Arceus game kind of disappointed me. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that we're getting them but, as usual, Pokemon games are about 10 years behind the curve in game design and it just makes me sad. If you want to discuss them more feel free to review or send me a PM.

Anyway, enjoy!

Mark's Current Team: Butterfree/Kraven, Bulbasaur/Ivy, Scyther/Ed, Geodude/Dwayne, Clefairy/(Florence), Charmander/(Fafnir)

Sweet Dreams


Mark's eyes snapped open at the noise that came from outside his tent, but they soon started closing again.

'No, this isn't right! Get the fuck out of my head!' he screamed at both his tired body and whatever made him almost pass out. With what felt like glacial slowness, he gritted his teeth and started extricating himself from his sleeping bag.

In the almost total darkness of the tent, he more felt and heard than saw Ivy and Florence sleeping next to him. However, neither reacted at his whispered, "Wake up, girls," and "Get up, now," orders.

If something like this happened with Kraven, he wouldn't worry, but his other Pokemon usually reacted pretty fast to his commands while they slept: especially after the Mount Moon fiasco. Unfortunately, he sent his partner out on a scouting trip several days ago, and Mark didn't expect the Butterfree's return for a few more.

Once he extricated himself from his warm coverings, and almost fell asleep a couple of times in the process, he tried shaking the two sleeping Pokemon and got a few mumbled, "Saur," and "Fairy," in return while their eyes remained closed and their bodies unmoving past a few twitches.

Feeling another wave of sleepiness coming, Mark stopped his movement and focused inward to feel how it affected him fully.

'There! It's somewhat similar to moves like Growl or Leer, but it affects a different part of my brain,' he thought and, with a familiar effort of will, broke the sleep-inducing pressure. Unlike when Sleep Powder hit him and stayed inside of his system no matter how he fought it, this worked more like an On and Off switch where it either influenced a mind or not.

Having reached this conclusion, Mark could only think of one family of Pokemon from these parts that could have such an influence on him.

'Son of a bitch! No wonder Ed didn't get a chance to warn us. If there's a Hypno out there, it would take care of everyone from a distance before doing whatever messed up shit amused those sick bastards,' he thought while fumbling in the dark tent.

When he succeeded in finding the lantern, he debated on turning it on, but then placed it to the side and continued his search while another thought came up unbidden, 'I can't remember my dream!'

Mark had quite vivid dreams every night that he could even participate in from time to time, so not remembering one made him convinced of his conclusion on the identity of their attacker.

Setting the rising panic aside, he regained his focus and finally found his pants in a corner of the tent.

After drawing his knife and setting it to the side with the lantern, he pushed Ivy and Florence onto his sleeping bag and grabbed the fifth Pokeball from his belt while he waited for the Hypno's next move.

When the wave of sleep-inducing energy passed him by this time, it only took him a moment to break through it and release Fafnir from his ball.

The Lizard Pokemon appeared on his feet, but he still looked unaware of his surroundings from the sudden materializing. During their first day out of Cerulean, he tried to sleep outside with Ed and Dwayne, however, now, four days later, he concluded that he preferred to have his rest in his Pokeball instead of on ground that became increasingly wet as the night went on.

"Char-Charm…" the Fire-type started, but Mark covered his mouth with a hand and with his other one put a finger over his own while whispering, "Shhh, I don't have a lot of time, but know that someone's attacking us and I need your help."

He didn't know if the Charmander's flame or their voices could penetrate the thick canvas of his new tent and alert their enemy but, even as his eyes adjusted to the sudden influx of light from Fafnir's tail, he didn't want to make this take any longer than necessary in case his last available Pokemon got put down without a fight too.

When the Fire-type's eyes widened in alarm and he started looking at his surroundings in a more alert light, Mark continued, "It's emitting some kind of sleep-inducing waves so the rest of the team won't be able to help us until we stop it. If you find yourself drifting off, fight it with everything you have. Do you understand?"

A serious look formed in the often-solemn eyes of the Charmander and he gave a confident nod and a soft, "Char," in response.

Mark smiled at the show of resolve from the small lizard and opened his mouth to elaborate on his plan when he felt another bout of sleepiness assail him so he ground out, "Resist It," while keeping eye contact with the Fire-type and breaking through his own drowsiness.

Once again, the boy had no issues with staying awake, but Fafnir noticeably slumped for a moment before he managed to shake himself out of the daze and straighten up. Even so, Mark could see the Lizard Pokemon still fighting to keep his eyes open.

Deciding to give up on anything fancy, he quickly ordered, "Follow me outside and ready a Dragon Rage. I'll turn the lantern on and tell you who to hit. Ready?"

He only needed Fafnir's short nod of confirmation to grab the lantern and place the handle of his unsheathed knife in his mouth before he turned towards the exit of the tent.

After one final exhale through his nose, Mark unzipped the tent opening with his free hand and rushed out in a crouch while the light coming from the Charmander's tail followed at his back.

In two barefoot steps, he straightened out and readied the lantern in front of himself. Ignoring what the surprised noises coming from the darkness around him might mean for the moment, he squinted his eyes, looked to the side, and turned the setting on the camping lantern to the max.

For most such devices, they would light up the clearing in which Mark decided to camp for the night at most, however, the blond decided to fork out some extra cash for one that could brighten a large area to almost daylight levels in case he got into some nighttime battles.

Thus, even with the adjustment he had to Fafnir's light, not looking directly at it, and squinting, Mark still needed a couple of seconds to get his bearings after the bright flash.

When he did and got a quick scan of his surroundings, he almost cursed aloud.

On the right of the tent, two Drowzee stood over what he hoped were the sleeping bodies of Ed and Dwayne while clutching their long-snouted faces.

To the left, a Hypno and two more Drowzee had their eyes blinded too and let out soft whimpers at the sudden pain.

From the corner of his eye, Mark could see that Fafnir had the ball of orange Dragon-type energy almost ready in his mouth so he quickly came to a decision and removed the knife from his mouth to point it at the Hypno and yell, "Hit it!"

None of the three Pokemon even saw the Dragon Rage coming. The two Drowzee got knocked back and to the sides, while the Hypno flew back and crashed down on the grassy ground with a cry of pain and surprise.

Turning away from the scattered Pokemon for a second, Mark pointed towards the two Psychic-types standing over Ed and Dwayne and commanded, "Help them," as he locked gazes with Fafnir.

Not waiting to get a reply, he let go of the bright lantern and rushed at the downed Hypno while yelling, "Everyone, wake up! Zubat protocol!"

The three Hypnosis Pokemon just started to get their feet under them when a blond missile crossed the not even ten-meter distance between them and his starting point and tackled the halfway-risen Hypno back to the ground.

Mark used the disorientation from the tackle to mount the Pokemon and hold it down by its neck with his left hand while he stabbed down at the center of its chest with his right. The knife sailed down without impediment and struck true, however, a brief barrier of purple energy lasted long enough for the Hypno to instinctively slap the knife to the side while leaving a long bloody furrow in its fur.

Unsurprised by his initial failure, Mark used the Psychic-type's hiss of pain as a moment of distraction to hammer turn the hold with his left hand into two hammering blows on its long nose while he prepared the knife for another stab.

As the blade fell towards the dazed Hypno's eye, Mark felt a too familiar energy encircle his body and couldn't help himself from grinding out, "Fuck," through his gritted teeth.

His eyes flittered to his sides and he saw the two previously downed Drowzee standing and pointing towards him while their eyes shone light-blue with the color of the Confusion they used to hold him.

Mark tried everything he could to make his body move but, even with all the training he did with Kraven, he couldn't really break out of a Confusion's hold in a short time, especially not when two Pokemon had him in one.

A couple of seconds later, the Hypno regained his clarity and looked up at the blond boy with a sinister glare. In the next moment, a beam of multicolored light jumped out of its eyes and slammed directly into its opponent's head.

Without a way to dodge, Mark took the Psybeam straight on while preparing his mind for the incoming pain. To his surprise, it didn't hurt half-as-much as when Kraven shot him with one, but it still made his head ring with almost crippling pain.

In a curious lucky break, the power of the Hypno's attack helped Mark's struggling efforts and interfered with the Confusion surrounding him, allowing the knife to drop halfway towards the startled eyes of the strongest Psychic-type before the two Drowzee regained their control.

The two, man and Pokemon, glared at one another for a long moment, before the Hypno broke the staring contest when he turned his head and shouted something to its lackeys.

For a second, Mark couldn't figure out what it wanted, but then he felt himself start to lift off the Hypnosis Pokemon and understood its command. He started to growl out, "You fucking coward…" through his barely moving lips, when something flashed yellow on his right, followed by a pink flash from his left at almost the same moment.

With no time to prepare, the light-blue Psychic energy disappeared from his body and, almost instinctually, he used all of the accumulated power he put in struggling to break free into the downward thrust of his hand.

In the next moment, Mark stared at the wide-open eye of the Hypno while his knife stuck out of the other one. The Pokemon had turned his gaze back to the boy to gloat when the Drowzee started lifting him and hadn't had the chance to look away. If he had, the automatic protections of its skin might have saved its life for a second more, but the eyes didn't have such strong defenses.

Almost at the same time, Mark felt something entwine around his stomach and pull him backward, making him fight against his instinctual reaction to lash out against Ivy's vines for a split second.

Instead, he patted them and allowed her to pull him and his bloody knife back a little while he found his footing. Once he had, he stopped her with a raised hand and said, "That's all right, girl. I'm fine. Concentrate on taking these bastards down instead."

The two Drowzee in front of him who finally managed to pick themselves up couldn't help switching their disbelieving looks from his bloody knife to their dead leader.

Mark gave them the time they needed to understand what would happen to them before he showed them his teeth in a grim grin as Dwayne, Florence, and Ivy came to stand in front of him while he added, "After all, we need to prepare our larder for our next team member."

No attacker left the clearing alive that night.

"Do it again," Mark ordered and watched as Fafnir bit down on a thick tree branch with a mouth filled with wisps of dull-orange flame that reminded him more of Ember than what they aimed for.

His brow furrowed for a second, but he straightened it and called out, "That's enough, come here."

The Charmander's eyes flickered over to his trainer, and when he saw no anger there, he released the branch and walked over while asking, "Char-Charmander?"

Mark didn't have the faintest clue what the Pokemon wanted, but he went with what he planned to inquire about already as an answer, "I want to know what's the difference between now and what happened two nights ago?"

To his surprise, the Fire-type looked down at his feet and muttered, "Mander."

The boy stared at that scene for a couple of seconds, before he sighed and crouched down in front of the Lizard Pokemon, and raised his head with a finger so they could see each other's eyes.

Noticing the shame there, Mark formed a soft smile on his face and said, "You do know that I'm not mad at what you did to the Drowzee, right?" When he saw Fafnir's eyes widen, the smile turned into a smirk as he added, "Hell, at least I could use half of your kill. Ivy and Ed ruined theirs totally."

And he did tell the truth. After he made sure that the three Pokemon who came to help him had things well in hand, he went to check on the Charmander and Scyther's battles. There, he found Fafnir with his jaw around a Drowzee's charred neck while fire kept pouring down into the dead Psychic-type's body.

Mark had to come and pry the Lizard Pokemon away from the corpse due to how he kept using his Fire Fang on it to make sure of the kill. He didn't have time to confirm things then, but he did remember seeing a horrified look in Fafnir's eyes when he finally came-to fully.

Unfortunately, Mark had to move on quickly from there to prevent Ed from tearing his opponent apart into even tinier pieces that he already had, and then returned to see that Ivy used Toxic on her own enemy and ruined it. In the end, he managed to gather his whole Hypno and a bit over one Drowzee to use as food due to Dwayne only bashing the head of his enemy into a paste.

Of course, he understood that a major part of the blame for how Fafnir behaved lay on his shoulders. If he hadn't gaslit Amy about Fire-types, she wouldn't build such a strong complex against using his natural moves in the Lizard Pokemon.

Because of this, Mark tried to project all of his honesty as he explained, "No one in this group will judge you for who you are, boy. In fact, I think Ed and Dwayne like you more now after you rescued them. So, if you feel like you need to let out your inner monster from time to time to protect the rest of us, we won't care. All I require from everyone here is that you put everything you have into the training and focus on becoming stronger. Can you do that?"

Fafnir stared at his trainer for a long moment, before a smile slowly spread his mouth open and where a row of sharp white teeth usually stood, now a row of bright orange flames flickered.

Mark managed to control his reaction to only a slow blink while a matching smile appeared on his face as the heat from the Fire Fang warmed his cheeks.

They stood there, grinning at one another like two idiots for a couple of seconds, before Mark gave a single nod and said, "I'm glad we can understand each other. Now, go show that branch who's boss."

Fafnir practically skipped over to this morning's enemy, picked it up, and bit into it with a flash of flames rising around his face as his teeth crunched straight through.

Mark clapped at the success and commented, "Great work, boy! I knew you could do it! Keep going while I check on the others."

In response, Fafnir shouted out a happy, "Charmander!" and started searching for a new chewing toy.

Turning to look at a different part of the meadow they camped at last night, Mark started walking towards a motionless grey-brown boulder with muscular arms.

When he neared Dwayne, he noticed the Geodude frowning down at his hands in consternation.

"Still no luck?" he asked as he stopped next to the Rock-Ground-type and studied the numerous battered trees in the distance.

Dwayne's grumpy, "Dude," made him look down and see two light-brown shining rocks form in the Rock Pokemon's hands before he flung them at a distant tree trunk with admirable precision.

For the last couple of days, the Geodude had remained stuck on learning Rock Blast. The blond boy had explained both his theory on how it should work and how it worked at different times in the anime but, so far, Dwayne only managed to decrease the time it took him to solidify his Rock-type energy and to do it in both hands.

Mark watched a few more Rocks get Thrown at the distant woods, before he shook his head and declared, "It won't work like this. For now, stop chucking them and just focus on creating as many as you can maintain. Make them smaller if you have to, but don't allow the power to go too much under half of the original rocks you use for Rock Throw."

Dwayne studied the tree-line for a moment and then gave his full-body nod and agreed with a "Geodude-Dude-Geodude."

The blond returned the nod and added, "Call me if anything changes," as he turned and walked away from the rock-generating Geodude.

In the middle of the meadow, next to their camping ground, Ivy stood in a small circle of flattened out tall grass with a look of concentration on her face while light wisps of greenish energy drifted off her.

"How's it going?" he asked and watched the energy leave the Bulbasaur in a long exhale while she shrank down by a fifth of her original size.

"Saur-Bulbasaur!" the Grass-Poison-type answered as she happily skipped over to her trainer and rubbed her head against his leg.

"I spoil you too much," he muttered before he crouched down and scratched the spot behind her ear he knew she liked the most.

A soft thumping came from Ivy's back leg, but Mark ignored it and commented, "That looked pretty promising, but you need to learn how to achieve the power up faster and without the aid of the sun. Don't rely on it too much; it's just a crutch for learning Growth faster."

Honestly, the speed of Ivy's learning of the move surprised the blond. He'd only explained the concept a couple of hours ago, and she already had the initial stages covered from what he observed in that short glimpse.

If he didn't know better, he'd even think she somehow knew parts of it already and just didn't have the opportunity to polish the process up. Then again, at times, Pokemon movesets behaved strangely in this world.

For the most part, what he remembered from the games held true for the majority of examples. However, he read too many reports of Pokemon learning moves way sooner than they should have to ignore them as mere rumors. He even checked if they'd have them since hatching, but almost every source claimed they didn't and only learned it later.

The most similar one to what might have happened to Ivy reminded him of a Bulbasaur that learned Seed Bomb on its own even before learning Razor Leaf.

At best, he could explain the movesets of different Pokemon species as a type of genetic memory that sometimes added and detracted from itself depending on the environment a specific creature found itself in. Training and fighting stimulated that memory to resurface, but strange things happened often in this world so sudden appearance or reappearance of certain moves could occur.

Setting his musings aside, Mark stood up and ignored the whine his starter let out in favor of saying, "That's enough for now. If you get better at using Growth by tonight, I'll indulge you a lot more after dinner."

A greedy gleam shone in Ivy's red eyes as she shouted, "Bulba!" and returned to her spot to continue practicing with increased fervor.

Mark chuckled and left her to it as he continued to the camp and sat down into his chair in front of a close-eyed Florence.

The sitting Fairy Pokemon remained unmoving for another dozen seconds, before she let out a soft exhale of, "Fairy," and looked up at him with sad eyes.

"Still can't find it?" he asked, although he could guess the answer already.

Florence gave him a disappointed nod and answered with, "Clefairy-Fairy-Clefairy…" while waving her arms around the place and pointing up at the sky a couple of times.

Mark sat with a look of total concentration throughout all of it, although he maybe understood a third of what she tried to explain, but, in the end, he patted her tuft of pink hair and said, "Don't worry about it too much right now. I'm sure it will be easier to grasp it at night."

A sinister smile appeared on his face as he continued, "For now, why don't you go practice Lucky Chant alongside Dwayne. I'm sure he could use some cheering up."

The Fairy-type looked at him like he told her to go face a den of hungry Arbok on her own but, when she saw he meant what he said, her head slumped in defeat and she skipped away towards the Geodude slowly while humming, "Fairy-Clefairy-Fairy…" under her breath and vaguely waving her arms in the air.

Mark chuckled as he watched her go and thought, 'Hey, it's not my fault that neither of us has a clue how to make the move work past chanting towards the sky while infusing the surroundings with Normal-type energy.'

He'd decided to skip teaching Stored and Cosmic Power to Florence while they still didn't have a source of Psychic-type energy with them to make it easier to learn. Once Kraven returned, they'd go back to it.

For now, he had her learning Lucky Chant during the days while she tried to establish a firmer connection with the sky at night to make Moonlight easier.

After they dealt with the Hypno and Drowzee attack, Florence noticed Mark rubbing his head and wincing from time to time, so she acted on instinct and hugged his leg while calling out for help.

To the surprise of the pair, a bright beam of Moonlight fell atop them and elevated some of the boy's pain while leaving the Clefairy in top shape. In hindsight, Mark figured that the Fairy-type energy took care of any residual Psychic-type energy from the Psybeam while it remained unable to deal with any damage directly.

He just hoped that the number of times he took such a hit didn't mess with his brain in the long run. Back in the lab, before he started his experimentations, he'd explored the consequences of people getting struck by such attacks and, other than ones that suffered a prolonged exposure, couldn't find any that didn't recover fully after letting their bodies fix themselves for a few days.

It only made him realize how much people from this world had to adapt to the presence of Pokemon. When compared to someone from his old one, he didn't doubt that a Psybeam or two to the head would kill an average person no matter how much time you put in-between.

Shaking himself out of the reverie, Mark lowered his right hand to his belt and detached the second Pokeball. Soon enough, Ed materialized in front of him with a "Scyther!"

The two of them exchanged gazes for a long moment before the blond asked, "Do you need some more rest?"

Like he expected, the Scyther answered with a firm shake of the head and pointed one bladed-arm towards a free corner of the meadow while saying, "Scy-Scyther."

Mark withheld a sigh in favor of nodding his head declaring, "All right, you can continue with your X-Scissor practice until lunch. It should be in a couple of hours so have as much fun as you can by then."

Without another word, the Mantis Pokemon spread his wings and flew over to a free corner of the meadow while his arms already had the yellowish shine of Bug-type energy.

This time, Mark let out his sigh as he kept his gaze on the furiously slashing Ed.

The day after the attack, he had an open discussion with his team on what each of them could have done better and how he wanted to improve their teamwork while he worked on the Hypno and Drowzee bodies. After they finished, Mark decided to move them away from the clearing they told Kraven they would wait at to a meadow they used previously so that the corpses wouldn't draw scavengers straight to them.

He started the critiques with himself and stated that he probably should have focused on driving the attackers away instead of going for the kill. To his shame, he allowed his anger at the Psychic-types drive his desire for revenge instead of focusing on the safety of his Pokemon first and foremost.

Fafnir, while doing great in the beginning, shouldn't have let his focus on one opponent blind him from the larger battle and helping his teammates.

Dwayne did great throughout the entire thing, past using too much force on putting his enemy down.

Ivy, too, allowed her desire for revenge at almost killing her trainer to cloud her judgment so she unloaded everything she had on the Drowzee she faced while not leaving anything for other possible battles.

Florence stayed too close to him to make sure he felt all right, instead of checking on the others and supporting them.

And Ed, well, he went berserk after realizing he failed in the task of watching over the team during the night that his trainer gave him and sliced his enemy into tiny pieces that probably still lay strewn across the forest in his fury.

Unfortunately, Mark now realized, he chided him for not having a better awareness of the surroundings during the battle and not helping the others out instead of focusing on one dead Drowzee.

Instead, the Scyther wanted to get punished for falling asleep at his appointed mission, but the boy couldn't make himself do it since he understood that almost no one could have noticed a Hypno's influence in the dark forest when they've never experienced it previously.

'I'll just have to work with him on improving his sentry abilities instead of giving him what he wants,' Mark decided and stood up to continue helping his Pokemon train.

As he chewed on a pre-packed sandwich, Mark heard a "Free-Free!" coming from behind him and turned to see Kraven's descending form coming straight at him.

The other Pokemon too raised their heads from their bowls and greeted the Butterfree with their own calls and hoots.

Mark set his sandwich on a table and rose to greet his returning partner. They hadn't seen each other for six days now and had a nice long session of pats and wing-slaps all around.

When things calmed down, the blond set out a bowl of food and water for his first Pokemon and forced him to finish all of it before he could give his report.

Ten minutes later, Kraven stood in front of Mark and started answering questions while everyone else gave them room and watched from a small distance away.

"Did you find it?" the boy asked and the Butterfree answered with a single flap of his wings, meaning 'Yes.'

"Is it on this side?" Mark continued with the more important question, getting another single flap in response.

Letting out a slight sigh of relief, he set that issue to the side in favor of asking, "Can we go through undetected?"

Kraven looked uncertain regarding this question, so Mark changed it to, "Can we go through without getting caught?"

Once again, the Butterfree looked dubious but he still flapped his wings once.

Mark furrowed his brows before he turned to his Geodude and Charmander and ordered, "Fafnir, Dwayne, make us a flat piece of dirt. Nothing too big, around the area that the tent covers would be ideal," while he started collecting small stones from the ground.

A couple of minutes later, the two Pokemon had managed to char and flatten out a perfect piece of land on which Mark spilled his stones.

Without even needing a signal, Kraven used Confusion to float the stones in the positions he remembered seeing the Pokemon Rangers around the area he scouted while making sure to place a stone for their position also.

While he did that, Mark took out a map of the northern Cerulean zone and compared it with his partner's scouting report. Kraven tended to have problems with keeping large numbers of people or Pokemon in his mind, but he didn't have an issue with remembering their positions and their strengths.

From what he could see, the Rangers covered all the approaches to the Cerulean Cave from this side and going up north for a few days before disappearing for what seemed like a solid three-day gap and then continuing with their usual patrols of the northern borders.

Of course, these Rangers and the ones Mark knew from the games and anime had almost nothing in common. The League used the Rangers as the closest thing they had to an army, and no sane new trainer wanted to mess with those hard-eyed elites.

They didn't use any kind of rip-off Beyblade or the power of friendship to accomplish their goals either. Just the pure strength of their teams and the experience they gathered over the years of surviving in the wilderness with savage Pokemon. He figured they'd cover the estimated three-day gap in less than two if they really had to move, maybe less if they had a flying mount.

All in all, he'd have to spend some time discussing things with Kraven and his team, and then decide on whether the potential rewards warranted risking getting caught and possibly imprisoned if he didn't manage to sell his poor lost trainer story well enough.

For now, though, he'd focus on achieving his first goal at least; adding a new member to the team.

A sparkling green powder slowly got blown over to the far bank of a creek as Mark studied it and the Pokemon that stopped to get some water to drink and have a short rest.

For the last two days, Kraven and he had gone on their own to hunt this particular creature like they did in the old days.

The hunt should have taken a day at most, but the first time they used this tactic the Butterfree suddenly fell out of the sky and Mark had to rush over to make sure nothing happened to him. By the time he confirmed that the few scrapes his partner gathered would soon disappear, their quarry had run away and they spent a whole day on locating it again.

This time, Kraven went farther away and used his knowledge of air currents to release a large dose of Sleep Powder before flying around their ambush point to land next to his trainer.

Mark studied both Pokemon intently and, when he saw the Butterfree's form slump down on the ground, he quickly fed him a Chesto Berry and ran out across the creek to the lightly snoring Abra.

Without hesitation, Mark flung a Pokeball at the head of the Psychic-type and watched as it sucked it in. He might have used a little too much force, judging from how the head bounced back, but he felt frustrated for having to leave his team for so long. Plus, it rained last night and left him wet all over because he decided to let Ivy and Florence keep using the tent while he made do with his sleeping bag.

At first, his team protested getting left behind, but he convinced them that Kraven and he could move faster and wouldn't take that long while they could use the extra time to train, and this little bastard made a liar out of him. He did leave them enough food and water to last a few days, and had sent the Butterfree back last night to inform them that the hunt would take longer; however, he couldn't guess how they would react to his prolonged absence.

The *ting* of the Pokeball's successful capture coincided with his partner's arrival and broke him out of his ruminations.

A satisfied smile slowly spread across his face as he said, "Well then, let's meet our newest team member, buddy."

Kraven responded with a "Free-Free!" and prepared for anything after his trainer sent him the signal to get ready.

Mark picked up the Pokeball and released the small Pokemon down onto the grassy bank of the creek.

It had an almost entirely yellow body, with only its upper torso and a strip on its tail colored brown and eerily reminding the boy of the armor the Frieza Force wore. In fact, the entire body of the Psi Pokemon reminded him of some kind of mixture of a fox and a bug with its short snout and pointed ears clashing with the segmented carapace-like arms and legs.

However, he didn't really care about its appearance, what he did care about was that this creature, if everything went well, would enable him to build up defenses against Psychic intrusions into his mind and would eventually give a heavy hitter to his team while developing into a very useful Pokemon in the meantime.

As he thought about all the things he had in store with the little fella, it suddenly started glowing with the white color of Teleportation.

Mark immediately reacted and withdrew the Abra to its Pokeball while giving a crooked smile to Kraven, before saying, "Let's try this again," and releasing the Pokemon back on the grass.

It took another two attempted flights for its automated systems to figure out that the man and Butterfree standing near the Psychic-type wouldn't do it any harm. Only then did the reflexive Teleportations stop, allowing Mark a chance to feed it a Chesto Berry.

A dozen seconds later, the Abra's heavy-lidded eyes opened and looked upon the two looming presences above it, and then it immediately tried to Teleport away.

Mark sighed and allowed the Psi Pokemon some time to think in the Pokeball while he fished out his often forgotten Pokedex from his Bag and checked his newest catch.

"Huh, looks like we're adding another boy to the team, Kraven," he said and showed his partner where it stated the Pokemon's gender in the device.

The Butterfree looked over for a second, before returning to his study of the surrounding trees while saying, "Free-Free."

Mark shrugged and decided to follow his own conversation so he added, "Don't worry, you horndog; the next two should fix the team's ratio."

Kraven gave him an incredulous look but, when he saw the suppressed smile on the boy's face, just shook his head and returned to his self-appointed task of guarding his partner's back.

Feeling that the Abra had enough time to reflect, Mark released it once more and asked, "Ready to talk?"

The Pokemon gave the two looming presences above him a long look before he nodded his oversized head and let out a sleepy croaking, "Abra."

A pleased smile formed on Mark's face as he crouched down so the Psychic-type wouldn't have to crane his neck so much and explained himself with, "That's good. First, let me introduce myself and my partner here. My name's Mark Marson and this is Kraven. I'm a Pokemon Trainer that has lofty goals that I'm sure you don't care about right now, but what I can tell you is that I want a powerful Alakazam on my team."

Seeing the Pokemon's eyes widen a fraction and spotting the intelligence hidden behind the tired gaze, Mark cheered inwardly and continued, "I know that something to the west is releasing Psychic energy; otherwise there wouldn't be so many Psychic-types out here looking to use it to strengthen themselves. Due to this, I know that you want to evolve but can't get closer to the source because powerful Pokemon and trainers guard the borders. Am I right?"

The Abra didn't seem concerned by the human figuring his purpose out as he nodded nonchalantly and said, "Abra-Abra," in his croaking voice.

Mark let out an internal sigh of relief and thanked Benedict for the unintended clue in his mind. Of course, he had a hint from the anime that Psychic-types could use the exposure to Psychic-energies to strengthen themselves faster, but the Exeggutor all but confirmed it when he bitched about the trainers in Saffron saturating the City too much with those powers to help their Pokemon evolve.

That, in addition to all the reports on Psychic-type sightings north of Cerulean that he noticed in the lab, made him sure that the Cerulean Cave hid a bunch of secrets that either the League or someone else influential didn't want to get out.

And with that, Mark finally decided to take the risk and try to get past the Ranger patrols. After all, he did need to go there for his next Pokemon anyway.

Returning to the present, he gave the now focused Abra a smile of understanding before declaring, "I, too, want to go there. However, unlike you, my team and I have a good chance of getting past all the barriers and discovering what lays hidden behind all the secrecy. If you agree to join us, I swear to you that I will do everything that's in my power to make you as strong as possible while expanding your mind to a degree that you wouldn't believe even if I told you exactly what I had in mind now. In return, I expect your dedication to both training and helping the team because they will do the same for you. What do you say?"

The Psychic-type stared at him for a long moment, then he looked over his shoulder at the hovering Kraven and his body started flickering out of reality.

Mark's first instinct almost made him return the Abra to his Pokeball, but he managed to stop his arm's movement and turned around to see what his partner would do.

There, Kraven too flickered for a moment and then solidified in the air while letting out a warning, "Free!"

The Psi Pokemon didn't seem bothered by the threat and, when Mark turned back to ask him what that meant, started flickering once more.

This time, the boy felt something reach out to him and ask him to accept whatever it wanted to do. Due to his inexperience with Psychic energy, he couldn't figure out more, but he somehow understood that it wouldn't harm him. So, with a deep breath, he agreed to the request, and in the next instant found himself crouching looking at empty grass.

A "Free!" from his back made him spin around and spot the Abra now sitting in-between two marks in the soft earth that his boots made.

Without allowing the Psychic-type to turn around, Mark picked him up and shouted, "Holy shit, you know Ally Switch!"

In his joy, he slipped on the wet grass and fell on his ass but he ignored it in favor of laughing at all the tactics he could make work with that move alone. At first, he thought he could only use the Abra as an emergency escape button before he evolved, but this gave him so many other options right now.

The Psi Pokemon had a look of slight shock on his face when Mark turned him around to see his reaction; however, it soon sobered up as the boy asked, "So, what do you say? Want to join us?"

It took another dozen seconds of intense staring with those too-intelligent eyes, but the Abra finally nodded his head and answered with an "Abra," before laying its head down on Mark's shoulder and falling asleep.

A chuckle escaped his lips and Mark stated, "I guess that's as enthusiastic of a yes as I'll get."

Kraven confirmed it with a "Free-Free," while he flew around the two with obvious mirth at his partner's situation.

Of course, Mark understood that Abra needed more and more sleep the closer they got to evolving so he didn't take the Pokemon's passing out to heart. Even then, he wouldn't return the Abra to his Pokeball because it would benefit him a lot more to stay outside with them where trace amounts of Psychic energy flew in the air constantly.

Instead, he secured his hold on the Psychic-type and rose to his feet before he told Kraven, "Time to get back to camp and figure out just how we'll get past those Rangers. I just hope that they hadn't done anything too crazy while we were gone."

The Butterfree's amused, "Free," didn't give him too much encouragement.

Soooo, what do you think?

Hypno and Drowzee are just creepy fuckers and I needed someone to show that Psychic-types are roaming around the area so I came up with this. Any thoughts on the fight? In my first draft, I went for something too complicated, but then scrapped it for something simple and straight to the point.

How are the training scenes looking so far? I know some of you might prefer I put more focus on them, but there's so much plot to go through that I can't justify having too much focus on them than what I already have. Even then, I try to show how they're learning their new moves while showcasing their fight training in action through real battles.

Most of the Pokemon have their own problems, and it's up to Mark to find a solution to them. I thought this a nice way of showing what a trainer's real job is most of the time outside of battling.

Now, in regards to what he has planned for the Cerulean Cave and its surroundings. I won't spoil too much, but even I'm not sure if it's worth it to risk going there now. Of course, I know what will happen, but Mark doesn't so it's more attractive to him. Just know that he has more reasons than what he stated here.

What's your impression of the Rangers I described in this chapter? No happy-go-lucky stick twirling Beyblade ripoffs here. Only strong trainers on a mission.

I think a lot of people figured out Mark'd go for an Abra/Alakazam through the process of elimination once he found out he needed a Psychic-type to start building his mental defenses. However, you have no idea how much fun I plan to have with him. Also, I think I have a pretty cool nickname in store for him which might surprise some of you.

In this chapter, we had a bit of everything, but it's time to face the Rangers next time so that should be exciting. At least for us, not so much for Mark.