Chapter 11: Fallen Champion
Fan fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
When Bianca left the lab in haste, Prof. Juniper summoned me to her office in the other room. I entered and sat on a chair in front of her desk. Vileplume continued to run around outside of the lab.
“So you know who this Prof. Sakura is, kid?” she asked me.
“She’s Kanon Aizawa, a student and former classmate of mine at the University in Saffron. She is one year older than I am, but she was two years behind me in the PhD program.”
“So she’s not a real pokémon professor after all. No wonder I couldn’t find any record of her in any professor publications. I take it you have known her for a while now, am I right?”
I nodded again.
“She was my assistant while I was a junior in the PhD program. She was expelled from the university just a year before I graduated and became a pokémon professor.”
“Why was she expelled?”
“Supposedly she had started working on forbidden experiments at the university. I’m not too certain of what exactly, because she was no longer my assistant at that time.”
“I understand that this device she’s been distributing to strangers comes from Project Sakura, a project that you yourself had worked on when you were at the university. Is that true?”
“Project Sakura was meant to create a device that rewarded pokémon for being loyal to their trainers by making them stronger. Miss Aizawa was my assistant to that project. It failed when our results came back with sluggish pokémon after use without the device. The device became some sort of crutch to them. I can assure you though, the product that Ms. Aizawa is using is not the same product that we made back at the university.”
Professor Juniper sat for a moment in silence while pondering the situation.
“What is your relationship to Ms. Aizawa?” she asked. “What if you’re just covering for her?”
“She seems to have some creepy infatuation with me,” I admitted. “But rest assured, she was only an assistant to me.”
“Well regardless, I was placed in charge of this matter as the regional director in Unova appointed by the Board of Professors. The information you gave me both in this report and what you have told me has been very helpful. However, I highly recommend that you no longer get involved with this case, Prof. Ginkgo. Your personal relationship with our culprit has further complicated matters. Please return to your studies in Celadon City immediately.”
“But Ms. Aizawa is targeting me specifically in this case. Wouldn’t it be smarter to catch her with me as the bait?”
“It is because she is targeting you that I am having you leave this case. I will have someone look after you when you get back to Celadon City.”
“Please trust me on this, Prof. Juniper! No one knows Ms. Aizawa better than I do. At least keep me up to date on what goes on.”
The Unova director sighed.
“You sure are persistent, kid. Guess it can’t be helped.”
Professor Juniper scribbled some notes on some paper on her desk.
“When the boy gets better, take him with you,” she said. “I’ve already concluded that he is a target as well, and I don’t have the resources to keep both of you on surveillance at the same time. Take him to Celadon City, Prof. Ginkgo.”
“And what should I do with him then?” I said.
“What all other professors do with trainers. Be his mentor. You can at least manage that, right?”
I nodded and left the office.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After two years of traveling across the Kanto region, I arrived at the Pokémon League championship. I had finally collected the eight required badges. The Rainbow Badge at Celadon City was, naturally, my last one because Erika is relentless against gym members and boys. Seeing that I identified as both made her much more of a challenge. I lost the first two times against six of her most powerful pokémon; yet another exception she had placed on me when I challenged her. The third time was the charm, thanks to the Parasect I had raised against her grass pokémon.
Most Pokémon League championships were monthly. The championships for Johto and Kanto, however, rotated to every other month because they were both held at Indigo Plateau. The championships were designed so that groups of sixteen challengers were placed in four qualifying rounds, eliminating each other by battling with only three of their pokémon. The winner in each bout would then have a chance to enter the final tournament and eliminate each other in a similar manner but with all six of their pokémon. Depending on the number of remaining qualified trainers, these matches could last from one afternoon to an entire week! Challengers all have to register on time before the event with proof of their eight regional badges, six identified pokémon, and a tournament fee.
“So you finally decided to show up, Shuichi!” shouted Nathan, waving at me.
This would be his first entry into the semiannual championship. I ran up to my friend along with Gloom, who had evolved from my Oddish.
“So, what group are you registered in, Shuichi?” asked Nathan.
“Unfortunately, I missed the registration deadline,” I said. “I won’t be competing in this tournament.”
“Too bad, Shuichi. Oh well, my Hitmonchan and I would’ve beaten you anyway.”
“Yeah, right, Nathan,” said Amy as she approached us. “Shuichi worked very hard to get his eighth badge.”
“That may be, but he’s still got a Gloom with him,” said Nathan. Challenge me again when you get that to evolve into Vileplume or Bellossom.”
“So Amy, you’re registered for this tournament too?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said. “I’m just a little late because Mei Jia wanted to come along.”
Mei was standing shyly behind Amy. She was eleven years old now and just passed her senior member exam. Despite having no badges yet, she wanted to come see Amy in the Pokémon League tournament.
“Well I have to get ready for my first match,” said Amy. “Since you’re not competing this time around, you can watch Mei Jia, okay?”
Mei smiled cheerfully and grabbed my arm as tightly as possible. I cringed, knowing I couldn’t get away. Amy and Nathan had already left us, arguing over whatever it was they would argue about. Those two have been going at it since before we became trainers, but I know they’re good friends.
“Come on, Shu-chan, let’s go inside and watch!” said Mei.
She dragged me while running happily into the gates of the stadium.
Fortunately, Amy and Nathan were placed in the same qualifying bout, so Mei and I could watch their matches happen at the same time. As I paid attention to Nathan’s matches, Mei would pay attention to Amy’s.
“Isn’t this exciting?” said Mei. “I hope you will battle on this field next time. Then I can cheer for both you and Amy!”
“Sure, Mei,” I said. “By the way, you got your first pokémon too, right? What is it?”
Mei was lost in thought, but then remembered she had a pokéball attached to her bag. She released it and a Dratini appeared. I was surprised because Dratini was not a grass pokémon, and quite a difficult one to raise as well.
“Isn’t she wonderful?” said Mei, as she hugged her Dratini.
I was a little jealous, but I was genuinely glad for Mei as I patted her on the head.
“You’ve got a great partner there, Mei. I’m sure you’ll get to battle in this stadium too, someday.”
“Of course, I will,” said Mei. “But you better watch out, Shu-chan. You don’t want to be left behind by me and all the girls!”
“Of course not! Just you wait, I’ll be here next time!”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The third round of Nathan’s and Amy’s bout just finished. Both of them had lost their matches against the other trainer. Mei and I went to meet with them after their match was over.
“I still can’t believe I lost,” said Nathan. “Well at least you did too, so we’re even, girl.”
“I keep telling you, my name is Amy! And my opponent was ruthlessly strong.”
“I guess I don’t blame you then. If I would’ve won, I would have had to face your opponent. He’s incredible.”
“Come to think of it, who is he?” I asked, butting into their conversation.
“Of course you don’t know who he is,” said Nathan casually. “Her opponent was Jared, a senior member at my gym. He’s twenty-one years old now and has already won the Pokémon League championship in Kanto twice! I mean, did you see how well he commands his Machoke? I wouldn’t stand a chance against him.”
“So if he’s such a great person to have won the championship twice, why doesn’t he serve in the Pokémon League Trainers Association?” asked Amy.
“I’m not sure, but according to Jared, the league officials don’t like him very much and have refused to acknowledge him as a pokémon master. But if he wins this tournament, they will have to acknowledge him this time.”
“What makes you think they will?” I asked.
“Well, he has won the championship twice already. When he wins this third time around, he would be as strong as the Elite Four, the four strongest trainers and executive members of the Indigo Pokémon League! They won’t have any other choice but to make him a member, maybe even a gym leader!”
“I guess having him become a member of the Pokémon League Trainers Association would keep him from entering the general tournament, right?” I said. “I guess they like to share the wealth with the best trainers.”
“Well they haven’t shared the wealth with Jared,” said Nathan, “and believe me, he will fight his way into getting a position in their ranks.”
Amy, Nathan, Mei, and I continued to watch the final rounds of the Pokémon League tournament. The trainer, Jared, charged his way through the ranks with incredibly destructive power. And when it was all over, he had come out on top for that title.
We cheered as Jared received the title of Pokémon League Champion for the third time. But unfortunately, it would be his last.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Just a few days after the tournament, Jared appealed to the Elite Four executives of the Indigo Pokémon League, wondering why he hadn’t been recognized as a member of the League Association, and therefore be a Pokémon Master. The Elite Four rejected his appeal for the third time with the same answer: that while he was indeed a strong trainer, he did not have any respect for his pokémon. In a private battle, Jared took on all four of the executives in a one-on-four battle. Despite using all six of his pokémon, Jared lost to only four of theirs without a struggle; or so the rumors had said.
Furious as ever, Jared went back to his gym in Saffron City to “spar” with Machoke, his prized pokémon. Rumors, however, said that he was actually punishing the pokémon. Whatever the case may be, Jared was found dead the next morning and his Machoke was missing. His lungs were crushed and his blood had stained the floor where it had happened. No one else seemed to have been around at the time either.
Saffron City police went to hunt down the pokémon in order to capture it. The Machoke, however, refused to comply and injured several officers. Needless to say, the Machoke had to be killed on the spot.
When I had heard the news, I went to see Nathan right away. I knew that he admired Jared a lot so I wanted to comfort him. I found him standing at the doors of the crime scene: the Saffron City Fighting Dojo. No one was allowed to go inside that day except the police. He had tears in his eyes, but refused to cry.
“I’m sorry, Nathan,” I said at a loss for words. “I knew he was a friend of yours.”
“You shut up, Shuichi!” he turned and tried to jab me in the face. “You don’t know anything about Jared or me!”
I flinched, confused at Nathan’s words. Nathan continued to stay as tough as ever.
“Jared was more than a friend,” he said. “He was like a brother. I learned his way of fighting and training pokémon. Someone like you would never understand!”
He tried to punch me a third time when he finally gave in and collapsed onto his knees. Nathan was more vulnerable than he ever was then. I did not know it then, but that was when his life changed for the worse. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and rubbed his back to comfort him.
“He was my mentor!”