Alexa POV

My alarm went off for the fourth time now. Was it four? I glance up at the clock across my room. It's 11:27?! I was supposed to wake up three hours ago! I look at my alarm clock. I don't think I ever smoozed it. Was a neighbor's ghost playing tricks on me again?! Oh this is not the day for this... I shot up out of bed, nearly destroying my dresser and closet looking for my clothes. I told myself I'd pack in the morning! Why didn't I just pack last night? My haphazard backpack full of a few pairs of clothes and other supplies I could scrounge from my room and bathroom was thrown over my shoulder. In the bathroom I made sure to tame my long, blindingly white hair and to pick out a decent outfit for today. My yellow hat and jacket went well with the mahogany red shirt I had on. White track pants with a yellow stripe were put on as I stared at my red irises, clapping my face with both hands.

Rushing downstairs, I could smell, hear, then see my mother cooking breakfast. Looking over her shoulder she gave me the death glare that she usually gives me for sleeping in so late on an important date.

"Say, isn't that super secret thing that you've been so excited about today?" she asked, turning back to the stove. Bacon's a good smell to wake up to.

"Uhh yep! Just, y'know, later than usual." I awkwardly answered.

"Right. Well, if you want any before you get running off to beg for another license test, get some breakfast," she finished, scooping the four pieces of bacon off of the stove and onto a plate. I could see a couple pancakes on another plate as she walked over to it to serve herself some food.

"Thanks, I'll do that," I said, walking into the kitchen and grabbing myself a plate and food.

"So, can I pry any information out of you about this secret thing?" Mom wryly asked as I poured some syrup over my pancakes.

"Well, I can tell you that I'll be going out of town for a while, and don't worry, I've been planning." I responded in truth, cutting up my pancakes.

"Oh, really? What, did you actually wind up getting a job?" she said, surprised, as we both ate.

"You could say that," I finished, "But you'll have to wait and see!" I ate some bacon, nice and crisp.

"Aw, you're no fun," she complained. She turned and whistled, a call for our pet. A small brown and orange fox trotted into the room, six fluffy tails swaying behind it.

"Pix?" the small Vulpix mewed. Mom grabbed a piece of bacon and broke off the end. Vulpix perked up and swiftly moved over to her side.

"Back up." She said as Vulpix moved. "Sit." She did just that. Mom lowered the piece of bacon in front of the brown fox's face. "Ember." Mom dropped the piece of bacon as Vulpix splattered an ember onto the piece of bacon before quickly feasting on the piece of meat. My mother leaned over and patted her tuft of hair on top of her head, eliciting a happy cry from the vixen. Her fur was looking a little more matted than usual.

"Isn't she just the cutest," Mom doted, turning back towards me and the meal in front of her. I was finishing up my plate as I formed a reply.

"Yeah, though she should probably get groomed soon, you know how she gets when her fur is out of touch." Vulpix looked up at me and huffed before inspecting her fur, searching for the spot in question. I stood up from the table and brought my wares to the sink. On the way back I snagged a brush and comb out of a drawer in the kitchen. Walking back into the dining room, I watched Vulpix scamper over to me, tails swaying as she recognized the context of the situation. Leaning over, I brushed the small knots out of the pristine-looking orange fur before combing everything nice and smooth. It took a couple minutes, but afterward Vulpix was happily mewing and she looked just as pretty as I remember.

"Piiix, pix!" she cried, bumping her snout into my shin. She's so adorable. How can you be so cute?! I reach down and comb my fingers through her tuft of head fluff, before straightening it again.

"You're really good at that, aren't you." Mom suddenly said, reminding me that there was someone else in the room. "I mean just look at her, she's so happy!" Looking down at the vixen I could see the joy and pride in her eyes. Huh.

"I guess so. Sad that I'll be moving out soon," I moped, watching Vulpix look at her with sudden lillipup-eyes. "I'll miss you when I'm out there, Vulpix." Bending over I gave her a gentle hug and a peck on her head tuft. She mewled back at me and licked my cheek with her almost uncomfortably warm tongue. Letting go of her I stand up with a heartfelt look at her.

"Well, I should probably get going soon," I announce, looking back to my mom. "Pretty sure I'm already late as is, don't want to keep the big man waiting."

"First day and you're already late?" my mom sighs, standing up and walking towards me. "Stay safe out there, okay?" We wrap each other in a hug. "I hope you get what you want out there," she says with a suspicious hint of understanding.

"Aye aye, captain," I reply, breaking the hug to give her a little salute. We both chuckle, separating the hug.

"Really though. Be careful. You never know what's truly out there," she finishes, "Now go and live your life." I started to get a little teary-eyed. This is it, I thought, I'm finally going out there.

"Thanks mom," I choked out, turning away and grabbing my bag. "I'll remember to visit someday down the line." I walked over to the door and opened it. I pause, breathing in the outside air and clearing my senses. Then I hop outside and get on my way. Off to the lab!

Scyther's POV

It's been a while since I was put into the sphere. Where is this supposed trainer that was to arrive? Birch had set me down in some sort of container, that connection that I feel when he holds me now gone. A real reliable person aren't they? Stupid humans, why does Birch trust this one so much to give my life to them. I guess if they're terrible, I can just— My thoughts are interrupted by a sudden noise outside of my ball. It was faint and almost inaudible through the plastic chamber I'm inside, but I could distinctly make out some loud chatter. Is that Joy? No, she shouldn't be here... who is that? My trainer? They're loud. The chatter sounded like they were getting closer until the noise of Birch's door opening clicked in my ears, and I could finally make out the actual words.

"...and this is my room, welcome in. This is where we'll discuss your deal for the next while." Birch's voice faded in.

"Thank you so much for this Professor," she thanked, "I don't mean to sound greedy or anything, but is my starter here?" This lady's voice sounded like no other female's I've heard. It's not harsh and drilling like Mother's, but it's not as soft and caring as the Nurse's. It's a bit more carefree and joyful, nervous and heartfelt. It's a new experience.

"Unfortunately, I have agreed upon revealing no information until your signature is down on paper. You might be dissuaded by my choice of Pokémon or it might make you think irrationally, and sign without thinking," Birch explained, me currently unable to see any gestures that he is making. "Remember, this is an experiment of sorts, it requires no before-hand bias."

"Got it, got it," the lady sighed as I heard a pair of chairs in the room roll around before getting sat in. "So, anything else you need to legally say before I get to look at the official documents?" Birch chuckled in response.

"Unfortunately, yes there is. I would just like to make sure that you know tha—" Birch's sentence was interrupted by my own thoughts as I began delving into my mind. Am I really ready for this? Can I actually trust this human? How can I tell if they are as trustworthy as Birch lets on? They sure haven't made a good job of making it here on time. I start tuning back into the briefing.

"—ow, I do believe that would conclude everything that I have to say." Papers begin to rustle, and I can hear the click of one of those 'Pen' things. "Now, if you wish to continue with this experiment, please sign here and here." More boring talk, just get me out of this blasted ball already! I could faintly hear the girl mutter something or make some movement, I couldn't quite make it out, before they exclaimed something.

"Okay! So does this mean that I'm a trainer now?" Birch chuckled at her enthusiasm.

"Indeed, we'll be printing off your trainer's license after we leave this room, but first, I'd like you to take your first Pokéball." I could hear Birch stand out of his chair. It's me, right? I'm really going to do this, huh? His footsteps approached me at a pace much too slow for my nerves. I could feel the plastic container I was in shift and move, my ball rolling slightly inside. The lady's excitement was palpable in her noises of delight. Suddenly every sound in the room became clearer as the glass above me retracted into the container. It was like a sixth sense developed and I could feel her hand reach towards me. I rocked my ball towards her hand as she brought it closer, wishing to be rid of this cage. Unfortunately this seemed to have the opposite effect, as her hand flinched away from me with a sound of surprise coming from her mouth.

"He's lively today," Birch chuckled, "He must be as excited as you are for this." This seemed to calm the girl down, She got scared by that little movement? Her hand reached back down to me, and she eventually wrapped her hand around my ball. That familiar jolt of a connection returned, though much fainter this time than Birch's. If I had a physical body I'd sigh of relief. The connection that I felt from them felt more... unstable. And like the colors red and white. A burning, passionate ember, protected on a small, enclosed island. Pure and unstoppable yet lacking the fuel to burn bright enough to be found.

"My first Pokéball... heh, haha! Suck it Brendan I made it!" The lady cheered. I do not know who this Brendan is, but what are they cheering about? They only picked me up, nothing more. "Professor? May I release him here?"

"I'd prefer if we went outdoors first," he stated, "I have a yard behind the building if you want to use that." I prefer the outdoors as well. I'm sick of white walls.

"Alright! Let's get going then!" she exclaimed in barely contained excitement. And so we exited the room.

I could faintly hear the outside world, chirps and cries of wild Pokémon filling the air. The sound of the lady taking a deep breath of the outdoors slightly calming my nerves. At least she seems to enjoy the outdoors. I thought, dreading the incoming experience. If Birch is such a renowned person, why can't he just keep me? He instructed intelligently and diligently, how do I know this human can do just as good? I missed a momentary conversation between the two, something menial, and then I felt my ball lift upwards. Are they... looking at me? I try to grasp onto that connection but the feeling is too unfamiliar compared to Birch's, who I only managed to slip into that connection for a fraction of a moment after the small amount of trust that was built into me by the training session. At least, that's my guess on how it works.

"Alright, Professor, now is it okay for me to let them out of their ball?" The girl asked Birch. Finally, I get to stretch my wings. I got returned with them at an awkward angle. The professor chuckled in response.

"Yes, yes, you may release them now. Best to get accompanied to them now rather than later." I felt the lady's grip shift on the ball, and pointing it outwards they prepared to release me... and then didn't. What are they doing? "Alexa? Is everything alright?" Birch asked, concerned. So her name is Alexa.

"Y-Yeah, I just... it's been a long time coming, y'know?" she stammered, hand unmoving from its outstretched position.

"I know the feeling well, so don't worry I understand. Whenever you're ready." I couldn't hear a response from her other than a large breath of air, shaky and a lot less calm than before. Next thing I know, I feel the release mechanism be pressed. Vision returns to me in a flash that I've become prepared for, and it takes just a moment to recollect myself and my surroundings. The grass beneath my feet feels slightly dewy from dawn. The air seems like the sharper, colder air has vanished from our time in Fortree City. Spring is starting and I quite enjoy the warmer environment compred to the colder Winter air. A sudden loud noise jolts me into awareness of the two humans in front of me. Looking at them, I can see Birch's now familiar features, him being dressed the way he was when he first met me. Looking over to his side, I saw the strangest looking human I've ever seen, presumably Alexa. Alexa had long, flowing white hair, almost blinding in the sunlight, and scarlet-red eyes. She was wearing an assortment of white and yellow clothing, and I could see my ball in her hand. She's the first human that I've seen to be around the same height as me, and I've seen Scyther taller than me. The loud noise that startled me earlier presumably came from her, her mouth agape and now moving to speak.

Alexa's POV

"H-Hello!" I stammered, "Um, I'm Alexa! And after today I'll be your trainer." He makes some sort of noise that sounds like laughing. Can he even laugh? I do hope I'm being respectful enough. Out of everything to pop out of that ball I wasn't expecting a Scyther! Aren't those like super rare and/or endangered? I'm not caught up on my ecosystems. Wait does he have a name? Calling him Scyther would get kind of dull. "Does he have a name?" I turn to Birch, asking.

"Well, the only form of identification we've found for him is a tag that said 'H-457' on it." The professor replied, looking at the Scyther as he spoke..

"H-457?" I clarified, Birch nodding at me. I'm sorry, but what kind of name is that? Was he some sort of lab experiment? Caught by a super-nerd? Are there 456 other Scythers named like that?

"Yes, though do keep in mind that we did not give him that name. I guess you could call him a 'rescue' Pokémon." At least it's not them that named him. Where could he have been? I thumbed my chin in thought, pondering how I can make this name better.

"What about... no," Hast sounds dumb, "Maybe, nah," Harold? Hat? No. "Maybe... Oh! I got it, what about Harvest? Since you have those sickles, and the letters on your tag could match into the word!" Proud of myself, I watched as the Scyther adopted a strange expression, and without being experienced at reading Pokémon, I have no clue what's going through his head. Then, after a minute or so of waiting, he looked right at me and nodded.

After we had introductions done, Birch decided to call it a day after letting Harvest get some time outside of the ball. It seems he doesn't like the ball very much. I think Birch wanted to let the events of the day simmer, and to get the Scyther's opinion of me. Not sure how he manages to hold a conversation with him, but he's also the Professor so I'm sure he knows what he's doing. Not wanting to head back to Mom's after already saying my farewells, I decided to live in the Trainer Life and camp outdoors for a day. It went fairly well, other than a Wurmple crawling into my bag in the night. I did not scream when I picked up my bag and it started thrashing.

Thinking back on yesterday I started to ponder. Harvest... What happened to you? Why did you have a code for a name? For my first encounter with a Pokémon of my own, I think it went pretty well. Also, a Scyther is gonna be my starter! I can't wait to get on the road.

Walking back to the Pokémon lab, I made sure to care for my frazzled hair, I thought back to Harv's reaction to me. To say the look on his face was surprise is an accurate statement, but he also seemed to assess me the moment he saw me. It was like he needed to make sure I wasn't a danger to him, even though I hadn't done anything yet. Is that a normal thing to do? I know that Scyther are natural-born fighters and they hold a large pride in their victories. But from the look of him, and the fact that Birch had given him to me of all people, probably means he hasn't had a lot of typical combat. At least we'll be learning together.

Arriving at the door, I turned the handle and walked in. "Professor? Are you here?" I announced, a male clerk to the side giving me a look, knowing me well enough from the past few years.

"Dr. Birch is in his office right now, miss Albrum." The assistant said with a dry tone.

"Got it, thanks Rube!" I replied to him.

"My name's not—" the clerk cut himself off with a sigh. Walking perhaps a little faster than would be considered safe in an environment like this, I went to the door I had entered the day before. I just can't wait!

Birch's POV

I discussed with H, or Harvest now, a little more about being a human's Pokémon, and I asked what he thought of Alexa. He showed clear signs of distrust and worry for if she could train him well. I expected this, it's natural for a Scyther to want the best possible, plus he's shown signs of human distrust ever since I knew him. However, the thing that surprised me was his liking of the name Harvest. It's a bit of an odd name, but to each their own. I feel it's more symbolic than he lets on, but it's very difficult to transfer ideas with a language barrier.

We were in the middle of another discussion about training when a knock at the door told me that we had a visitor. I told the mantis that we might continue this later and returned him. I told them to come in and just like I thought, Alexa walked in.

"Welcome Alexa, had a good night's rest?" I eyed the new grass stains on her pants, and noted that she was wearing the same clothes as yesterday. Luckily she didn't smell or look worse for wear, so I ignored it.

"Oh, yeah, I actually did. I didn't think I'd sleep well in excitement for today." She says, rubbing the back of her head. As she talked I grabbed a clipboard from my desk and also grabbed two Pokéballs off of my desk.

"For today we will be practicing building teamwork between you and Harvest, through a test of sorts." I start, looking at my clipboard then at Alexa, who at first had a disappointed look, then hid it with excitement. She probably thought she'd get to immediately walk out with her new partner.

"What kind of exercise will we be doing?" She questioned, slightly interrupting me.

"First we will have two mock battles where you just have to touch the opposing Pokémon first, followed by an actual match with a trainer." Harvest's ball rolled suddenly in my pocket, slightly spooking me. I'm surprised he's already accustomed enough to his ball to do that. "Now, this will be an actual test, so you will need to win a majority of these battles. This will let me know that the both of you are ready for the fight-filled life of a trainer. It also lets me know if Harvest is truly alright with being your Pokémon. If he doesn't feel that you two can mesh propery, he can easily throw a match."

"Will we start now?" Alexa anxiously asked, her worries spiking.

"Yup!" I said, doing nothing to ease her worries. "Just follow me to the yard out back once more and we'll be underway." After all, trainers deal woth stress and fears every day.

Harvest's POV

Once more I was released into the yard. My wings flitted in anticipation. A real combat. Am I really ready? I'll be stopped if I go too far, right? Just follow their lead, right Birch? I stood there, prepared for the familiar mock fight coming. Standing across from me was the trainerless Taillow and behind me was Alexa.

"You ready for this rematch?" Taillow called to me. I nodded in reply to them, my stance sinking lower and my blades at the ready. Instincts kicked in as my eyes zeroed in on possible weak points and my wings twitched faster in the tense atmosphere. Under the wing. Base of the tail. Different areas to make my strikes hurt more were revealed to my eyes.

"Are both contestants ready?" Birch announced, watching the match from the sideline once more.

"R-Ready!" Alexa called before I could give my input. I look over my shoulder at her, her face turned towards Birch in feigned courage.

"Ready!" Taillow cried, a simple chirp to the humans. Birch's gaze lingered on Alexa for a moment before turning towards the makeshift battlefield drawn by a stick in the dirt.

"Begin in three, two, one... Begin!" As Birch cried out the last syllable, Taillow shot forward in their newly learned Quick Attack. I predicted this and flew straight up and over them, Taillow's wings still folded as they wanted maximum speed forward. Being taught by Birch I didn't go for an immediate counter-attack, and instead looked towards my trainer. Looking at them, their face was wracked with thought, probably formulating some sort of plan that immediately failed as the match started. They're thinking too hard about this. Turning back to the match Taillow recovered in the air and began a staring match that lasted a few tense moments.

"Q-Quick Attack! Then, uh, do it again!" Alexa cried out, clearly trying their hardest to think of something. I channeled the energy into my legs and blades, tensing them against the ground and raising my blades as I shot forward. Through some phenomenon that I knew worked but not how, I could precisely see where I was going even as the world blurred slightly. Taillow naturally dodged the attack by flying upwards, but as I went past where they were a moment ago, I turned on my heel and almost slipped on a loose pile of dirt before Quick Attacking directly at the bird. I took a little too long due to the slip and she managed to flutter away from my attempt to touch her. Taillow took this opportunity to use their own Quick Attack and I could see the energy manifest much quicker than mine did. My wings whirred as fast as they could as I watched Taillow to guess where they were aiming. My torso! I waited a moment longer as I saw Quick Attack finish and right in that moment I twisted myself in the air to be horizontal and stopped flapping my wings, making Taillow miss me. I tried to reach out and tap them, but they were already too far. My wings returned to their fluttering right as I, gently this time, landed onto the ground.

"Up!" Alexa shouted, and my wings returned to their full flight. "More!" I flutter faster, the beat of my wings beginning to become more audible. Taillow matched my pace not wanting to fall behind. I sure hope she has some kind of strategy. I take a glance around and notice that we're above the treeline and although they aren't nearly as big as Fortree City's, they are quite high off the ground. Alexa has said nothing else so I continue rising.

"Slow down a little." At this point her yelling voice is more like a casual conversation. I gladly slow, my wings already tiring. I eye Taillow approaching me but still far enough that no attack from either of us will reach each other. A moment or two passes with Taillow gradually gaining on me.

"Quick and spin!" Quick and spin? Quick Attack while spinning? I guess I can try it. My wing fluttering slows enough to hover as I charge the normal energy for three seconds once more. I hold my blades out to the side, preparing to throw them into a random direction. How do you even spin in the air? My fluttering stops as I shoot off, and luckily Taillow managed to be confused by the order as well, and she gets caught off guard. However, it appeared to be fruitless, as I sailed right past her with no results. My momentum carried me downwards, and I manage to slow myself down enough to not crash into the ground. Looking up, I expect to see Taillow up above, only to see nothing. I hear a noise next to me and she's standing right there. My instincts tell me to run, fight, Quick Attack, anything, just don't lose. But then I noticed a funny look on her features. And then I noticed a slight scratch on her wing. Wait a second.

"Alexa and Harvest win the mock battle!" Birch announces. Taillow laughs at the look on my face as Alexa cheers. That worked? How did we manage that?

"We did it, Harvest! Our first victory!" I heard a shrill voice cry from behind me. I turn around to suddenly see white and yellow fill my vision. Her arms wrapped tightly around me, and it seemed like she wanted to spin me around her but I managed to be too tall and heavy for her to lift. She then backs away after realizing her outburst and sheepishly looks away, but I just keep a level stare at her. She is quite energetic for someone so cowardly.

"Well done, Alexa. Your plan was a bit haphazard and had major punishments that could happen, but you still won in the end. Just something to keep in mind for future bouts, if it's wild you don't need to come up with a plan. Wild Pokémon are unpredictable and each has their own way to fight, trained in their mind." He instructs before turning to me. "Sometimes running off of instinct can help you."

"Yeah, I can definitely say that I learned that from this match. In the future I might just have Harvest here do the wild fights for me, since I can't help but overthink a plan of action." Alexa said as I gave Birch a weird look. Isn't the trainer supposed to always instruct the Pokémon? Is this what he meant by different style of training? "Don't get me wrong, I will be helping him in the fight, like if he loses sight of them or they use a sneaky move." I give her a nod, appreciating the acknowledgement of her weakness. Unfortunate that she has any.

"Understandable, and also a recommended strategy for beginners. Unless you know the ins and outs of every Pokémon and have an accurate judgement of their species, there's no way to form a foolproof plan against them," Birch instructed. Alexa gave a firm nod at the information. "Now then, are you ready for the second mock battle?"

"Yes Professor," Alexa responded. Birch recalled Taillow with a 'Thank you' before he grabbed a different Pokéball off of his waist. Releasing the Pokémon inside, I remembered the appearance of the small blue amphibian from yesterday, a Mudkip if I remembered correctly. Then something I didn't expect happened. Birch walked to the other side of the field.

"In this battle you will be facing Mudkip and I together. Whoever hits the other first wins." Birch announced, as Mudkip walked to what is now Birch's side of the field. I made my way over to my newfound Trainer's side of the field, before I heard her call me over to her.

"If you could stop him from hitting you for just a little bit, I'll pick up on his style and then I'll give you instructions, alright?" Alexa whispered to me. I nodded in response. I sure hope that she knows what she's doing. I thought, walking back to the center of our half of the arena. My wings flicked back and forth in anticipation and I watched Mudkip pace back and forth, the sandy ground it stood on was growing darker, like it was absorbing water.

"Ready?" Birch asked but didn't wait for a response, "and, Begin!" The moment the last syllable left his mouth my body took off and the Mud Fish Pokémon was sliding its front feet across the ground, and I watched as the ground itself heaved up in a splash of mud. Unluckily for Mudkip, I was already off the ground, so their quick tactic didn't work. After I reached a measurably safe distance from Birch's blue fish, I looked at my trainer for input. They were staring straight at Birch, most likely trying to study his moves. Looking back at my opponent, it was crouched low, growling at me. For some reason, perhaps it was exhaustion from the last fight, my wings started slowing and my altitude decreased. If I pushed them I could regain it, but I didn't want to waste energy if I still needed to attack them. Looking back at Alexa, she was still only looking at Birch and occasionally glancing at Mudkip. Does she think we can brat them by staring hard enough? If she doesn't pick up on something soon I'll be caked in mud. The distance slowly closed between me and the blue Pokémon and I could see the excitement in its eyes as I lost the strength in me. Intensifying its growls once more I dropped faster than I previously was.

"Quick Attack!" I heard a female voice cry. It took me a moment to hear the order but I still charged on nonetheless. I lunged forth, only a couple feet from melee distance anyway. My vision honed in on the Mudkip's center mass. I could see my claw about to strike the Mud Fish, and then suddenly my vision was filled with brown, then black before the stinging of my eyes kicked in. I tumbled and rolled against the rough ground before I felt myself being recalled to a Pokéball.

My eyes stung less and I no longer felt so lethargic. I was released almost immediately from the ball, and I tried to wipe my eyes clean of the itching feeling. Needless to say it's hard to do so when you have blades for hands. Using the back edge of them I managed to ease it slightly by rubbing it along my eyelids. Watching my surroundings I see everyone standing near me, seemingly waiting until I could see.

"Sorry about that Mud-Slap to the face Harvest," Birch apologized, running his hand through his hair as I stood up from the ground.

"You took that like a champ!" the enthusiastic little Mudkip exclaimed.

"Unfortunately we did lose, so that's on me," Alexa sulked, "Sorry." In response I looked down at the dirt. So her plan wasn't worthwhile in the end.

"Now then," Birch began, "I would like to point out that your strategy was flawed, Alexa. It would've worked better in a normal battle, but either way, your Pokémon can't sit around all match and wait for your strategy." Alexa looked down at this and took a moment to respond.

"Right. Thank you," she replied, clearly not happy with how the match played out.

"And Harvest, your reaction time needs some improvement. I know I taught you to try and rely on your trainer's instructions, but that doesn't mean you can't act without being told. Just keep your mind clear of any plans until your trainer comes up with one. It's a lot harder to dodge while deep in thought." I nod at him, understanding the issue. Now if only she could think of one when it matters. I was still rubbing some of the stinging out of my eyes when Birch spoke up again.

"Now, let's all take a small break and then we'll pick back up with our real One on One battle." Birch finished, walking off to the edge of the field alongside his Mudkip. As he got out of earshot, I looked to my trainer, hoping for anything to redeem our loss just now. Her chin had her finger curled around it while she was deep in thought. Her scarlet eyes seemed unfocused and I don't know if she noticed anything Birch said.

"Hey." I said, knowing fully well she wouldn't understand what I said, but hoping to get her to focus on me. Her trance broke as she looked me straight in the face and finally formed a couple words.

"I've got a plan, and we'll beat Birch no matter what." This better be good.

On the other side of the field Birch was talking to both his Pokémon, Taillow and Mudkip. I trotted my way over to him after Alexa explained her plan to me. I had a bit more confidence in this one, it really did seem like she finally figured something out after the first two combats. I stood before Birch and flicked my wings to get his attention. He looked at me, surprised for a moment before collecting himself.

"Oh! Harvest, what can I do for you? We still have some break time left." Birch asked me, with my response being to look at him and find where his Pokéballs are. I could see the shape of them outlined in his lab coat pocket. Pointing at them, I voiced what I wanted.

"I want to fight both." Again, I knew a human wouldn't understand me, but the two Pokémon at his side sure did.

"Both of us?" Taillow asked, concerned for the outcome of the fight.

"I don't want the fight to be that easy," Mudkip whined. I only grinned a toothy smile in response to the two smaller Pokémon. Birch looked at his Pokémon's surprised expressions and looked back at me, hoping for a small amount of more context. I took my right blade and pointed it at both Taillow and Mudkip before turning it on the ground before me. Birch seemed to get the message at that point, as he looked behind me at the approaching Alexa.

"I think he wants to fight both your Pokémon, Professor." Alexa clarified as she walked up.

"Are you sure, Harvest?" Birch asked, "I don't mean to doubt you but Taillow is slightly more experienced than you are and Mudkip is almost your equal." I only nodded at him, though I have to admit I have been nervous about going into a real fight for a while. However, if I'm to beat Birch and prove that Alexa is a more worthy trainer than him, then I need to truly beat him in his entirety. If not truly for Alexa then for myself. I need to convince myself that I'm better with her than with him.

"Alright then. Make sure that you're truly prepared for this fight then. We won't hold back on you." Birch declared. My throat felt dry as I thought about true combat. There won't be any blood. There won't be any k-killing. It's a friendly match with no holding back.

"You can count on me to give it my all." Taillow said, locking eyes with me in a challenge. "I need my revenge after losing 0-2 to you."

"Then bring it." I finished. This won't go well. I just know it.

I was in my Pokéball, counting the seconds and steeling myself for combat. What if something goes wrong? Birch got someone from the local Pokémon Center to come and 'referee' the match. If I mess this up, do I ruin Alexa's life? Alexa seems just as nervous as I am. What if I hurt them? I try to grasp at that connection I feel while in a Pokéball. What if I kil— That connection suddenly interrupts my thoughts, as it grows stronger and more intense suddenly. I can feel something rattle on my hip. I look down at it and pat it—wait I can see while in the ball now? I never moved my arm either. Is that a human hand? I realize suddenly—I'm seeing through Alexa's eyes. That connection that I feel is the bond shared through the ball.

My thoughts that were rattled and frantic suddenly calm, and I get a feeling of understanding and steadiness. I-I'm ready now. I can hear the call of Birch being ready for the fight. I—no, my trainer, calls out her ready. I feel her hand wrap around my ball. Then, the release.

My feet hit the flat dirt field and my eyes lock onto my opponent. Mudkip. The battle-hungry fish quivers in excitement across from me, as I lower my body and hold my arms into a battling stance. It's time.

"Ready?" the Referee called. "And, begin!"

And cliffhanger. So sorry I took so long to get this chapter written. I have literally no excuse other than I'm a procrastinator. So yeah! Name of the story is out there, and the two main characters have met. Please let me know anything you like/dislike, love/hate about the story. See you next time I update!