Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > Birds6 Reviews
Learning life's little lessons is hard. Especially if you are on the top. But the most inconsequential things can bring you down. A regional champion takes on Violet City's Falkner and gets taught ...
You never realize how much they are around until you start looking for them. Out of all the types of pokemon there are only three that are really common. Bugs, grass and birds. You can see them practically anywhere, while the more animalistic types of pokemon you have to actively hunt for.
I am right now watching a spearow sleeping on one of those squat spruce trees that surround Sprout Tower. A pigeotto swoops low overhead, most likely heading to the near by lake, and the goldeen there. Further into the forest that surrounds Violet City, I can hear raucous cawing, as murkrow and spearow fight for scavenging rights.
It's funny what you notice when you start to think about things. Like that thing about the birds. I had been thinking about my most recent gym battle, and then I got onto noticing how many birds surrounded me day to day, and I never paid them much attention. The mind plays tricks on you.
I try to get my mind back on the task at hand, thinking up a strategy to beat the Violet City Gym leader. I'm not arrogant. I'm not a trainer just riding for a fall because my head is too swelled. But that was the first time that I've ever lost a gym battle.
I'm from Kanto, originally. When I was ten I went to Pallet like most other starting trainers, and got myself a charmander. I chose it because charmander have so many disadvantages against the Kantoan gyms. I was the only girl to get a pokemon that year, and I wanted to Prove myself. If there was a path to be chosen that was hard and arduous I took it.
I got to be fairly good. I beat all the gyms in one shot, even Saffron's gym, although I nearly died from fear alone, in there. I became a trainer only a year after Sabrina became sane, and Saffron was still very beat up, the Sliph Co. Building was the only one all in one piece.
The gym itself was hideous. The designer of the gym had meant for it to be imposing, I guess. I remember how the iron doors had been twisted and bent, so that they were permanently open, displaying a great maw of darkness ready to swallow you. The gym was pitch black, and because of the millions of psychic energies which had been used here there were whispers of thought just on the edge of hearing. Most of them were not pretty or nice thoughts. Some of them were screams.
I managed to get out alive, though, with a marsh badge, and my butterfree not too badly damaged. That was the only gym where I didn't have at least one pokemon in my party who was weak against the gym leader's type.
I'm not arrogant, but I do like to show off. Even as a beginning trainer I used pokemon who had disadvantages to beat those who thought themselves so high and mighty. I like proving to everyone that it doesn't matter what type you use; it's the strategy you employ.
I beat Brock with a male nidoran and my charmander (I didn't even have to use my pidgey). Misty took on my diglett and charmeleon (my oddish stayed in its pokeball during the entire battle). Lt. Surge, (personally he's my favorite gym leader, you have to give a guy like him credit not to be afraid to use something like a raichu, possibly the silliest looking electric pokemon, although it can pack a major punch) had to deal with my poliwag and my oddish. Poliwhirl steamrollered Erika, although I'm not too surprised, I think that she takes it easy on female trainers. Koga actually beat my tangela, but my then newly caught scyther made him pay. Sabrina was my first one on one battle, but butterfree managed to knock out her freaky kadabra. I don't like psychics very much. It always creeps me the way they just attack without verbal instructions from their trainers. Blaine went down to my gloom and charizard. Getting the Earth badge was the hardest part, mainly because the gym leader was never in, but one day a representative opened the gym, and the battle came down to nidoking versus nidoking, mine winning.
After that it was a straight shot to the Indigo Plateau. I managed to place high in the tournament, fourth place, and I did manage to beat the Elite Four of that year, but it was really close, I only won because I had revived my level 10 dratini (an accident, I had mixed up its pokeball with charizard's. It was so embarrassing, but I wasn't allowed to change them once I realized it during my battle with Lorei) just before Lance's last dragonite used outrage to finish Poliwrath. The dragonite was confused, and Ploiwrath had already really badly damaged him with ice punch. So he knocked himself out before it could attack my little dragon. I've nicknamed my dratini Lucky because of that moment.
After the Elite Four of Kanto I went to Johto. It's much more old-fashioned than I had expected. In Kanto the only thing we have to rival Sprout Tower is Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town. People are speaking of demolishing it, too. They say it attracts too many ghost pokemon, and that we should just cremate our pokemon when they die.
I don't know. I think that I can appreciate the age and majesty of the Johtoan ruins. There is nothing more beautiful than the Whirl Islands. Those collections of rock have an - aura, I guess, of greatness about them. They are the perfect example of what Johto has to offer. Old, really, really old rocks that are really just blobby shapes of igneous, yet, they aren't ugly. They seem to say: "We remember when the earth was young, and we have seen history made, and we will see history long after you are gone."
They are right in the middle of the shipping lanes from Olivine to Cianwood. In Kanto we would have found a way to remove them. But the Johtoans respect those blasted rocks, scarred from the Legendary Wars. They certainly like to hang onto things here.
Yet, they're modern here, too. They got a radio tower before we even thought of it, and Team Rocket (not an example of something good, but definitely an example of something into the cutting edge, figuratively, and not so figuratively) is even more firmly entrenched here. I think that the difference is that Johtoans plant their feet firmly on the ground before they dream castles in the sky. They know and revere where they come from. In Kanto, we take the simple things for granted, like birds.
The sun is washing the sky a rich gold. It's going to be a fantastic sunset. The grass is ruffled by the swift breeze, and I shift my attention from Sprout Tower, the symbol of the old and wise, to the actual city to the south. One building is taller than all the others. It's flat topped, and has nothing more on that top than white lines painted on the asphalt of the roof. Those white lines designate the arena for a pokemon battle.
I was up there this morning. It was three on three. I was not worried, I had gone through all of the other major Johto gym leaders, and Falkner was not considered tough in comparison to, say, Clair.
I had gone through Johto backward to how most Kantoans choose to. Many people want to work on building their team, getting it ready to take on gym leaders like Price and Clair, getting used to the Jotoan style of battling. I had been confident, flushed from recent victory over Clair's cousin.
Poliwrath took everything but her kingdra down with his ice beam. Three dragonairs in a row had been a bit much for him. I let out charizard. I gambled on a bite, fly, and body slam combo. Flinching is a big help. Charizard was only hit by one surf attack. Kingdras' weakness lies in their poor HP. If you manage to get several good hits in they are down and out.
Price was just as easy. Why do ice types forget that solarbeam comes from the sun, which melts ice? Vileplume really shook everyone in there.
Jasmine was a little harder. Her defensive techniques got to me, I admit. I like hot battles where you have to think fast, and Jasmine sets up her battles carefully, going at her own pace, which she can afford with steel pokemon like hers. That was where scyther evolved into scizor. My red ninja had both the speed I liked, and the defense that Jasmine used so effectively.
Chuck was - a fighting type gym leader. You can't really say much about them. I sent out Lucky, who he laughed at, and then he sent out Poliwrath. Poliwhrath have two big weaknesses, they aren't fast, and they have a pretty bad special defense. I love flinching. I just love it. Lucky was also holding a King's Rock, which really helps. I just twistered that poliwrath to death. Lucky evolved because of that arrogant poliwrath.
Morty's gym was creepy, but bearable. He has not got a thing on Sabrina. Say what you like about psychic types, and I can say plenty, but even though they are weak against ghost types, that kadabra gave me a bigger run for my money than the gengar could have if Morty had a million full restores.
The other two, Whitney and Bugsy, were alright. They were both kids really. I know I'm saying that from my wise old age of thirteen (nearly fourteen) years, and that Whitney really is a year older than I am, but there's a mental level to battling that Whitney did not have, and Bugsy was too busy making notes about my Scizor to really use.
So, I came to Violet City. I remember walking down the street to the pokemon center. It wasn't much of a city. I had been to Goldenrod, the hub of Johtoan activity, Olivine and its great harbor, Saffron in its ruined splendor. Violet City was - too quiet.
It was Saturday morning. In Cerulean, my hometown, people would be running around to shops by ten in the morning, getting brunch, taking their children shopping, or just trying to meet their friends, and get out of the house for a bit. Here, no one was doing that. A few early risers were dusting their porch steps, and that was it. They were very polite to me when I walked past. Again, at home most trainers were either greeted by cat calls or ignored.
Violet City is fair sized, but it has more to do with the area that it takes up, rather than population. It sprawls on the edge of a pine forest and the foot of the Blackthorn Mountain range. It's like one of those people at a movie theater who bring all their stuff in, and manage to take up half of the seats on either side of them, even though they aren't that big.
But there's also a sense of containment here. The little neighborhoods and boroughs don't go into the pine forest. Sprout Tower is the closest they get to the woods, and even then they are very careful not to cut down a tree without planting another one. I know this because I took the tour after my defeat at the gym.
Anyway, I had strolled up to the pokemon center, writing off Violet City as a pretty backwater, but nothing really special to recommend it, besides Sprout Tower. After going in there I expected to see, maybe, two other trainers, at least. Some people who I could talk to about Falkner. What types of battles did he prefer? What was his preferred technique? You know, stuff like that. Instead there was no one in there! Not even a nurse for my pokemon.
I shrugged, and walked over to the PC. You can get a quick heal by transferring pokemon, and I happened to be carrying several that I didn't want to face Falkner with, since it would be too easy. However, the PC was out of order.
I might have cursed, and kicked that blasted machine. It's a distinct possibility. But I like to maintain a calm and even temper at the best of times, no matter what Violet's chansey might say.
She came from the back of the pokemon center, and after - well, not exactly restraining me she showed me a note which said that I could use the PC in the back, and that the nurse was out trying to get a repairman for the regular PC. If I had any pokemon who needed to be healed I could leave them in chansey's capable hands (paws, flippers?). Thank me for being patient, and sorry for the inconvenience.
I gave the chansey my electabuzz, and dewgong to heal. I wasn't going to be using them for a while, so I decided that it would be nice for them to have a check up before I left them at Professor Oak's.
I walked with all the dignity that I could muster to the back of the pokemon center. You need to be able to keep your temper at all times, and I wasn't doing a very good job so far. I wanted to stay calm and collected for the battle ahead.
At the PC I started making the all important decisions. Most gym leaders like three on three battles. Six on six is strictly for the elites, five on five is too close to six on six, and four on four is too easy to tie. Only those gym leaders certain of victory ever go for one on one, and two on two is just too short. So, it usually ends up being three on three.
I chose my three with care. I wanted Lucky to be one of them. Not only does he know thunder wave, and thunder, he's also one of my favorites, and I wanted him to evolve into dragonite. However, I also wanted to choose my trademark kind of battler. I had two choices really, my scizor or my butterfree.
Unfortunately when I called the professor to get my butterfree he told me that he was involved in some very important research and couldn't give me my butterfly pokemon, although I could ask for anything else. So I took my scizor. I wasn't exactly thrilled, since she is part steel, which did give me an advantage, or at least a resistance.
I decided on using my charizard, as well. It was a tough choice. I almost used my newly caught bayleaf, just to make up for the fact that scizor was not exactly weak against any flying types, but then I remembered how cool air battles are. It might not be a huge challenge, but it might as well be as exciting as possible.
I smile to myself, watching the sun set. I was complacent this morning, it astounds me. It was my eighth badge, and all I was thinking about was making it easy on the gym leader. I should have remembered; half the job of being a gym leader is judging what level your opponent is at and testing them at just one level higher. I was well ahead as a trainer. I had seven badges, beaten the Kanto Gyms, earned fifth in the Indigo league, and I had many powerful pokemon. I should have known that the days of cakes and roses were over for me.
From the top of that flat gym I think I can see some birds flying. Is the gym leader letting his precious birds out of their pokeballs for a flight before it is too dark, or are they just wild pokemon that he lets roost there? In Kanto we would never allow wild pokemon to roam around our gyms, but here, who knows?
I remember being absolutely astounded by Bugsy's gym. He just let wild pokemon roam free in his greenhouse so that he could study them. Why should I be surprised if Falkner does the same for bird pokemon?
It had to be about ten in the morning when I left the center, the six pokeballs at my waist, and the chosen three up front. I felt confident, and nodded and smiled at the people I met as I walked up to the gym.
From street level I couldn't tell that the actual gym was on the roof top. I entered the cool building, and felt very confused. The location of the arena, or lack thereof, was at the top of my mind. There were large windows everywhere, and the wooden floor was well scrubbed and bare. It looked like Chuck's dojo with all of the equipment swept away, except for the floor was better cared for than Chuck's. It was still gleaming with either turpentine, or a lacquer of some sort. I felt as if I was intruding on holy ground or something.
"Welcome to the Violet City Gym, are you here to challenge the gym leader?" a sctratchy voice at my elbow inquired.
I had to have jumped about seven feet in the air. I could have sworn that I was alone in that echoing room. Yet, as if stepping onto the wooden boards had summoned him, like a demon from Hell, there was a young man at my shoulder not much older than I was.
I took him in, my heart still beating fast from the scare he'd given me. He looked like the guy who cleaned this place. His clothes were rather old fashioned, and all though it was hard for me to tell, they seemed worn. His eyes seemed dead underneath the untrimmed black bangs. Now, he's the kind of person I would have expected to see in Morty's gym, rather than the fairly attractive and sunny Ecruteak Gym Leader.
"Yeah," I replied, sounding confident and ready, at least to me. I didn't make the mistake of asking where the gym leader was, just in case this was Falkner. I accidentally did that to both Whitney and Brock. I had no wish to look like a fool here.
"Come," he lead me to a side door, and up a stair case.
And then up another stair case.
And then up another stair case.
A third staircase followed, but the door at the top lead onto the roof.
"Here we are," the boy, Falkner, croaked.
He gestured across the flat roof. I could see the box for the challenger at the far end. I swallowed and walked carefully around the roof top to the far end. I wasn't nervous of the battle, but a wind had sprung up, and the gym was swaying. I am not fond of heights, anyway, even without the sway factor. However, I managed to make it to the other side
Nearby was a bookshelf filled with different sets of pokeballs. The dead eyes raked over me, assessing in one glace how skilled I must be. All gym leaders, unless they are single-pokemon-fits-all trainers, like Sabrina, do it, with varying degrees of subtleness. Falkner was about as subtle as drill peck.
He reached over and grabbed three pokeballs, before taking an aggressive stance in the middle of his box. I grinned, scizor's pokeball enlarging in my hands as I gripped it. This is the moment that is worth waiting for.
Professionals, who really love training, savor this moment. You can tell what kind of battler you are up against by how they react to the moment just before the battle. They turn the arena into their own. They shift their weight slightly to get the feel of the ground. Their ball hand tenses and untenses to get the feel of the smooth metal encasing their monsters. There's a smell of anticipation in the air, and they look into their opponents eyes for a moment. That glance is universal to every predator spotting its prey. It says, in words that only battlers can hear: "You're mine."
In a flick of an eyelash that blessed moment was over, and our pokeballs were arcing over the field to open with simultaneous flashes.
My bug type stood proud against an angry looking dodrio. The three heads snapped and hissed as I smiled. Scizor inclined its body in a bow as I called out for agility. Speed is one advantage that dodrio have that I don't want to pit my red ninja against.
"Match her agility and mud slap!" Falkner yelled, his eyes alight with confidence.
I had never met the move mud slap before and was astounded when the shininess of my wonderful scizor was covered by a gloopy mud that came from nowhere. She stopped moving, trying to paw the muck out of her eyes with the clamp-like hands that were not designed for the process.
"Tri-attack, left and center head lead!" the Gym Leader shouted, as I yelled for scizor to take flight, and then use slash, as I gambled on a critical hit to bring down dodrio quickly.
The dodrio braced itself as my girl flew at it, using her agility boosted speed. At the last possible moment it sidestepped, letting scizor plow into the asphalt, and then whipping the three heads around to unleash a barrage of fire, lighting, and ice. The left head, spouting ice beam, encrusted scizor's gossamer wings, and the central head concentrated on melting her thorax.
My eyes widened, I hadn't been expecting this at all. I should have been able to win with ease, and now scizor was already returning to its pokeball. Okay, Falkner obviously thought that play time was over, and that was fine with me. I smiled as I sent out Lucky.
Lucky was magnificent, he glowed with a soft light, and clouds began to fill the sky, reacting to the strength of his natural weather working abilities. The dodrio snapped viciously at him.
"Left head lead, tri-atta-," Falkner began.
"Thunder wave and thunder!" I yelled, I didn't want that icebeam-like attack anywhere near my precious dragonair.
Lucky obeyed me, rearing up as an electrical wave blasted out from his body. Then, drops falling from the sky as the jewel on his head glowed and eerie blue white, a bolt of lighting smote the three headed bird in front of him.
There was a flash of red light as the dodrio was returned, and another flash of white as a murkrow took its place. Falkner's murkrow was as scruffy as its trainer. The feathers were oily and the hooked beak was chipped. It cawed angrily as fat rain drops began to hit it.
"Rain Dance!" I instructed quickly.
Murkrow were very agile, and thunder was not very precise, rain dance would help slow down the bird, and make Lucky's attack faster and more accurate. Soon the roof top was soaked in a downpour, as Lucky really started weather working.
The murkrow was already flying up, seemingly unaffected by the water that should have been absorbed by his feathers and slowed him. I stared in horror at the oily coverings, realizing that the water was really just running off and puddling onto the ground, as Falker coldly yelled: "Icy Wind."
The murkrow flapped its tatty wings and Lucky began to shiver uncontrollably as he and I were hit by a blast of freezing air.
It was my last option. But it was already too late; the rain dance had turned into a hail attack, and combined with the wind it had become a pseudo-blizzard. My dragon was too far gone to even use sunny day. I recalled Lucky, glaring at the tattered bird of ill-fortune, as I chose my next pokemon. Charizard could take out the ratty little bird with no problem.
Charizard appeared with a roar and an almost instant flamethrower. The murkrow managed to score a glancing hit with a faint attack, but he easily crisped. I was feeling angry now. Falkner was supposed to be a pushover and he had already taken out my beloved scizor and dragonair. It wasn't fair!
He, calmly and coldly as ever, recalled the fallen murkrow, and smiled at me chillingly.
"Have you ever been to Hoenn?"
I glared back, "No, just get back to the battle!"
"Once you finish with Johto you should go there. I recommend the Fortree City Gym especially. The gym leader is excellent. She certainly knows the value of flying types. Go, altaria!"
The pokeball that landed on the flat floor opened to reveal a strange pokemon that I had never seen. The blue bird was swathed in clouds and bugled its name with the most musical voice that I had ever heard. However, I was certain that I could crisp it easily, clouds, or no clouds. I knew wasn't Johtoan. I had memorized all of the new and different pokemon to catch here ages ago.
"Flamethrower," I ordered hotly, seeing the battle come back under my control.
I stared as the blue dragon fire blasted to match Charizard's flame thrower. They met in midair, and the explosion knocked both the pokemon and humans back. In my case back meant teetering on the edge of the gym, as Falkner sprang upright and withdrew a pokeball that he must have been carrying in the recesses of his worn clothes.
The next thing I remember was being pushed back onto the roof by a pigeot. Charizard was rising, looking annoyed as I felt. Altaria's cloudy wings were grey with smoke, but other than that she seemed fine.
I looked across the field as Falkner reached for another pokeball, and jumped on the back of the fearow he summoned.
"I think you ought to get on Air Razor," he called. "If that happens again you could actually fall."
"Bite!" I called out to my faithful starter as I took his advice.
The altaria flinched, and I ordered chrizard to fly. Both the pigot and fearow lifted off as well, and suddenly we commanded an aerial view of the battle. Charizard dove to hit the still grounded altaria, as Falkner waited a crucial second.
"Fly!" altaria shot in the air, whirling past charizard in a flash of blue and white.
"Pull out," I instructed, knowing charizard had already started.
Altaria flipped over in midair and slammed into charizard's back, as he skimmed over the asphalt roof. His huge red body crashed into the tarmac, altaria's equally large blue one on top of his, her talons digging into his wing joints. They skidded along the roof, upsetting the shelf with the pokeballs, I winced to see the belly scales of my red dragon tear off. Then they were off the roof, charizard bleeding during his freefall, as altaria extracted herself from his wings, and flew up next to Falkner, crooning happily.
I returned charizard as the pigot began its decent.
"Good battle," Falkner's voice grated on my ears. "You'll owe the gym 500 PD. Challenge me again when you've grown to the same level as your pokemon. Go to the pokemon center. Your charizard could use some help."
I glared up at him, my cheeks burning hotly. When you've grown to the same level as your pokemon. I was a better strategist. I knew it, and I knew he knew it. He had only won because of sheer brute force. He was as bad as Chuck.
The chansey from the center interrupts my reminiscences. She waddles up to the hilltop near Sprout Tower, carrying a tray of pokeballs. It's taken all day for charizard's chest to heal. I accept the pokeballs with thanks.
I had been sitting here in this very spot when I met up with Falkner again. I had just finished the tour of Sprout Tower, and now I was resting on the grassy hill, when he had come up, a hooded spearow in hand. He looked surprised to see me, and I returned the look with one of my own. The hill is separated from Violet city by a large lake. No one would have wanted to swim it under normal circumstances. I had just wanted to be alone, so I could fume over my defeat.
"Hello," I said formally, standing up to bow.
"Hello," he had replied in the same manner, still holding the spearow on a gauntleted wrist in the air as he bowed jerkily.
"I was enjoying the solitude of this place. Violet City is very pretty," I told him.
"Yes. I come here to train," the answer was a pointless civility.
"Oh. Is there good training around here?"
"Not for high level pokemon, but the fringes of the forest keep my weaker birds on their toes."
"Can you suggest any good training spots for me, then?" I asked.
"You don't need a special place to train your ego and temper into smaller proportions," Falkner replied in his rusty voice.
I turned an angry red. "I am not arrogant!"
"Then why did you lose? You underestimated me. You would not have deserved a badge if you had won. You have strong, well trained pokemon, and you are a good strategist, but you don't understand that this isn't a game anymore. Not at your level. I get the beginning trainers, usually. I have to make certain that they know what they're doing, and that they're not going to get themselves eaten by their starters. It's rare I get to face off against someone decent.
"You're supposed to know by now that no matter what you hear, your opponents are not to be toyed with! I use birds. One zap of electricity is all it takes, or a barrage of ice. But I find ways around that. How dare you just swagger in, thinking that because I have pokemon weaker than yours that you are going to win? You're as bad as Chuck!"
It's quite possible that he was right. I'm not arrogant, of course, but I do assume too much. When I face him tomorrow I won't be as stupid. Dewgong would be at a slight disadvantage on that roof top, but electabuzz will be fine, and I have a chance to use marowak, who knows blizzard, and I have a delibird I'd like to try out in a serious battle. After all, birds can surprise you.
Challenge: If you've finished reading this, and you like to write, I here by issue a challenge to write a gym leader fic. It can be about anything you want, as long as it centers around a gym leader (and if you do Misty or Brock it has to be set during the time that they are gym leaders). Sadly, no prize, I just want to see more gym leader fics out there. Thanks for reading this. =^.^= IWCT