I left my conscience somewhere with my rhythm

I heard about it from the mouth of a man

He was hoppin' some trains and combing the land

Looking for a lover

"Hey, you. Hello, miss red bandanna and black hair? Are you listening to me?"

Hmm. I wonder how those weird noises got into my mp3 player.

Planted in the east

Tryin'a run from the dreaded fist beast


I looked around a tad, not seeing the yeller I turned up the volume on the player.

A sudden tap on my shoulder caused me to jump as if I'd been attacked by Raikou. Quickly, I jabbed at the pause button and ripped off my headphones.


I blinked, not seeing anyone. Then, glancing at the ground, I saw this kid, about 10, dark hair, shorts, T-shirt, backwards baseball cap, Poké Ball in hand, and a rather exasperated look on his face.

"Uh…" I said dumbly.

The kid got up. "Are you a trainer, by any chance?"

I continued to blink. "Uh… Ya… And?"

The boy put his head in his hands, as if it should be obvious.

Then it dawned on me. "Oh. Battle, is it?"

He shot me a dirty look. "YES."

I immediately brightened up. "Oh, OKay. I, Tarika Evans, challenge you, uh… what's your name?"

He smiled at me pityingly. "You're a new trainer, aren't you?"

I turned red, not wanting to let him know that he was correct. "Your point being?"

"We don't bother with formalities out here."

I smiled. "Oh, OKay!"

"Let's get started already. Go, Ratatta!" The trainer enlarged the Poké Ball and released a Ratatta. I glanced over it.

"Let's see… It's a Ratatta, that much is obvious… Male, is it?" The trainer nodded. "Level… 2, 3?"

"3. Hurry up, will ya…"

I smiled again. "Sorry, just checking. And ya, I do do this before every battle." I removed a Poké Ball from my backpack strap, enlarging it at the same time – a trick that had taken me a month to perfect. "Bugsta, go!"

Bugsta, my level 3, newly caught Caterpie, leapt out of the Ball.

Both of us yelled the same attack. "Tackle attack!"

Bugsta and the guy's Ratatta lunged for each other, colliding in mid air. I winced – my cousins across Johto and Kanto had sent me some Butterfree capable TMs, but I knew that Butterfree was the only stage in the evolutionary chain that could use TMs.

"Bugsta, keep Tackling that thing – if your HP gets too low, use that Berry I gave ya, Kayz?"

"Ratatta, you keep Tackling too!"

The Pokémon kept leaping, hitting, landing, over and over.

*It's too fast… Hang on, Ratatta only has one move at this stage!*

"Bugsta, use String Shot to slow it down!"

Bugsta stood his ground, forming Caterpie silk in his mouth. When the thread was ready, he took aim and shot it straight at the Ratatta, catching its front left leg and slowing it down.

"Good on ya, the other legs now! We want to get it as slow as possible!"

It took a while, but eventually that Ratatta was moving as slow as a Snorlax.

"Argh! Ratatta, keep trying to Tackle it!"

I grinned. "Bugsta, keep dodging – it's only got about 15PP left!"

The Ratatta lunged again. "Make that 14!"

"ERGH, keep trying to hit it!"











"Bugsta, Tackle as much as you like, all it can do now is Struggle and that has recoil!"

The other trainer was now sitting on the ground with his head in his hands. Raising his head fractionally, he gave the only order he could with a sigh. "Struggle."

Within a few hits (not to mention quite a few Struggles, with recoil), the Ratatta was down. I held out my hand, smiling, and the guy stuck in a wad of cash.

"Thank yaz. Get that Ratatta to a Pokémon Center, the Cherrygrove City Center's pretty near, and Mr. Pokémon might heal it. After that, get some more training in your schedule, kay?"

I smiled at him smugly, and walked off, handing Bugsta a Berry.

I slowly made my way to Violet City, running back to the Cherrygrove City Pokémon Center after almost every battle. (Hey, if there's free healing available to ya, don't waste your Berries.) When I finally got to Violet, I explored town. Talked to all the townspeople, found out the Gym's weakness (rock or electric – there were two under trainers and a gym leader, all of whom used Flying type), went to this Pokémon school that reminded me of the Trainers classes back at New Bark Town Elementary, traded the Bellsprout I caught for an Onix, figuring it would come in handy for the upcoming Gym. I even went up north a tad to see the 'wiggly tree that squirms and dances when you talk to it'. And you know what else happened? I met up with Jace.