Rudy tapped his knuckles on the door frame of the hospital room, while poking his head in and scratching Sähkö on the chin with his other hand, as the minun perched comfortably on his shoulder.

Arthur was currently sat upright in the bed, leaning back against the pillow, as him and his treecko, Lisko, were watching something on the boy's phone. They both looked up at the sound, noticing their company with bright and confident looks on their faces. "Rudy! You got a pokemon!"

Rudy nodded triumphantly, stepping into the room and striding up to the side of the bed. "Yep, you bet! This is Sähkö," he told his friend with a wide grin, pointing to the little rodent, and then turned his head to share a look with the pokemon and gestured to both Arthur and Lisko, respectively, "Sähkö, meet Arthur. And his buddy, Lisko."

Sähkö hopped down onto the bed lightly, in front of Arthur. The minun's ears twitched and it sniffed at Lisko. The two pokemon greeted each other fondly by tapping their tails together as if they were doing a handshake.

The boys wordlessly decided to scan the other's pokemon with their cameras, activating the Pokémon Encyclopedia App simultaneously. "Treecko, a grass-type pokemon. The soles of its feet are covered in countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings."

Rudy lifted his gaze up from his phone to his friend curiously. "So, what were you two watching, Arthur?"

Arthur hummed, looking down for a second to switch out of the Encyclopedia, and back to the previous screen. He then tilted his phone so Rudy could see. "We were just watching a new upload of the Pokémon Trainer's League on TNRTube. It was the semifinal battle from last year."

The "Pokemon Trainer's League" was not some kind official thing by any means, run by any kind of organization or government facility kind of thing. There were a couple of specific rules, but the main thing holding it all together was relying on people's common courtesy and good sportsmanship. The main online hub was TNRTube and its forums, where anyone could find out about the current sixteen gyms and the leaders, scattered all across Hoenn. Leaders change frequently, and are decided by whoever the last sixteen people to win the PTL were. The gyms have challenges that get harder as you go and most try to keep with a consistent theme to test a challenger's strengths and weaknesses.

Rudy examined the screen. He recalled watching it with Arthur when it first streamed online. It was a close fight for sure, with both Trainer's last pokemon being a gallade and a salamence, respectively. It was awesome!

Arthur sighed, lowering his phone into his lap, where Sähkö peered over his knee and sniffed curiously at the screen. He giggled, petting the minun fondly on the head, but then sighed again after a moment. "I wish we could challenge the gyms, though," he muttered, stealing a conflicted glance at the wheelchair resting beside Rudy, next to the bed.

After a moment, though, he looked back up with a suddenly mischievous gleam in his eye. "So, have you managed to teach Sähkö any moves yet?"

Rudy scratched his cheek awkwardly. "Uh, not really. Unless you count getting zapped by a bit of static here and there a few times," he said.

"Why don't we have a battle?" Arthur blurted eagerly, pushing his body up with his arms. Lisko looked at its trainer and then started wagging its tail, picking up on the kids' emotion. "We'll go easy on you, if you want? To make it fairer?"

Rudy was equally excited at the prospect of a Pokemon battle. Let alone, his first being against his friend. But his eyes darted around the room. "In a hospital? I don't know… it doesn't seem like the most appropriate place to have a battle."

Arthur reassured him with a wave of his hand. "It should be fine! We can go to the bathroom down the hall. Now, help me get into my chair!" He was defiantly leaning over the railing of his bed, already starting to pull his chair a bit closer.

"Hey! Arthur! Slow down!" Rudy exclaimed, grabbing him by the elbow, and tugging on his arm gently.

Their commotion ended up alerting a nurse who came rushing in. Arthur quickly made up the excuse that he had to use the toilet, and the nurse helped him out of the bed, while Rudy had watched patiently.

The nurse had made a comment to notify someone when Arthur was done, so that he wouldn't end up hurting himself getting back into bed. Arthur waved her off a bit impatiently, then turned back to Rudy.

With Lisko in Arthur's lap and Sähkö in Rudy's arms, Arthur pointed the device to the minun and let a clip of the battle he was watching earlier play. Both boys took turns pointing at various aspects on the screen and briefly trying to explain to Sähkö what a battle was in simple terms. The minun stared at all of them curiously.

When the group left Arthur's room and were on their way down the hall, side by side, they passed by the elevator. Rudy paused, a hand coming up to his chin thoughtfully. "Arthur, the roof has a fence around it, right?" He asked carefully, waiting for a response before continuing (Arthur nodded). "We can take the elevator up there, and it'll be safer for everyone, without worrying about breaking anything or getting into trouble."

Arthur thought for a minute, but his eyes sparked with delight. "It is rather stuffy in here, and I could use some air!"

The boys cheered for their new plan, having to lower the volume of their voices down a notch when a doctor eyed them sternly from a desk.

Up on the roof, Arthur took his place on the far side quickly before Rudy could even argue. Rudy noted that the two looked a bit smug as Lisko hopped down from Arthur's lap and stood upright on its hindfeet in an eager stance.

Sähkö looked up at Rudy, still in the boy's arms, a little nervously then. The whole situation was still new to the little pokemon. Rudy smiled reassuringly, his grip tightening a bit around his partner. "Don't worry, pal. It's all in good fun! We need to remind those two that they don't have that much more experience than us!"

Rudy placed Sähkö on the ground and then stepped back. "Ready, Sähkö?" He asked his pokemon, his enthusiasm now rivaling Arthurs'.

Sähkö studied Rudy for a moment and then turned back to Lisko across the "field." It stood on all fours, looking ready to move now, nodding determinedly.

A gentle wind ruffled the boys' hair and Arthur made a show of inhaling a deep breath. "Since I am the more experienced trainer, I'll act as referee as well," he called across the impromptu battlefield. "This'll be a one-on-one battle! Lisko the treecko versus Sähkö the minun! Go!"

"Sähkö, go get him!" Rudy ordered, pointing forward at Lisko.

The minun nodded, kicking off and dashing across the ground agilely. Lisko shifted on its feet slightly, but otherwise remained firmly where it was.

Arthur grinned when Sähkö was just a few paces away. "Lisko, demonstrate our experience with Pound!"

The lizard seemed to smirk. As Sähkö got right underneath it, Lisko suddenly turned on its heel and slapped its tail into Sähkö, before landing once more in a similar stance as it started off in. The minun was thrown off balance and rolled across the ground a short distance.

After a moment, Sähkö stood back up and shook itself off, eyeing Lisko with a huff.

Rudy's eyes had shown brightly at Lisko's display. "I'll admit! That command was so cool, you guys!" He exclaimed.

Arthur and Lisko mirrored each other at the remark, puffing out their chests in a show of pride, before returning to their more serious sides. "Lisko, try to Pound it again!"

The treecko nodded and this time was the first to move, dropping down on all-fours and scuttling forward with a speed on par with Sähkö's.

But Rudy had braced himself. He noted the exact moment when Lisko stopped abruptly, and tried to spin around on its heel again. "Sähkö, crouch and roll underneath it!"

The minun gave a glance at its Trainer, taking that time to comprehend the action, before facing forward again, pinning its ears to its back and crouching low to the ground, before rolling past the treecko.

Lisko landed on its hindfeet again and turned back to face Sähkö, who was now between it and Arthur.

"Yes! It worked!" Rudy cheered triumphantly, and Sähkö smiled happily at realizing the outcome.

"That was a nice dodge, I'll give you guys that!" Arthur called out.

It was Rudy's and Sähkö's turns to puff out their chests.

"Use Pound, again!" Arthur called out again, while the other team was still beaming, and Sähkö was caught off-guard with a successful smack to the face.

Lisko landed again in front of the mammal as the smaller creature shook on its feet.

"Hey, that was a pretty low-blow!" Rudy called out, before directing his attention to his pokemon. "Sähkö, you okay?"

Arthur shrugged. "I saw an opportunity," he replied simply.

Sähkö shook out its fur, then stared evenly at Lisko, a bit of static buzzing from its cheeks. Lisko suddenly flinched slightly, looking unfocused and dazed.

"Sähkö, charge into it! Now!" Rudy ordered, having noticed the lizard's brief stunned behavior.

The minun nodded and dashed forward quickly, launching itself head-first into the treecko's belly. Lisko tumbled backward and skidded on its feet as Sähkö landed firmly.

"Lisko, chase after Sähkö!" Arthur retaliated.

"Sähkö, run! Don't let it catch up!"

The minun spun around as Lisko launched forward, neither one getting either too far ahead or too far behind the other.

Lisko had chased Sähkö halfway up the fence off to the side, and Rudy couldn't help but run a bit closer worriedly, remembering that they were on the roof of a hospital with multiple floors.

But Sähkö had ended up gaining an upperhand, when it leapt off the fence and landed on the ground behind Lisko. The fence rattled metallically as Lisko followed it closely, finally managing to corner it on top of a generator.

By this time, both pokemon were panting heavily, their sides heaving. Sähkö stared down at Lisko from its perch on the generator.

Rudy and Arthur had left their places, respectively, and wandered a little closer to their pokemon. There was a noticeable hum of power coming from the generator. It wasn't the quietest machinery.

But then Sähkö started to squeal, seemingly painfully, at the sense of raw electrical power beginning to spark from its cheeks. It's absorbing the power from the generator… Rudy mused, half in awe and half in fear for his pokemon's safety.

"Sähkö, shoot the electricity at Lisko!" Rudy suddenly called out.

Sähkö's ears twitched, noticing its trainer's call. Its eyes squeezed shut with all the power it was taking in. Its small body began to glow with the energy, but as it tried to release the pent-up electricity, it ended up backfiring and calling a small explosion, sending the minun flying through the air.

It landed roughly on the ground, and Rudy rushed to its limp body, cradling it in his arms, tears fighting at his eyes. He didn't care at the moment that he seemed to scrape up his knees as he did. "Sähkö, you okay buddy?" Rudy whined desperately, nudging the pokemon's body gently.

Arthur came up beside Rudy, Lisko having returned to his lap. They both looked worried as well. "Is Sähkö okay?" He asked quietly.

They all waited with bated breath for a response. At last, Sähkö gave an exhausted squeak and blinked up at Rudy, its cheeks releasing the last bit of extra energy it had gathered.

Both boys smiled with relief. "I think that's it for that battle, huh," Rudy said quietly, Sähkö nodding its response tiredly, before turning to Arthur and standing.

"It's a draw," Arthur agreed.

Back in Arthur's room, Rudy had a chair pulled up to the side of the bed as the boys let their pokemon rest up and eat a bit after that big battle.

"Your grandpa should be here soon, right?" Arthur blurted out.

Rudy was in the middle of petting Sähkö's head. He stopped and looked at his friend with a nod. "That's right. Taimi will be with him."

Arthur contemplated wordlessly, his eyes fixed on nothing particular in his lap, before he looked up at Rudy. "I have a favor to ask, Rudy."

Rudy straightened.

Then a wide grin found its way on Arthur's face and a twinkle was in his eyes. "Let's make a bet. Both of us challenge the PTL this summer!"

Rudy blinked. "That sounds great, Arthur!" His enthusiasm simmered a bit, though, with his next realization. "But aren't you stuck in the hospital for now?"

Arthur shook his head. "Not for long, now. I overheard my mom talking with the doctor the other day. They said I should be able to leave soon. I can call her and see if they can let me out now."

Rudy grinned. He was happy with the news for his friend, and he knew already that Arthur's mom and his grandfather would let him come along on their trip.

Rudy held out his fist and the two boys bumped their knuckles together. "We're rivals!" They cheered in unison, Lisko and Sähkö joining in.

Next Chapter: Type Strategy