[Vol. I] 22. Trip to Saffron
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Training for a week with Lt. Surge went exceptionally well. Joe used different Pokemon every day, resulting in most of them growing stronger to some degree. Paras, who hadn’t been used since being caught, was probably the one that grew the most. Metapod evolved into Butterfree, learning U-turn in the process as it became weak to electric-types and was scared. Hoothoot, after being paralyzed, unlocked its weak psychic abilities and transferred its status effect over to its opponent, a move called Psycho Shift. Electric-types can’t be paralyzed, but that’s fine because it left that battle with a useful new move.

Pidgey, despite being weak to electricity, managed to evolve thanks to some battles. Fomantis didn’t change much, but it seemed to take a liking to teaching Joe’s Pokemon. Rotom mentioned that a fair few Pokemon can learn Fury Cutter. Apparently the little grass-type was trying to teach that move, although it hadn’t succeeded yet.

On the final day they decided to go all out against each other so Joe used Absol against Surge’s Mega Ampharos. It was tough, but Absol came out on top. It really is a strong one.

But with that said and done, Joe parted with the Gym Leader. It was a fun week that resulted in Joe learning more about his Pokemon and battling, which was more than enough. He also got to see some behind the scenes of the storage system that his Pokemon are resting in when they aren’t on the team. He still doesn’t really understand how it works, but it helped to know that each Trainer has a unique Storage ID. That’s how the computer knows who a Pokemon belongs to.

On his way to Saffron City, Joe took a break and let his team out to play in a field near Route 8. The Pokemon currently on hand were Absol, Quilava, Sandshrew, Ralts, Gastly and Squirtle. Joe rested against one of the few trees scattered around the place. Some of the trees had a couple dozen white balls lodged into the thick crown of leaves. Joe’s best guess was that they were cotton, although he had no real idea.

Squirtle immediately went over to Absol and started talking to the shiny. Absol wasn’t too interested, but the water-type persisted so they conversed for a bit. Joe had noticed in the last week that Squirtle was more involved with Absol than its own Trainer. Maybe the shiny was the reason Squirtle wanted to join?

Quilava was the exact opposite, always wanting attention from its Trainer. Thankfully it’s flames were only summoned during battles, otherwise Joe would have a hard time stroking its soft blue fur. Ralts, too, was happy getting attention from Joe, so for a time he just sat there with a Quilava on his lap and a Ralts on his shoulder.

They seemed like a weird duo, but Gastly and Sandshrew were getting along well. Perhaps it was because they both knew ghost-type moves. They quickly became friends and started sparring. Sandshrew used Hidden Power, of course, while Gastly darted around the purple orbs to get in a physical attack.

The purple orbs from the ghost-type Hidden Power carried on flying, eventually hitting one of those white balls in the tree Joe was resting against. He looked up at the white sphere as it began rustling around. It broke free of the tree, shook itself and looked around in search of whoever had hit it. 

Rotom spoke up now that those white orbs were shown to be Pokemon. “Wild Pokemon identified as Cottonee.”

And this Cottonee didn’t seem happy. Once it spotted the source of the attack, it glared at them and formed a green orb in front of its body that Rotom said was Energy Ball. Once the orb had grown to the size of its body, since Cottonee was quite small, it launched the attack forward. Since no one was really paying attention, the Energy Ball was shot straight into Sandshrew, injuring it badly.

Quilava hopped off its Trainer’s lap so he could get up, and he rushed over to the ground-type. Being hit by such a strong grass move was bad, but Sandshrew was a tough one and brushed it off.

Joe decided to let Sandshrew rest despite it still being able to fight. Instead he used Gastly, a Pokemon he hadn’t used besides during training with Lt. Surge. Plus, Gastly seemed to be annoyed that its new friend was injured.

“Gastly, use Thief!” A self-taught move, for some reason the ghost-type knew this long before being caught by Joe.

It flew at Cottonee, getting close before the grass-type used Stun Spore. One hundred yellow spores were released around it. The only way for Gastly to strike its opponent was to go right through and get paralysed. It had no ranged attacks.

So it did. It charged through the spores and static wrapped itself around the Pokemon, paralysing it. But Gastly carried on, not stopped by the status condition. It formed something like a hand from the gas around its body. It swiped at Cottonee once it was close enough, its claw digging deep into the white cotton. Gastly then retreated with its claw holding on to something.

Once it was far enough away, Gastly looked at what it’d stolen. Some sort of bulb that was tucked into Cottonee’s cotton. It was better than nothing, and clearly the wild Pokemon wasn’t happy about having something stolen from it. Considering this, Gastly ate the item. A now enraged Cottonee formed another Energy Ball and launched it at Joe’s Pokemon.

“Payback!” Joe ordered. Gastly had been hit by the green orb, but that was on purpose. Its other major attack was Payback, which dealt more damage after the user had been hit.

Gastly moved in to attack, intending to finish it with this powerful hit, and that it did. Cottonee attempted to use Mega Drain, but was too slow as Gastly hit it into the tree. Cottonee fell down to the ground and, after shaking itself off, started floating a bit.

Just like with Sandshrew, Joe reached for a ball before remembering that he shouldn’t catch something just because it was weakened in battle. However, to his surprise, Cottonee reacted just like Sandshrew had. It bowed slightly, allowing itself to be caught.

Joe picked up the ball. “Welcome to the team, Cottonee.” He then turned to Gastly with a smile. “Good job in that battle.”

The newly caught Pokemon was teleported to storage, and at that moment Rotom also spoke up.

“There is a new request in Saffron City. Silph Company is asking for someone to test new Pokeballs they have designed.”

Joe had completely forgotten he’d asked Rotom to keep an eye out for any jobs that might pop up. He’d specifically asked Rotom to filter down to the area around them as well as their destination. It was pointless accepting a job that was on the other side of the region, after all.

“Then we better get going.”

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