Pokemon Art/Writing Contest – First Battle
Finally finished my entry for the Pokemon Art/Writing contest on Smogon (https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/ps-art-writing-contest-first-battle.3510890/.) As I found out about this later on I unfortunately didn’t have as much time as I would have liked for this, but I decided to go for it anyway because it seemed like such a fun theme; The theme is ‘first battle.’ I decided to focus on the ‘first battle’ as being the start of a new rivalry and the toll competition can take on a friendship. I also wanted to show how a trainer can grow from their first battle and improve through that rivalry. I figured it’d be good practice to try a written piece as well, although I created it after the art and I’m not sure if it accurately reflects the story any more.
The arena floor shuddered as Dragonite fell; struck hard in the chest by a dragon pulse from my Hydreigon. In a flash my opponent calls back his final Pokemon and collapses to his knees in dismay. The realization then struck me, causing my muscles to twitch as the adrenaline releases from my body to be replaced by utter joy. My heart is still pounding. I start to raise my hands victoriously only to catch sight of a reflection in my opponent’s eyes. Within them I see our past – The first battle to mark the beginnings of our growing rivalry.
We’d grown up together in an obscure old town hidden away in the woods. While many people are unaware of the towns existence, some great Pokemon trainers have been born here. We just love to battle and are very competitive – prepared with knowledge taught from a very young age. Alex and I had finally been granted permission to own our own Pokemon. We’d talked on many occasions about this day.
I remember feeling so humbled as I held the shiny red and white capsule in my hands. How amazing it was to know my first Pokemon – a Deino – was curled up inside. I was so excited to begin our journey together where we would forge an everlasting friendship. Beside me Alex was equally enamoured as he moved the ball between his hands – a wide grin on his face.
‘Fancy having our first battle,’ he gave me a cheeky nudge with his elbow. My heart skipped a beat. Even though I had visualized this moment many times, I suddenly felt nervous.
‘It’ll just be a casual thing,’ he seemed to sense my reservation, ‘and we need the practice if we’re ever going to become the best Pokemon trainers our town has to offer.’ His words comforted me a little, but I had a growing concern for Deino’s welfare as well as that of our own friendship. Casual or not, there could only ever be one winner and losing never felt good.
‘Ok,’ I nodded coyly. Alex’s eyes lit up enthusiastically.
As we stood facing each other I was disconcerted to find a curious crowd gathering around us. They were cheering and clapping for no one in particular. Alex was smiling warmly in my direction. I felt reluctant to let go of my newly acquired Pokeball as if It were a delicate and precious jewel.
‘Go Deino,’ my voice wobbled as I limply threw the ball. I held my breath as it flew to the ground and hit the cobbles with a crack. The two halves suddenly split and a light erupted from within, causing my eyes to squint. For a moment everything seemed to be unfocussed but as my vision once again adjusted to the dim forest I noticed the form of my Deino now stood where the ball had landed. I couldn’t help but smile on seeing the beautiful Pokemon.
‘Go Dratini,’ Alex boomed confidently as he revealed his own Pokemon. The crowd was groaning and stamping their feet in anticipation. From the books I’d read I knew this battle could go either way.
‘Go… erm… Tackle,’ I called out to my Deino, a little unsure of the Pokemon’s abilities. He charged towards the Dratini with his mouth gaping open, but his target was agile. It slithered and writhed around Deino’s clamping jaws.
‘Wrap,’ Alex instructed. The Dratini wound its long serpentine body around my Deino, trapping him in place. It leered into Deino’s face, while he continued to gnash his jaws to no avail. Not a great start, I scolded myself. Alex appeared to stifle a laugh as he noticed how distraught I was at this first encounter. He ordered his Dratini to let go so that we could recompose and try again.
We had a few more rounds of calling out orders to our Pokemon to see what they could do. Alex seemed to be more of a natural at this than I was. He was a showman too, revelling in the awe of the crowd. As the battle progressed he seemed to become ever more elaborate with the way he instructed his Pokemon, much to the delight of the onlookers. I didn’t seem to garner the same level of applause for my own meagre attempts.
During our final round Dratini had managed to engulf itself with yellow sparks; a loud crackling echoed through the forest. I jumped as the Pokemon veered towards my Deino and I.
‘Dodge it,’ I had little time to think and called out the first command that came to mind, as obvious as it was. The Deino clumsily sidestepped and somehow managed to avoid the Dratini as it flew past. Now he was facing the serpents back. For the first time I finally felt hopeful of our chances. Deino darted forward in an attempt to catch the Dratini off guard. No such luck. The Dratini was able to twist back on itself with ease, catching Deino in the chest with a burst of electricity. His body quivered as he fell to the ground.
‘No. Get up Deino,’ My hands hurt from inadvertently digging my nails into my palms. Dratini obediently slithered back to Alex’s side. Everyone was now staring intently at the Deino waiting for him to move. A faint fizzle could still be heard emanating from his body. Using my mind I tried to urge as much positive energy as I could in his direction but nothing happened. Silly idea anyway.
‘I’ve had enough,’ I tried to choke back tears as I fumbled around for my misplaced Pokeball. I knew it didn’t matter but the concession of losses had left a bitter taste in my mouth. I thought Alex and I would be on more of an even footing than this but instead It felt like I’d run head first into a brick wall. Across from me Alex appeared to be enjoying his victory. Throughout the crowd, people were whispering about how our town may have found its next champion.
My Pokeball had somehow rolled into a grassy verge on the side of the cobbles. As I made my way over to re-collect it I noticed Alex pointing towards my Deino while carrying a smirk. What was he planning now?
‘Ice beam,’ He boomed. A shudder erupted through my body. I was astounded, how could his Dratini already know such a move? There was no way my Deino was going to be able to take that. I looked at my vulnerable Pokemon and instinctively felt the need to protect him. As the Dratini arched its head and summoned forth a cold beam of ice I leapt forward to intercept its path. I had one hand on Deino’s body and the other held high as a shield. My body swayed back a little as I took the freezing impact; gritting my teeth.
I was panting heavily when the bombardment finally ceased. My body was stiff from the shock. My arm felt numb; somehow I managed to move it down, causing my shoulder to creak a little. Alex was walking towards me with worry lines creasing his face.
‘Are you ok? I never expected you to…’ He started.
‘I thought you said this was going to be a casual battle,’ I snapped, causing him to pause on the spot.
‘I’m sorry. I was just so excited to show that off.’
‘You got carried away like you always do. Just you wait until next time.’ I had unleashed a threat. I turned back to my Deino to pat him on the side and made a silent vow to myself that we would train to become stronger. I wanted to be the best trainer from our town. Our rivalry had begun.
Since that first battle my Pokemon and I had forged a close bond over the many trials that followed. With our greater experience we had finally managed to gain victory over Alex. He was now solemnly gazing at the Pokeball where his Dragonite resided with the same hurt that I’d felt for Deino way back then. It suddenly dawns on me that in some ways I am thankful to him, for our bout had given me the much needed determination to improve. We are both worthy champions that any town should be proud of. If I’ve learnt anything from spending time with my Pokemon it is that while losses and victories come and go, friendship can be eternal.
‘I’m sorry,’ I hold out my hand to him while offering a gentle smile.
‘I’m sorry too.’