Celadon was well known for its etiquette. They didn’t stomp their feet, or whistle or clap too much.

Our victory roar changed that. It demanded that people stand and cheer for us.

It compelled them in a way that words never would.

They rose, to cheer and applaud so they too could be heard in the maelstrom of noise we unleashed.

A pair of nurses sprinted in from the side with another pair of Chansey accompanying them. Each Chansey had a large bed that I recognised as a tool that assisted with healing.

One of the nurse-chansey pairs broke towards me and my team while the other sprinted towards Scarlet.

It was only then that I realised that I’d been so caught up in my triumph that I had yet to congratulate her on the match.


I was about to walk towards her when Nurse Joy reached me. “Brock, for the final ceremony they want all of your pokemon up and ready for the final presentation. There will be several photos and there is a ribbon given to each pokemon to commemorate that they were part of the six pokemon that won the tournament,” she said.

Each of my pokemon perked up at this, with Bertha stomping her feet up and down happily.

To the side, other pokemon moved out of the tunnels with trainers directing them to clean up the field so that large stage could be assembled quickly. I had a flash of deja vu as I realised that this was going to be like Will and Erika’s match, only this time I was the victor.

Just that alone meant I was going to have most of the cameras on me. With the revelation of Jormungandr being capable of Mega-evolving? I knew the reporters were just chomping at the bit to reach me.

I could see a number of security guards staring down zealous-looking reporters that were eying the gaps between each security guard like they could leap over the side of the stands and onto the field. Then they’d have to make it the hundred or so metres without being brought down. They shared glances at each other looking like a pack of penguins from my past life that were judging if they could push one or two weak members of their flock in first to test the waters.

Then a commotion occurred.


I watched one try for it. They leapt, dodged to the side, only to get taken out when the security guards sent a pokemon after them instead of pursuing themselves.

The other men and women manning the line reached for their pokeballs in readiness, while watching the rest of the reporters.

The reporters subsided as one of their numbers were dragged away. The woman looked at me frantically, as though I might grant her some form of immunity if she got close enough to question me.

I pointedly looked away, pretending I hadn’t seen her as I took to waving at the crowd and laughing as my happiness bubbled back up.

It still took me a little by surprise to consider that I’d won a tournament like this. I’d won seven rounds of matches to claim the trophy that would soon be presented to me.

“Ladies, gentlemen, and pokemon of all ages! Thank you for bearing with us as we assembled the stage!” announced the Mayor of Celadon.

I glanced over and found that the pokemon were finished. A small army of pokemon and workers were withdrawing even as the Mayor garnered everyone’s attention.

“That!” The Mayor indicated the battlefield that was still being worked on. “That was some match! I think I was on the edge of my seat for more of that than I expected.”

He gestured to both Scarlet and I. “Let’s give our trainers and their pokemon another round of applause!” he said, and a wave of much more controlled cheers swept over the crowd.

I bowed towards each set of stands in thanks, my smile still huge on my face as my pokemon copied me. Scarlet waved and it was then I noticed that the nurse on her side wasn’t just trending to Scarlet’s pokemon but also Scarlet herself.

The girl was a bit pale and had a slight tremble. Damn, she’d started to white out there, hadn’t she? The fight must have really taken it out of her.

The Nurse Joy that had come over to me had only given me a once over and a nod before moving on to my pokemon, with Sanchez being the only pokemon knocked out, she’d had a much easier time. She’d still spent a lot of time looking over Jormungandr.

I stepped over to her. “They all good?” I asked, ignoring the Mayor’s prattling as I looked over my pokemon again. I doubted any of them had sustained injuries, beyond possibly Sanchez and Bertha, but it was best not to assume.

“Jorm seems fatigued but that makes all too much sense considering that he mega-evolved.” Nurse Joy shook her head. “You do realise that with this I’m going to face a panel of questions being the only medical professional to examine two Mega-evolved pokemon?”

I blinked and glanced at her nurse’s cap. “Ah, you’re the Joy from Saffron?” I said.

She bobbed her head up and down before sighing. “I’ve got a whole two pokemon to draw experience from,” she said with a laugh.

“Any observations?” I asked.

“Just that he’s now low on energy. I’d recommend a more energy-rich diet in the lead-up to matches like this, if you’re planning on using that more. It might impact the length of the evolution, or not.” She shrugged. “Who’s to say.”

“Alakazam,” I replied, not hesitating to name the true expert within Kanto. “He’s done a fairly in-depth investigation of Mega-evolution.” I chuckled and shook my head. “He will probably have a questionnaire for me to fill out with Jorm already waiting for me in my inbox,” I said.

Nurse Joy considered this for a moment before nodding. “Can I get his email address?” she asked.

I sent her a quick link through my Xtransciever before a polite cough had me looking up to show that a delegation of men and women were now on the stands. It looked like the awards ceremony was set to start.

Nurse Joy tapped me on the elbow and led me to a section of the field that was marked out for me and my pokemon. Scarlet was likewise sent to another section. All of her pokemon were back up and looking rather morose.

Scarlet was walking among them a small shawl wrapped around her shoulders with what looked like a warm drink in her hand encouraging her pokemon.

The Mayor started waxing on about the history of the Celadon tournament, the sponsors and the other dignitaries up on the stage with him. I was surprised to find that the CEO of the Celadon Department Store was up on the stage with what looked like a stack of papers next to her.

Hmmmm, coupons for her shop? Shame I’d spent so much already. Still, if they were offering free stuff, I’d happily accept it.

The Mayor then waved a hand in both Scarlet and I’s direction and I straightened up and refocused.

“— without the help of our medical staff. For this year's assistance please welcome onto the stage to accept a token of our thanks, Nurses Joy, Joy, and Joy from Celadon, Saffron, and Neon cities, along with their dedicated assistance Pokemon, Chansey, Chansey, and Bellosom!”

I blinked when I realised that yes, each Nurse Joy did in fact have a Bellosom on their shoulders. Huh, I must have been more tired than I thought, I hadn’t noticed that.

The nurses and their pokemon walked up to the stage waving in thanks and for each of them, a large stack of coupons were handed out. The pokemon seemed more interested in the vouchers than the Nurses which drew a bit of laughter from everyone.

“Now, I’d like to call up this year’s runner-up with her pokemon to accept her medal for reaching this far!” said the Mayor. Scarlet held in a tight smile as she advanced forward, leading her pokemon onto the stage.

I joined the crowd in clapping for her which seemed to help her pokemon relax as they accepted a silver ribbon from the Mayor each, while Scarlet got herself a silver medallion that hung from her neck. Snorlax almost fell over causing a small moment where the dignitaries looked like they were about to throw themselves from the stage in case a Fissure went off by accident, only for the Snorlax to catch himself and grin sleepily.

Scarlet just giggled and shook her head at her pokemon’s antics and the look of fear on some of the dignitaries’ faces. I had to admit that I was rather impressed with how the Celadon Mayor hadn’t even twitched in fear.

Scarlet stepped to the side and a formal picture was taken with her shaking the hand of the mayor before she was asked to move along.

I wet my lips and felt my smile returning. So this was what winning a tournament was like?

“And now, I’d like to introduce, to the stage, this year’s tournament winner! Brock and his team of Pokemon featuring Sanchez, Jormungandr, Bertha, Tide, Zephyr and Titan!” said the Mayor.

Each of my pokemon wiggled. With glee as they were announced. They happily accepted a golden ribbon. A small altercation arose however when Bertha received her. She eyed the small ribbon that had been given to her, and then looked at the Celadon Mayor’s gold and green sash.

She made a gesture, pointing at the sash while holding out her ribbon.

The Mayor blinked in surprise and I was about to signal Titan to nudge her along for being a nuisance when the Mayor surprised everyone by weeping his sash off and trading it for Bertha’s ribbon.

Bertha happily wrapped the sash around her neck and stomped off to the side with a huge grin.

This prompted Sanchez to roll back onto the stage and examine the other dignitaries for something he might like to trade.

When he approached a man for his tophat I facepalmed. I didn’t call for him to stop, even as the crowd broke with a wave of laughter. The poor dignitary didn’t quite seem to know what to make of this and simply gave Sanchez his tophat.

I sighed and shook my head. If people were going to accept the deals, then I’d let my pokemon make them. They obviously wanted those rather than the ribbons.

When it was my turn to follow up and shake hands. I made sure to pause and give the man who’d lost a tophat, and the mayor a furtive. “I’ll pay you back for those,” I said as they returned the ribbons to me.

The Mayor waved me off. “Don’t let it bother you! I have two more of those.” He then indicated the podium. “Would you like to say a few words for the crowd?”

I paused. I hadn’t been planning to speak, but I did have a few people to thank.

I stepped up, a smile still firmly fixed in place. “Well, this is a new experience for me,” I said with a chuckle. “It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a chance to take part in a tournament, and I have to say that I think Celadon’s has been the best I’ve taken part in.” I laughed. “And that’s not something I’m just saying because I won!”

This got a few laughs from the crowd as I rubbed the back of my head. “I say this in recognition of all the work that has been put into preparing the grounds that the tournament took part at. One hundred and eight trainers descended onto Celadon for the tournament, and I have no doubt more followed to witness this event.

“Celadon and the tournament organisers have handled themselves well and made this a memorable event. So first, to the people of Celadon City, thank you for hosting this event! For the organisers, both those who are staffers and those who volunteered, thank you for your work in making this a smooth-running tournament. I haven’t heard of any complaints, in fact, I have heard nothing but good things so you are to be commended.”

I waved a hand towards the signs denoting the sponsors. “As the Mayor said, the sponsors should also earn another round of thanks for allowing this tournament to go ahead like this. It is through their contributions that each tournament will continue to grow.”The tale has been stolen; if detected on Amazon, report the violation.

“To the other Pokemon trainers, those that I fought and those that took part, thank you for signing on and giving it your all. I don’t care if you only had the one fight, or if you made it into the later rounds. You showed up and you put yourselves out there. You will have tested the bonds you share with your Pokemon and will have tested others. Your competitive spirit drives the creation of events such as this and for being great competitors you have my thanks.”

I turned to Scarlet and her team. “Scarlet, you were a wonderful final opponent. You pushed me to reveal a trick I wasn’t sure I’d need. Your pokemon team is well-trained, and you have a great understanding of diversity and covering your weaknesses. Your current Ace ranking will, I have no doubt, be a temporary thing as you continue to challenge others. I have no doubt that you belong in the top twenty Ace trainers at least. Please don’t settle for just that though as I think you have a wonderful understanding which will only continue to grow. Thank you for testing me and my Pokemon, the match against you was extremely enjoyable.”

I turned back to the stands. “I will bore you all with three more groups that deserve thanks, my family, who have been there with me and supported me in ways that you can’t truly put into words,” I said. I pointedly didn’t say, through thick or thin, as that wasn’t always true.

“My trainer entourage both here and back in Pewter, you help out in a lot of different ways and help push me to achieve everything that I have set my eyes on. With this year's difficulties I have little doubt that I would have been consumed by the workload if it wasn’t for your assistance.”

I turned back to the stage and waved a hand to my pokemon. “And finally, my pokemon. There are more of you that have contributed than just the six on display. Some of them are watching from afar, and some of them are no longer with us.” I let my smile turn a little brittle.

“I’m sure there are a lot of people out there wondering about the specific makeup of my team. There are perhaps better choices, tonight’s six represent something different than just strength though.”

I’d planned this team mostly as a tribute to the pokemon that had been part of my Journey the longest.

Sanchez had of course been a stand-in for Dwayne, just as Jorm was a replacement for Guybro.

Scarlet was good enough that I needed to bring out all the stops.

It was a good thing my original team had featured an Onix.

“This team represents the pokemon that went the furthest with me on my Journey, some of them are my strongest pokemon and also the pokemon that have been with me the longest.” I grinned.

“We never won a tournament when we were on our Journey, and for a long time, I had let that dream fade.” I let my smile turn soft as I sought out the central camera and stared straight down the lens.

“If you were like me, and you’re sitting at home, thinking that the world and your dreams have passed you by, I hope my victory tonight can resonate with you. Don’t give up on your dreams, sometimes they’re closer than you realise. Tonight, one of my dreams has come true and I plan to celebrate it with my friends and loved ones. I hope the same will be true for you.”

With that said, I stepped back and waved the Mayor forward. The Mayor, instead of taking up the mic again, merely waved me towards the trophy, a huge smile on his face.

I marched towards it and only then did the mayor speak up. “This year’s tournament victor! BROCK from Pewter City!”

I lifted the trophy and felt the surge of elation sweep through me as fireworks erupted around me and my pokemon.

I walked back to my team showing them the trophy and they all sniffed and poked it. Sanchez took it from me and stood front and centre with it raised above his head. I heard the staccato of cameras going off at this and had to laugh as other pokemon in my team mimicked him.

I hummed and decided to release the other pokemon that had taken part in the tournament who I had on hand. Zubat I’d sent home, hopefully, to watch the match from the lounge room with my siblings.

Don happily bunched in with Link, Gawain and Empress to let photos be taken of him.

Empress didn’t seem to know what to make of it and she twitched and growled as photons continued to bombard her. “Hey girl, if this is a bit much I can return you?” I offered.

Empress nodded quickly and I did so, leaving the others to bask in the moment. When I marched over to shake hands with Scarlet finally, Link and Titan followed me across to say a few of their own words with the pokemon.

“You mean all that?” she asked as she shook my hand.

“Every word,” I said.

Scarlet nodded and then slapped her face with her hands. “Argh! Now I feel super motivated!” she roared looking to the side only to wilt. “Urgh it’s a shame we have to do the press conference after this,” she said.

I blinked and felt my own spirit wilt. She was right, and soon enough a group of very polite assistants herded us towards a table and chairs with a backdrop of all the sponsors set up behind us. I kept Titan and Link out. Link caused a small commotion by getting himself a chair before sitting next to me like he expected questions to come his way. I think he was just trying to be polite.

Scarlet decided to copy me with her Ampharos.

“Gym Leader Brock! How long have you had a pokemon that could Mega evolve?” said one reporter.

“Just after Sabrina’s match she showed me the final tricks to it, it has been something I have been working on for a while now. Sabrina and I have been working under Alakazam to create some research papers that a few people are aware of already but if you’re interested in learning more I’d watch the academic spaces as there are several discussions that are going to occur in the future on this.”

“So it’s fair to say that you have known about Mega evolutions for a while now? But you’ve been keeping quiet about it?”

I nodded. “I have, it has been an advantage I’ve clung to. The knowledge of Jorm being able to do this has been something that only a few trainers were aware of before today.”

“How do you think he went on his first showing? Is this the extent of his power?”

“Tonight is not the first time I have had to use Jormungandr’s Mega evolution. The first instance was in fact during the recent policing action that I was involved in where I had to fight a number of pokemon at once. Jorm and several other pokemon performed well but I was able to use him to great effect to see the criminals in custody thanks to him.”

This caused a small round of murmuring to break out.

“What do you say about there now being three trainers that are capable of Mega evolving their pokemon? Does it feel good knowing that for now, Kanto has the lead over other regions?”

I hummed. I had caught Steven Stone’s match against Drake and he’d used his Metagross to great effect. “I don’t think that’s something we will need to concern ourselves with too much. It’s not going to turn into the latest and greatest threat but something that will proliferate throughout the various levels of trainers.”

“So you’ve had a look at Steven Stone’s rumoured ‘catalogue’ then?” prompted one reporter.

I hummed in thought. “I am aware of the current rumours circulating the pokenet with regards to this.” I took a moment to take a sip of water. I knew what I was about to say was going to set the Sharpedo among the Seel.

“I have seen the catalogue in question as Steven offered it to me months ago. I will state that Steven was not accepting money at the time for the stone I ended up acquiring. If that has changed I am as yet unsure.”

The questions, as I’d expected, came quick and hard.

“Which pokemon was on this list that could have stones?” “Has this been verified?!” “What was he asking for?” “Are you now a Hoenn mouthpiece!?”

“There were many pokemon but I honestly expect that list to grow as more people investigate it. Off the top of my head, Steven had Gardevoirite, Ampharosite, Charizardite, Blastoisinite, Blazikenite, Houndoominite, Mawilite, Metagrossite, Sharpedonite, Steelixite, Slowbronite, Salamencite, and Beedrillite.”

Next to me, Scarlet twitched in surprise and her starter perked up. Another round of murmurs swept through the reporters and one man was quick to react, his microphone turning towards Scarlet. “How does it make you feel knowing that a Mega-evolution is possible for you and your pokemon?”

“It feels like I’ve been offered a terrible temptation,” said Scarlet. “Also, knowing that this is possible and that people will need to pay exorbitant fees for a power-up like that? I’m… a bit worried about what this will mean for Ace matches.”

“Could you elaborate?”

“Is this not something else that will be gated to just the rich and powerful?” Scarlet said, and I blinked as I realised she was right.

I nodded along with what she had to say. “You saw what happened when Brock used his, my pokemon suddenly had a much steeper hill to climb despite the type advantage it had, or… rather, should have had. I still don’t understand what exactly happened.”

I nodded along, feeling that these were valid criticisms.

“Brock? Do you feel you had an unfair advantage?”

“I can see where she’s coming from but I also have to point out one thing, Mega evolutions are not by any metric simple or straightforward. They are a process that underpins much of our world. As Mega-evolution is right now, it is reliant on the bond you have with your pokemon. It will not be something any trainer can buy, then turn around and purchase a pokemon that is compatible with the stone. It requires serious effort in building and an awareness of the bond you have with your pokemon.”

“Didn’t you say it took you months?”

I wobbled my hand in a so-so gesture. “Somewhat, a lot of the foundations for what I needed to do started… years ago,” I said.

I turned to Scarlet. “I think she raised a good point however, in that there is potential for abuse with these stones. Those who do have access to the Mega evolution are going to have an advantage, and while it requires hard work I think there needs to be opportunity, or at the least an even playing field to some extent.”

“How would you propose that?” asked one reporter.

I chewed my lip and had to shake my head. “I’m… not sure as yet, but I think it is something I will spend some time talking to others about and seriously considering.”

From there more questions followed and some of them I answered but after the Mega Stone access issue had been pointed out to me by Scarlet, I felt like I couldn’t ignore it. She’d been right, I did have a huge advantage, and I didn’t feel too bad about using it, but how would it seem if it became more widespread?

People already wanted to see more from Sabrina. When it spread throughout Ace trainers and such there would be a growing demand for viewers and more. This… would need to be handled very carefully.

You either needed to restrict them or let everyone have a chance and with Steven Stone holding all the megastones currently, he held all the power.

I paused when I considered that a little more.

Hmmmm, there might be someone who could help edge out Steven’s monopoly now that I thought about it some more.

I spent the rest of the night with my team of trainers and pokemon at a specialised restaurant called Ala Kabonara which was known for its high-quality food. Sabrina appeared with her own pokemon and the mood was extremely festive.

Everyone wanted to touch or take photos with the trophy and Rachel was having a field day with capturing photos for the Gym’s pokenet page.

When we were done we collected ourselves and Sabrina teleported us home to a sleepy family that awoke to give us all cuddles and kisses. For a moment I thought they might all fall back asleep without issue, then they caught sight of the trophy I’d been given to hold onto for a year and they woke up very quickly.

I shared a look with Flint. “Is tomorrow a school day?” I said, having well and truly lost track by this stage.

Flint sighed and nodded. “Oh well, it’s not every day that your big brother wins a tournament like this.” He clapped me on the shoulder. “Congratulations, you were incredible out there.”

“Yeah you were! I liked it when Jorm was like Fwoosh! Then rawr! Then wham!” said Tommy excitedly. His hands going in every direction as he pantomimed Jorm’s mega evolution.

“Munch!” said Munchlax with a pleased look on his face.

I nodded along. “Yeah! That Snorlax wasn’t what I was expecting and it was really strong!” I said, causing Munchlax to swell with pride for his evolved form.

Yolanda nodded her head. “I was surprised! I hadn’t realised Snorlax were so strong!”

I chuckled. “It gets overlooked cause of how much work it is to get them to train, and the expenses associated with them, but they are powerful pokemon that can tank and deal out a lot of damage.”

This drew Salvadore into the discussion and allowed me to step away to prepare the presents pile with Yolanda.

When we turned around our family was watching us with glinting, greedy eyes.

I shot Yolanda a look. “Welcome to being an older sibling,” I said, before calling up the first sibling to get their present from each of us. This helped to control the otherwise guaranteed chaos of a small wave of children reaching for presents.

When everything was done two presents remained. “Who are those for?” asked Yolanda.

I handed her one, causing her to blush in surprise while the other I stuffed into a cupboard. “The other one is for Forrest, but he can wait to receive it,” I said, pushing it into a pile of other such presents I’d been collecting on my various trips away for him.

“Awww!” I didn’t know you kept those for him!” Yolanda said happily.

I winked at her as she opened her present to find a fire-type pokemon kit for grooming and dealing with common injuries. “Does this mean I can start training a Spot officially?” she said excitedly.

“You can train him, but that doesn’t mean you—” My words were cut off as Yolanda glomped me.

“Thankyou thankyou thankyou!” she said happily.

I sighed. Who was I kidding? Yolanda was going to depart here with at least a team of six pokemon ready to go. How strong those pokemon were would be up to her.

I handed Flint a small present while the others were distracted. Flint blinked. “Oh, thank you,” he said, opening it to find a nice shaving kit.

“I think I want to pick your brain over something that was said during the press conference,” I said to him, from the side of my mouth. Sabrina, who’d stuck around perked up upon hearing this and stepped closer. I’d mentioned my thoughts to her and now she listened intently.

“Yes? What specifically?”

“If you knew what sorts of Pokemon could Mega Evolve, do you think you could investigate certain regions or know where to look to find Mega stones or Keystones?” I asked seriously.

I might not know what I would do with them, but it would be better to have options than not.

Steven Stone, would not remain the only option for people to get Mega Stones if I had my say. I wasn’t going to wait around until we discovered Kalos.

I’d even the playing field as best I could for as many people as possible.

It was merely a new challenge.

Flint tentatively nodded his head and I felt my small glimmer of hope grow.

I got an agreement with Flint to talk with him later tomorrow before plucking the trophy from Cindy’s hands. “This is going in the trophy case,” I said proudly, marching it towards the glass case that housed photos of me and the family, my badge case, and for now?

The Celadon Ace trophy. It looked damn good in there.

Today, I concluded as I observed the trophy, had been a good day. I noticed Sabrina giving me a look with promise attached to it and I turned, ready to announce that it was time for bed.

Before I could do that, Suzie walked up with Cindy in tow. “Brock, Sabrina? Are you going to form a magical girl team?”

Yolanda giggled as Tommy, Billy, and Timmy all looked poleaxed at this question.

Sabrina gave me a thoughtful look. “He does look good in a dress… Hmmmm I think he can be a reserve member for now,” she said jokingly.

The girls nodded along in understanding and Suzie patted me on the arm. “There there, you can apply again I’m sure.”

I huffed and swept Sabrina’s legs out from under her causing her to giggle at me as I shot the rest of my family a stern look. “Good night family!” I said, taking Sabrina to bed.