The match against Scarlet happened on Thursday. This thankfully allowed me an entire day to relax after the match.

With how hectic being a Gym Leader could be, I probably didn’t need it, but it was damn nice to have. I got the chance to wake up with Sabrina laying on me. Sadly she never liked to have her sleep interrupted beyond me simply getting up.

So I didn’t poke her or try to get handsy. She never liked it and usually banished me from the bedroom with a glare. Better to always let her sleep in.

I went through my normal routine and wandered into the hallway, not surprised when Yolanda was there waiting for me with Terra in her carry pouch.

I was surprised to find Flint there along with two Growlithe. “Spot, and…” I narrowed my eyes, still unsure which Growlithe this was. “Lady?” I asked.

Growlithe shook his head and Yolanda giggled. “Nope! This is Heffy!” The Growlithe turned and barked at Yolanda reproachfully.

I raised an eyebrow and considered that name. “This is the one Salvadore named, right? Hephaestus?”


Instantly the Growlithe perked up and barked happily. A wave of something psychic swept over the hall and Yolanda, Flint and the two Growlithe stiffened.

Yolanda bowed toward my door. “Sorry Sabrina!” she said, before scooping the quaking pokemon on their way. Flint followed her, making me scratch my head. Sabrina must not have liked the noise outside the door.

I opened the door, peeking back into the room and a single eye opened and stared at me.

“Close the door,” she said firmly.

“Love you!” I said, retreating having poked the Ursaring enough.

Yolanda gave me a very disapproving stare. “Why would you do that?!” she hissed at me.


“Sometimes I like to live dangerously?” I said, unable to really justify the teasing of my girlfriend.

Yolanda shook her head and petted Spot and Hephaestus to calm them down. Terra rolled around in the harness to indicate she was getting frustrated. Yolanda fussed over her and took off jogging. “Alright, alright, I’m running. We’ll get you settled. Come on boys!”

The Growlithe took off after her and I huffed. Flint joined me in a slow saunter towards the back. On the way I collected Gible from Salvadore’s room where he’d been studying the pokemon before going to bed. I noted that some items throughout Salvadore’s room had bite marks in them, or were outright in pieces.

None of the books had any bite marks, and neither did Salvadore himself when I lifted him from the desk to lay on his bed.

Without his body protecting them, a number of notes were revealed. I spotted several interesting observations, whereupon I quickly scribbled in additions of what I could remember from the pokedex about Gible, before taking the baby pokemon in hand.

Gible yawned hugely, exposing his teeth and sleepily smacking his lips. Then he stiffened as he registered he was being held. I watched his nostrils dilate and for a second I thought I’d made a mistake picking him up while still asleep only for him to relax as he registered my smell. I made another note at the bottom regarding this point before departing.

Flint opened the door for me and peeked in on Salvadore’s sleeping form.

“Salvadore’s really interested in being a scientist one day, isn’t he?” said Flint.

“Yeah. I think it’s good that he’s got something like this.” I scratched my chin. “What were his grades like for the last term? He usually gets B’s with the occasional rare A.”

“Really? I’d say he’s tracking upwards then! I’ve seen more consistent A’s, but still mostly high B’s,” Flint responded.

I grunted. “Might have to do something to motivate him to keep it up.”

“Motivate?” Flint tilted his head in though. “Sooo we offer him some money?” Flint questioned. “For every A he gets he gets some more pokedollars?”

I shook my head. “I’ll need to think on it some more but I want the point of the study to be that he should want to keep doing it. We want him to fall in love with the process of learning.” I scratched my head. “I can’t think of anything beyond keeping him involved with the aides that are working in the reserve, which he’s already doing. Trivia night about pokemon? Or something to make learning fun…”

“He’ll do his journey still right?” as Flint said this, he fidgeted.

“Yeeeeeees,” I said, stressing the word.

I toyed with the idea of mentioning how much of our culture, and lifestyle revolved around building up expectations for the Journey.

It wasn’t something everyone got to experience but it was seen as the norm by and large. I would prefer to create a situation where my younger siblings weren’t pressured into something, but even just creating a neutral or supportive environment wouldn’t matter.

The eyes of the world would track them. I knew for a fact that the schools built their curriculum around people going on Journeys with gap years and further study only being available to people after a year break. How to encourage my siblings to make either choice remained on my mind, as we made our way outside.

“Zuuuuubat!” screeched my green Zubat as she fluttered towards me. It circled me a few times before landing on my shoulder.

The high-pitched greeting caused Gible to whine and rub his eyes.

“Giiiib!” he said.

Zubat waggled her ears happily and I chuckled. “Sorry Zubat, not everyone is as good on a nocturnal routine as you are.” I rubbed her head. “We’ll have to work on that as there are some matches that will happen earlier and later in the day so we’re going to have to get you properly synced.” I chuckled to myself. “Not that it will be an issue with the pokeball rest feature,” I said.

In my past life, entire routines had to be made up around athletes and their circadian rhythm for when they travelled. With pokemon it wasn’t as much of an issue with them being stored in a semi-lucid state that was restful for them unless they were injured in some manner such as being poisoned or burned, or worse...

I walked through the slowly rousing pokemon of the reserve, which meant I mostly stepped around any boulders that were partly submerged.

Geodude when startled would and could lash out with a mean punch or two.

I waved at the trainers who were working at getting the food bins and trays loaded up. The noise itself was doing more to make the pokemon wake up than any actual sunlight.

Most of the pokemon knew to ignore the sounds of meals being prepared, it was the younger, newer captures that woke up and badgered the trainers to give them a morsel of food.

“Brock, I wanted to talk to you some more about what we discussed last night,” Flint said suddenly.

I blinked, glancing at him to see he looked unusually serious. “The Megastones?” I said.

Flint nodded. “I know they’re going to be important, so I thought I needed to but… well I’m not exactly sure where to start with them. I think I got too excited with you asking something of me… I jumped before I properly considered everything.”

I gave Flint a proper look over and noticed that he looked tired. Had he stayed up last night to try and… What? Review his notes about the locations that he’d been through?

There wouldn’t be a lot of geological landmarks for this sort of thing but there would surely have to be some sort of markers.

“Oh, you looked into Megastones that much?” I said.

Flint nodded. “Brock, I don’t think I know enough about Megastones to work out how they form in nature.”

I hummed. “Well… I have a theory,” I said, as I looked towards the west where the Silver Mountain ranges were. “Mega stones aren’t actually natural, or they are but it’s due to exposure of certain energy.”

“Energy?” said Flint, as he rubbed his chin causing a scratching noise to come out with how coarse his stubble was. I eyed it. It was rather impressive how he could not shave for a day and almost had such growth. It wasn’t a five o’clock shadow for Flint so much as it was a three o’clock shadow.

“What sort of Energy?” he asked, breaking me from my study of his forming beard.

I hummed and considered how to broach this topic with him. I turned my gaze back towards the Silver Range mountains and my mind drifted to a frantic rush down a mountainside followed by a fight. Fire and pride on display with how it had fought us, trying to sweep us away with grand displays of power.

I licked my lips. “What makes a pokemon Legendary?” I said, diverting the question.

Flint frowned for a moment at the seeming non sequitur before hissing in surprise. “You think Legendaries have something to do with Mega stones?” he said, taking what I was saying and making the logical leap.

I huffed. “Yes, but just so I know you’re on the same page as me, humour me as I talk through my thought process,” I said.

“Alright, Legendaries… I can’t say that I’ve ever witnessed one and for that I am thankful.” He joined me in staring towards the mountains. “But when you came back before your match with Will so tired, I remembered that I had heard of people fighting near, or rather trying to survive when they were about.”

Flint sighed. “I never had the misfortune of being in such a situation during the War.”

“What about… Lola?” I said, feeling my lips twitch down with mentioning her.

“No, thankfully. Brock, you mother—” I held up a hand and he coughed. “—Lola,” he said, adjusting his word choice. “She was strong, but she also had an instinct to her that so many trainers lack these days. With what happened she never had… well she could easily go from talking with someone to putting them down if the situation called for it. It made her useful in certain missions.”

Flint continued to stare out at the mountains. “She told me some of what she did but… but it had a toll on her.”

I observed Flint for a moment, wondering how much he had endured, and by that metric how much had she endured.

Then I shook my head. A story like that didn’t give them excuses to abandon their family like they had.

Family should have been first, but Lola had run off.

I relaxed the tension in my hands and unclenched my jaw as I often found myself doing when I discussed her. She always seemed to conjure anger in me.

If she was anything like the Lola that had appeared in the cartoons I was going to have to keep her away from the kids or do something. She didn’t get to just waltz in after abandoning us. What sort of message would that teach my brothers or sisters?

I eyed Flint. “Are you… feeling better these days? You’re not thinking of running off again are you?”

“What? No! No! This is where I’m meant to be! I realise that Brock!!” Flint said quickly. “I’m sorry that I left, I’m… I’m doing better, I think. I’m not looking for Lola at all, but hopefully, she’ll come back.

I bit back my response of ‘I hope not’. Instead, I just shook my head. “So, you have a bit of hearsay about Legendary pokemon then? Do you understand that Legendary pokemon are simply born stronger? Yes?”

Flint nodded and shot me a sardonic look. “Sure, if you think they are born like others.

“I think there is a reason for that,” I said, ignoring his comment. I knew for a fact that there was a young Lugia around… somewhere.

Flint blinked and glanced at me. “A reason for their strength?”

“They are conceptually attached to something. An Element, such as the three legendary birds, ice, fire, electric type legendaries that all share flying type,” I said, waving my hand about as if I was lecturing. “During my Journey, I was able to travel to three regions, the second region is not well thought of, with the Orange and Sevii islands being considered quite weak. But! There are still several very strong trainers and much to be learnt from going there!”

I raised a finger. “One of those things was located on an island called Shamouti, there they revered the Legendary pokemon that control a natural balance of weather.”

I shook my finger back and forth. “Or rather they each balance the other out and they do somewhat do that I suppose. During my trip there I learnt about a festival that they have which selects a local trainer of appropriate age to travel to other nearby islands to collect glass orbs that represent the Legendaries that are said to inhabit those islands.”

During our stay, Sabrina was chosen to be the ‘chosen one’ for the festival. We travelled to each shrine and collected the orbs along with performing the dances and made the offerings. And during all of that, Sabrina was scared, or sometimes quiet in a way that hadn’t been normal for her.

She could sense that each island did in fact house the pokemon in question but that none of the pokemon were currently there. Merely their residual energy was there. It left an imprint making each small island more prone to certain weather conditions.”

I waggled another finger. “Shamouti, however, being located right in the middle of the three islands, had near-perfect weather all year long.”

“Just the residual energy spooked Sabrina?” asked Flint with a frown.

I nodded. “The Shamouti trio of Legendary birds are thought to be mature for their species. When they are witnessed flying about, they are known to cause large weather shifts,” I said.

I rolled the idea of mentioning the fourth Legendary in the region that made Shamouti even more special but decided it wasn’t important.

“Did you know on the scale of legendary pokemon, the Legendary birds aren’t considered that strong?” I said, getting to the main point.

“Eh?” said Flint, “Where did you hear that?”

I snorted. “It’s rather obvious if you think about it. What concepts would be stronger than weather? Concepts of time, space, and creation,” I said, referencing the creation myth that people used for the pokeverse of Palkia, Dialga, and Arceus.

“There are others as well that are stronger. I’ve had to do a lot of digging in history for other pokemon that meet the requirements of being legendary, but I also looked into tectonic plate movements in the past.” I grimaced and Flint laughed.

“Ha! Yeah geology can be a nightmare when you start looking into continental plate movements! Groudon can be quiet for centuries or millennia, or active in short bursts like during the war!”

Flint wiped a tear out of his eye, “Ah I forgot about how enjoyable it can be for a young geologist to discover Groudon’s footprint on the plates and how that makes things so much harder and so much more interesting at the same time.”

“Oh, this is well known?” I asked sheepishly. I’d thought I had uncovered something myself. Learning it was well known was a bit humbling.

Flint merely started laughing harder. “To those that are serious about it!” he said, chuckling. “There’s a reason using Groudon’s name can be a curse or a praise in geology circles!” he continued with a smile. Unauthorized use: this story is on Amazon without permission from the author. Report any sightings.

“Huh,” I said, interested in this odd factoid. “Have any of them ever looked into energy-specific alterations that legendary pokemon create in their local areas or even regions?” I asked.

Flint began rubbing his chin. “I… can’t say I’ve heard of that field of study before. I would say there’s going to be a lot more interest in geology though. What with Mega Stones becoming a thing.”

I nodded along in agreement. “Yeah, it will be. It’s going to be big until something else can be found to even the playing field.”

“What?” said Flint.

I coughed. “I didn’t say anything,” I said.

I made a mental note to look into my notes regarding Z-moves once again, perhaps they’d be viable with how skilled I’d become with rock and dark typed energy once again. They still required a rock of some form though didn’t they? What else did that leave? Gigantamax?

Hadn’t there been that giant Tentacruel at Porta Vista that Forrest encountered… Hmmmm, worth pursuing.

“So… what should I be looking into? Areas with Legendary pokemon?” Flint said worriedly.

I considered that for half a moment before shaking my head. “No, I think it is a very specific pokemon that caused this. The Legendary trio of birds and dogs aren’t enough. It had to have been another Legendary, although potentially poking around old nesting grounds or haunts might not be a bad idea,” I said thoughtfully.

“I think you’re being a bit too flippant about approaching a space once owned by a Legendary pokemon,” said Flint.

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s also true,” I said, but my mind was turning to an issue that I’d been ignoring as I didn’t know how to approach it, or where to go.


He’d gone to the Tree of… No wait, that was different. That was the Lucario story that featured Mew, not Mewtwo.

Mewtwo, after breaking ways with Giovanni, returned to New Island.

Somewhere that I had no idea about. I’d looked for it for years and it didn’t appear on any maps, and I had access to some of the best maps around being a Gym Leader.

But it had gone somewhere after the new island incident as well. Somewhere… a mountain perhaps? Why did I think Rota? Was it because of Mew?

“Brock?” said Flint, causing me to blink and shake it off.

“Hmm? Sorry, I got lost in my thoughts for a bit there,” I said.

“You haven’t done that in a while,” he said with a fond smile.

I snorted. “I’ve been too busy to stop and think for a while now,” I said, before stopping as I realised just how true that statement was. “Huh,” I said, as it sank in. I had been chasing my tail for a bit hadn’t I?

I shook my head and typed out a quick message for myself, to later review what I remembered about Mewtwo. If I wanted to talk about powerful pokemon, he was a prime candidate, especially as one of the only pokemon capable of mega-evolving.

On stats alone, he was one of the strongest with his mega evolution carrying him even further.

“It might still be worth looking over the site of our battle with Moltres,” I said. “We shouldn’t dismiss it, Alakazam and two Tyranitar were present along with a few other pokemon. Who knows?” I said, with a shrug.

Flint nodded slowly, lost in thought himself now.

An unbidden thought occurred to me about something Flint had said earlier. “What do geologists think of Heatran?” I asked.

Flint gave me a blank look. “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of that pokemon before?” he said.

I nodded. “Hmmm, it’s another pokemon thought to be involved with volcanoes which would have some say in geological phenomena, no?”

Flint hummed. “Volcanoes you say? It might be worth looking into Cinnabar then,” Flint said.

I crossed my arms in thought. “That might be risky. While Blaine is not openly in control of it, I wouldn’t put it past him to put out traps in certain areas that he’d have interest in such as the volcano.” I tapped my foot against the ground. “That’s still a good idea.”

Flint rubbed his chin nodding along. “You might want to look into purchasing certain sites that we can identify as having high chances of mega stone formation,” Flint said.

“Yeah that’s true, I’ll have to look into it, I might need to get some other people involved if it’s to be about buying more than a few plots of land though.” Sabrina would also be interested, I had no doubt, I should be able to get the Guardians involved too.

Part of me didn’t want to close it off, however. I chewed my lips in thought for a moment. The best person to allow the proliferation of Mega stones was a man who had proven he could give up power.

I shot Samuel Oak a message about my thoughts and quickly received a reply email. I got a few lines into it when Samuel called.

“Brock! You are entirely correct that Mega stones would be a perfect field of study! I shall reach out to some of my compatriots and see if anyone wishes to look into this! As for investing? I’d love to! I’ll have my accountant talk with you about the details! I think we need to study what megastones we have at the moment however, and try to create something that can detect the inherent energies! I shall acquire some from Steven Stone and see what I can do but please send me any more thoughts you have!” the man said frantically.

I coughed. “For that matter would you like to meet the head geologist of the team we’ll need to form?” I said.

Flint waved. “Hello Professor!” said Flint.

“Excellent! Your know-how will be vital! Get my contact details from Brock and we’ll talk more!” Samuel wiggled happily and I chuckled as he signed off.

Flint rubbed his chin. “Well, I wasn’t expecting to have a job offer when I woke up yesterday.”

I shot him a look, understanding the implied meaning that he hadn’t slept at all last night.

“Well you’ll be able to do day trips to Mt Moon, Mt Silver, and Viridian forest to start with. Any longer trips—”

“I’ll have to take with the kids,” Flint said grimly.

I coughed. “Not as such. You don’t need to be in the field as much if you're the lead Geologist.” I raised up my Xtransciever. “You can get away with a lot more these days, even working from home. Just have someone video the digs and have another on-site you trust, while you stay back and manage things. They could be day trips as well, most people can get around pretty easily with Teleport Pokemon being more prolific.”

Flint blinked and looked down at his wrist. “You’re not wrong. Huh. I hadn’t even considered that, but it would work!” he said. “Shame I won’t get to go digging all the time.”

I chuckled and shook my head. Flint yawned “Oh, I think I better go back and prepare everyone’s food before school, then I’ll catch a nap.”

“You do that. When you wake up I have some local mad scientists that you can talk to who I fund. No reason we can’t combine this project to also look into fossils,” I said.

Knowing Crowley he’d be getting bored with tinkering soon. A new project or the chance to look into other fields might just spark something with him.

He’d also have a good idea of historical geological shifts thanks to his studies into fossil pokemon so he’d be a great addition for my mega stone group. “Grandpa Canyon,” I said, to myself.

“Hmmmm?” Flint said, shooting me a look as yawned again. “What’s that?”

“It’s another point of interest that I really should have investigated before now. It’s where I got Don, Shin, and the other ancient pokemon. I need to look into it and see if there’s anything else hiding there.”

“We could go together,” said Flint quickly.

I blinked and stared at him.

He blinked back, apparently surprised that he’d even said it.

I repressed the urge to reject him out of hand before considering it. I would be spelunking into a cave, and while that wouldn’t be too much of an issue for me, having someone that knew what to look for would definitely help.

“... yeah, that’s actually a good idea.” I considered my calendar. “How about next weekend after my thing with A.J. and Greta is done.”

“That’d be… good, I’d like that,” he said, with a huge smile creeping onto his face.

“Stop that,” I said, slightly creeped out that such a small thing could make him that happy. He just smiled more and clapped me on the shoulder. I huffed at his back.

I fired off a message to Lawrence, my lawyer, as Flint headed back home. Lawrence, Alexa and Georgina would be best to look into the formation of a company that would handle this.

I sketched out my thoughts on getting investors but also linked certain people he should include, such as Sabrina and Oak. I also highlighted places of interest that I would like to own with the new company such as Cinnabar, Blastoise island, Grandpa Canyon, Mt Moon, Viridian Forest and the Cerulean Cave.

I smirked as I sent off the message. Oh yeah, it was all coming together now.

Lawrence called me back mid-work out with my pokemon. “Brock, this is crazy!”

“Hi to you as well Lawrence,” I said, as I pulled Terra away from smacking Gible for biting her. “Hang on a second Lawrence!” I said, as I put Gible in time out.

“No stealing food from Terra, she wanted to share, not have you gobble it all down,” I said.

Gible looked to the side and made a small whimpering noise. “If you’re that hungry we can set up more snack times for you, you’re growing after all,” I said. This had him perking up and quickly apologising to Terra who went back to smiling.

I huffed and raised the Xtransicer up to find that Lawrence hadn’t listened to me and was mid-rant. “—I mean the idea on paper is solid and yes you’ve got some big names but you realise this will put you in direct competition with Devon Corp right?”

“Hmmmm, I hadn’t considered that,” I said, cutting him off. “It’s still worth doing though. I don’t think it’s a good idea to let Devon Corp have a monopoly on Mega stones.”

“I… Well you’re not wrong, I think we should be able to get the Indigo League involved as well. As I doubt they’re happy with Steven stealing a march on them. I think we can get more with government backing.”

“Hmmmm,” I said, voicing a sound of discontent.

“Brock, the government will be sticking their noses into this. They can’t afford to ignore it. Let’s be the one approaching them with our terms and get things rolling, if they want to roll things back afterwards it will cost them,” said Lawrence.

“Alright, I’ll trust you on this,” I said, and hung up. Huh, competing with a corporation? Not how I thought things would develop, but if anything they needed competition.

Was there a way to… I shook my head, and ideas of doing market research were pushed to the side. I didn’t need to add more work to my plate, I needed less! I needed a manager, like I had with Jennifer! That was working out great!

With my discussion with Flint over I returned to find Gible and Terra chasing after Yolanda who’d just run by doing an agility drill with Spot.

Gible and Terra started to run towards her, only for Terra to cry out in surprise and drag Gible to the side causing me to register a rumbling that wasn’t as normal around the reserve.

Following with thundering steps, came both Bertha and Titan. Making it look less of an agility exercise, and more like a game of which giant could make Yolanda lose her footing while staying barely ahead.

“Gib!” cried Gible as he caught sight of me. He pointed at Yolanda and then himself.

“You want me to run as well?” I said to the little pokemon. He nodded his whole body excitedly, his tail wiggling with him. I snatched him up like a ball, tucking him under one hand before I took off running. I shot across Yolanda’s path and smirked.

Bertha caught sight of Gible in my hands and broke off chasing Yolanda in favour of attempting to get to pet the newest baby pokemon. I threw myself into a sprint, knowing this would be a hard workout.

Bertha broke into a proper sprint causing the earth to rumble and shake underfoot.

The run became a lot harder when Zubat caught sight of me and flapped her way into my face. “Zuuuuuu!” she cried, as she blinded me.

“I like the hug but now is not the time!” I said frantically, tearing her off my face and stashing her in one of my vest pockets. When the ache started to build up I knew I needed to shift my goal. I wasn’t going to outrun Bertha, she had endurance for days.

She was also cheating by using Pokemon moves like Rock Polish to catch up.

I turned sharply and ran through a cluster of boulders only for her to bulldoze straight through them. “Rhyperior!” she called, as she smashed them.

Gible turned himself in my grip and laughed at the sight of Bertha closing in.

I pushed hard, drawing on my rock energy to propel me harder and turn my run into bounding leaps.

“Ty!” called Titan. I shot him a grin, noting that he’d anticipated my dilemma and was standing next to the pond where Tirtouga, Corsola and Lileep liked to hang out. I tossed Gible to him, the tiny land shark soared through the air only to catch sight of the pond he was sailing over.

“Giiiii!” he shrieked in protest only for Titan to trudge into the water and snatch him before he could even hit the edge.

I clicked my tongue. He’d have made it. I quickly tossed Zubat into the air for her own safety before jumping as far as I could into the water.

It was an impressive leap but as soon as I hit the water I was pumping and kicking my arms and legs to get further away from the splash zone.

Bertha didn’t bother to jump. She hit the water and caused a wave thanks to her momentum. I was carried out of the water to wash ashore on the other side next to Titan who was holding Gible up over his head so the little pokemon wouldn’t get wet.

“Bluh!” I said, staggering to my feet.

A moment later Bertha breached the water where she’d entered with a great head toss like she was the model for some cheap hair commercial.

She was filthy with mud and had a giant grin on her face. Zubat fluttered around her inspecting the dripping mud before retreating quickly to me. She landed on my shoulder and nuzzled into me. I glanced to the side and found a particularly unimpressed Corsola glaring at me. It sprayed me with water in annoyance, earning a sigh at how this had turned out.

“So? Who’s up for some training?” I asked once I’d been rinsed off

“Tirt?” said a voice to my side as Tirtouga, having been washed ashore with me, raised his flipper.

I grinned. Yeah, a morning session of focusing on my new pokemon would work for me.

“Alright! Elite team! You’re on break! Gible, Cranidos, Zubat, Teddiursa, Anorith, Corsola and Tirtouga! You’re with me!” I said, causing the pokemon that had been lingering to break off. The pokemon I called out all perked up and approached looking very interested.

“Let’s run some tackle drills and we’ll build from there! Tirtouga! Time to start bringing you out for some low-level Gym Matches I think! Cranidos, Anorith! Same to both of you!”

Anorith waggled her tiny feet while Cranidos stomped his little feet with glee. Teddiursa looked a bit sad but I tapped him on the head. “Hey, no problems little guy, you, Corsola and Zubat can fight with the trainers and the local battle club. We’ll make some time for it.”

That had him perking up and growling fiercely.

I set to training the group and when I was done the young pokemon were laid out flat. Gible had been the first to collapse, his energy causing him to overcommit when he Tackled. At first glance Tackle wasn’t worth much, but it was a foundational move that was good to have experience with and it also helped young pokemon develop body awareness.

Knowing how to roll with a hit, or along the ground or dig in was important after all, just as it was important to hand a hard part against a potential soft part if you could.

Gible lay to the side panting, his tongue darting up to his teeth quickly but not crossing the divide. That had to be a specific development in their physiology to stop them from biting their own tongues.

I knelt down and handed Gible a chilled water, “Here drink this,” I said, offering him the bottle.

He guzzled it down and I chuckled as I sat him upright. “Now, watch how Teddiursa jumps in clean short bounds. If he needs to correct he has the chance to instead of being smacked out of the air,” I said, using Teddiursa as the example for others to follow. This caused Teddiursa to puff up with pride.

Gible merely grunted. Then he perked up as he looked at me and pointed at his open maw, asking for food. I rolled my eyes and pulled out some pokechow from my pouch. The training load was a bit much for a young pokemon like him but with good nutrition, he should come up stronger.

I was proven correct when he tried to copy Teddursa’s more controlled hops when he tackled the training dummy I’d set up.

If the dummy just happened to look like a Jynx that was a coincidence.

“Nice adjustments! That was a solid hit!!” I said, making sure to give him a few carefully worded compliments.

As a dragon type, I needed to monitor his pride and make sure I didn’t build him up too much by lavishing him with praise. That would just make him harder to deal with.

I didn’t state he was strong, but instead complemented traits like how he kept getting up, or how he performed a certain move. I then made sure to give an equal amount of praise to all the other pokemon.

Cranidos didn’t appear to care for it at first glance but I noted he headbutted a few rocks harder after each compliment. The others were much more honest while Zubat happily zipped into me each time I fed her a compliment.

When I was done I headed home for a quick, if late breakfast. As I ate Gible settled into a small cubby that reminded me of a puppy basket from my past life. He did a little circle before collapsing onto his back, teeth facing up as he fell asleep.

Zubat collapsed on my shoulder, spent from this morning’s training. As I munched my way through my cereal, I kept an ear on the news playing out on my Xtransciever’s radio.

“This weekend will bring up the inaugural Pewter City contest! The theme is tough so bring your best pokemon, make them gruff, make them growl, and make them stand out to win!”

I grinned, pleased at the ad, it would be sure to bring in a lot of people for something a little different.

“— the Kingdom of Rota has been experiencing greater swarms of pokemon with Elder Maven Spenser reporting that this was the second time in his life he’d experienced such an event!”

I hummed. The future Frontier Brain had experienced this before eh? He must know something then.

“In other news swarms of deep ocean Pokemon have also been experienced around the Orange islands and Cinnabar! Travellers of the southern islands are advised to watch out for Gyarados and Sharpedo!”

I considered how they had a person who sounded like they were reading a weather report rather than a deadly swarm of pokemon. Swarms were just that common of an occurrence.

When I was done I made my way into the Gym to see what it had become with the contest preparation.

I entered to find it transformed.

Instead of being a battlefield, the central stage had been raised up with set markings laid out for where performances and contest duels would take place.

A dais stood to the side with a long table where three very prominent chairs sat for the judges.

“Oh Brock! Come to see how things are looking?” called Monique, as she entered with a team of people.

“Yeah, I had the time with today being another off day for me. I have to say it’s looking incredible!” I said.

Monique and the others had outdone themselves with making the place look tough while having an air of class. Nothing looked roughed up like I’d been expecting. Instead hard granite stone had been cut into harsh lines that mirrored the stones that gave new trainers tips along with biographies of local people of significance.

I rather liked it.

“Well, I only had to add to what you already had in place to be honest. Oh, and congratulations on your victory!” said Monique.

I grinned. “Thanks, it’s my first tournament win so it still feels pretty surreal. It’s damn nice having a trophy to help though!” I said with a laugh.

Monique nodded and led me around my own gym, showing how it had been altered slightly to accommodate for a contest rather than multiple Gym battles, before she gave me the order for how things would run over the next two days.

“We’re anticipating a large turnout!” said Monique happily. “Soledad is going to have her work cut out for her!”

“She’s competing?” I asked. Monique nodded and I hummed. “Well, I’ll be looking forward to that. It’s still you, me, and Nurse Joy acting as judges?” When I got another nod I thought about the other time I’d asked for. “What about the fairgrounds outside? Those are all set up?”

“Yes! I have to admit I thought the addition was a bit… well childish but it allows more people to interact with the contest. The big screen being put up is another good idea.” Monique twitched back and forth. “Oh, I think this is going to be great for Pewter and for the Contest scene as a whole Brock!”

I could only agree, it was ambitious with everything I’d been through but now, on the eve of the contest I could tell it was going to be good.

Monique coughed delicately. “What are you wearing tomorrow and are you going with that haircut?” she said, falling back into her role as a fashionista.

I grinned. “Oh don’t worry, I have an outfit, and my hair is going to be fine, trust me.”

Once again I found myself nodding my head.

Oh yeah, it was all coming together.