1: Rhea (Our Blonde, Awkward Bombshell MC!)
I loosely follow this map as a visual guide; the creator made it in paint?!?! It’s insane! Some errors here and there, but I follow its design for the most part. Areas can be further apart, some cities are in the wrong places or not listed, and the regions aren’t nearly so close. The best map I’ve found, though!
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9:21 p.m. July 11th, Saturday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event)
Events: The Joint Kanto and Johto Indigo Summer League have concluded. Saria Surge has become the new Vermilion Gym Leader, converting it to a Fairy Gym. Our girl started her journey on the 9th of June—she’s been a Trainer for 32 Days (31 officially; 32 since getting Maya and Nova).
Just as the previous night, Ash bumped up their training time, having them release all their Pokemon before bed for eight minutes. It was killer, but they were making gains each night, and she was happy to see Amira not wishing for the sweet release of death after.
Rhea pressed herself further by having Nova transform into her Glaceon form; she really wanted to make her Eevee’s dream come true of being able to stay in the form as long as she desired.
Although she was half-convinced that Nova just wanted to appear older to Mya and Alice. Her Eevee had this ‘big sister’ vibe she was trying to maintain as the one who took care of her two constantly warring teammates.
Rylee was a topic of discussion between them while lying in the dark, and her team couldn’t believe she’d been so aggressive at first, but Rhea assured them that they’d smoothed everything over.
Rhea wanted to see Rylee off before they continued on to Saffron City, and Amira wanted her shot at swinging around the sword. The redhead seemed to be interested in all forms of self-defense and martial arts.
The night embraced them only for heavy machinery to wake them up near 5 a.m., and, unable to get more rest due to the bustling of people shouting about some kind of problem with one of the vehicles, they got ready early.
Luckily, the cafe was open 24/7 around key parts of the year, and they were able to get a morning brew in the surprisingly busy public rest stop. They passed the time by browsing news topics and passively moving between conversations.
Paldea was still a topic of discussion on gossip, but Rhea wasn’t all that interested in rumors at the moment; she wanted to hear more about Saria Surge’s opening day, and news articles were beginning to come out with complaints on various social platforms.
Not one person managed to beat Vermilion’s new Fairy Gym Leader, which was a bit surprising, considering she was brand new to the position. Some articles said she wasn’t experienced enough to adjust her fighting style to the competition, while other commentators countered with the Giovanni and Sabrina win-loss ratio as an example of tough Leaders.
The League performed its in-house trials earlier this week, and the blonde Gym Leader passed with flying colors in all Tier categories, which meant if there were complaints, the comments were met with new fans of the Gym posting a picture of the certificate and a crying Jinx emoji.
Every Gym Leader focused on particular qualities, and it was up to the challenger to understand what that was when preparing to take on the Gym; it was a test before the Trainer first set foot in the building, and Saria had many interviews and online videos of her past battles to pull from.
The challenge only hyped Rhea up more for the competition, and Alice couldn’t wait to get in on the action. On the other hand, when she’d shown Lori the articles, the Unovan girl’s eyes locked on a completely different issue when spotting one name—Sabrina.
The conversation swiftly swapped to what they could do to help her struggling Impidimp—who was sleeping at the moment—and they rallied around their coffee, sipping at it while spitballing ideas.
Amira pointed out that Sabrina has to provide a win condition, yet the trouble most people had with Sabrina, just like her grandfather, was the Psychic’s conditions were typically very adaptability oriented, like Giovanni’s, which made Amira an expert.
Rhea could see the redhead tying a bandana around her head, putting on a military outfit—fashionable, of course—and running the violet-eyed girl through battle drills, which made her giggle inside, but Lori’s eyes were utterly focused as she listened.
As for her, she looked up various battle strategy guides on PikaTube, picking the brains of those who had obtained the Soul Badge. Their biggest uncertainty was the possibility of challenging her at Bronze or especially Silver, and how Miky could be prepared for that daunting task.
Giovanni’s angle was adaptability, and, like a chess game, there were only so many moves one could make; there were only so many Ground Pokemon, and that first action set the pace of the whole battle. It was a test of wits and how the challenger could adapt.
Sabrina’s style was similar but played heavily to the Psychic Type’s strengths of foresight, requiring the challenger’s Pokemon to come up with a strategy to counter someone that could tell what you were going to do next.
On the plus side, Impidimp had a major Type advantage that Sabrina would take into consideration, yet it also vastly narrowed down her potential choices; Rhea began to see Amira’s mind was attuned to her grandfather’s, picking apart every move their opponents might make. It inspired Rhea to want to do more research on Saria.
Around 8 a.m., Ash made it to their table—he could sleep through an avalanche, as far as Rhea could tell from Pikachu’s explanation to their Pokemon—and they put their backpacks on when he got his morning burrito and coffee to eat on the go.
Mallory voiced her concerns and some of the strategies they’d come up with against Sabrina, asking for the Legend’s opinion.
Passively munching on his breakfast as they made their way to Melanie’s house, he thought about it for a minute.
Ultimately, he said that if she wanted the Impidimp to be ready for the very edge of Silver-tier—which would include his Type advantage—he’d need to be out most of the time, which meant it was time to draw back a ‘tiny bit’ on Move use through the day and bring out two of their Pokemon again.
Their Pokemon were thrilled at the prospect of having more chances to play, but Rhea noticed the apprehension on Amira’s face. Questioning her, the Rocket girl admitted that her sore body wasn’t fully recovering overnight.
Ash laughed, welcoming her to the life of the average person. Growing pains, if done in gradual increments, were perfect; it showed Amira was pushing outside of her typical threshold, which would help her catch up to Rhea and Lori’s natural faculties.
Amira seemed to feel better about it, pointing out that Pikachu had been guiding each of their Pokemon through different activities, likely drawing on specific Allocations.
The conversation died down as they followed Ash around the back of Melanie’s house, and, this time, Rylee didn’t blush or try to hide her practice swings when they came into view.
Naturally, the baby Pokemon were thrilled to see Alice, Mya, Nova, and Pikachu again; they got their wish for doing a quick tag-war game as the Trainers practiced with Rylee’s wooden sword, including Ash.
Their visit was far more enjoyable this time, and, to Rylee and her teammate’s surprise, Rhea challenged her to a battle the next time they saw each other—in Cami and Jay’s team or not. She accepted the challenge, and, after shaking hands, they backtracked to Route 5 to continue their journey south to their next destination, Saffron City.
Their day was relatively pleasant in the downward slant to the smooth, winding terrain; Rhea wondered if this was what it looked like in Goldenrod City-State—Greenfield—where Lyra grew up and Johto’s agricultural hotspot.
Ash’s ears practically stood up like a Buneary when she mentioned the area, launching them into another unbelievable tale, yet Amira showed her pictures of what the Legend described—it was all over Johto news at the time—and Rhea couldn’t believe she’d never heard about the event.
Her eyes widened in wonder upon seeing the pink and violet-hued crystal palace that overtook Lyra’s home City-State before moving to New Bark with her parents; it was beautiful and dwarfed the hills surrounding it. She couldn’t get over that Ash actually climbed it with his Bulbasaur and fought, as he described it, an Unown-created Entei.
Lori and Amira had blank looks at the Symbol Pokemon, and to Rhea’s thorough enjoyment, it was her turn to shine as the day went on; she became the teacher, recounting everything her mother had taught her.
Nearly every ruin—no matter what Legendary or Mythical were worshiped—had Unown surrounding it. Her mother got into a crazy fixation with the Pokemon after meeting someone Ash knew from this very event, Spencer Hale, the world expert on the subject.
Rhea entailed them with Unown theories, including the thought that they were actually the engineers of the universe from within their unique dimension outside of space-time, while Arceus was the architect.
They were social creatures to the extreme, communicating in electromagnetic waves of harmony. The fact Unown had the power to create fully sentient creatures when unifying in specific ways drew many comparisons to the dance they performed while in this reality-warping state. A popular term related to the Pokemon came from a field research paper her mother had titled, ‘The Dance Of Creation.’
The discussions lasted throughout the day, and Ash prompted her to renew her Aura training, which was hard when trying to also join in the conversations.
Eventually, they saw the machines beginning to catch up to them around noon, showing massive trucks that relieved the collectors of their haul.
Miky and the rest of their Pokemon began their traveling training regiment, Pikachu taking him through mock battles throughout the day. The Wily Pokemon was learning how to use his Prankster Ability to its fullest to counter other Status Moves.
Pikachu had a wealth of experience that all of their Pokemon learned from, and he slowly started building up his confidence again.
Finding a good place to rest as night fell, they set up their tents—Nova and Alice wanted to do the activity. They settled in and chatted through the night, going over what Miky needed to accomplish before they reached Saffron.
If Lori wanted Miky to have a chance against a ‘very low’ Silver-tier Psychic Pokemon, he had to learn two new Moves by the time they reached their destination, which meant he had his work cut out for him.
Ash spit out his water when learning Miky hadn’t even been taught Protect yet, but Lori grinned and said she had a plan for that, even if she was low on funds.
Rhea gave Amira a look that she returned; they knew her go-to method for earning cash—gambling—and Saffron’s legal age was seventeen.
Just before bed, Amira offered another event they could do before signing up at the Gym that sounded fun, and Ash was all for it; they were going to visit the famous, unofficial Fighting Dojo.
According to the redhead, its master—Koichi—had a rather turbulent history with the intimidating and infamous Psychic Gym Leader. Ash commented that Red had a rather colored backstory with the place.
The place had somewhat of a reputation for allowing those that beat it at Silver-tier to obtain a baby Hitmonchan or Hitmonlee; they had the largest gathering of the two Pokemon in the world.
It was a cool gimmick and something that seemed to keep them in business, but it wasn’t like any of them were really that interested in the fighting Pokemon, and Rhea already had Alice.
Still, it would be nice to have a battle with them as they waited for Sabrina’s challenge day—Monday—to arrive. They wouldn’t make it close to the city by tomorrow, so next week would be the soonest they could schedule it, which made Ash confident Miky had plenty of time to boost himself up.
They were in no rush, and Rhea caught a message from their Wooloo friends that they’d be setting off to the farmsteads tomorrow to meet with Rylee. However, unlike them, they’d be cutting to the west to ride the Rock Tunnel Express underneath Power Bay to reach Lavender City; it had recently rid itself of its ‘town’ status due to its increased population, which only seemed to increase the haunted stories and perpetual misty nights.
It seemed to work out since they’d be passing through the area to reach the town near Maiden’s Peak on Ash’s request to see what became of its ghost. Hannah was not okay with anything involving ghosts, but Sam and Jade seemed to bully her into accepting the adventure.
Rhea was excited to meet up with her friends again and potentially get some payback for their last defeat; plus, walking around the spooky city and visiting some of the attractions would be fun—Lori was not totally on the train with that plan yet—she may have a dislike for Ghost Types, but she respected the Muk out of them.
The next day was filled with more training, as was the following. On the 14th, Rhea laughed as their friends’ took pictures through Blue Forest. They’d somehow landed themselves in the middle of a war between Caterpie and Spinarak, and not the nice kind as the packs of spiders tried to overtake the caterpillars.
It was nature, and, fortunately, they were more or less in the way, which came with a local Ranger having to rescue them; the Pokemon wouldn’t hurt humans but, probably from experience, had locked the girls down so they couldn’t help the opposite side.
Rhea almost spit out her water, seeing her strung-up friends and their Pokemon in the trees, hair draped down as they swung back and forth; Hannah was cut down first, which prompted a string of photos of her red-faced friends as the Ranger helped them down.
To conclude the story, Jade posted a picture of the Caterpie roaring their victory in repelling the Spinarak aggressors; everything was covered in silk, including the girls. Their Pokemon got good experience, defending until the last one was tied up with their Trainers.
The trouble could have been worse, but Pokemon generally knew not to harm humans if they lived near well-traveled Routes. If humans stayed out of their business, they’d let them go by. It did make for a funny story, though.
Rhea jumped on the group chat they’d formed to complain as they neared camp for the night; the light hurt her eyes a bit since she’d been practicing Aura all day with them closed.
7:23 p.m. – Sam: Of course, it had to be us that hit the random insect war! We lost, like, most the day because of their beef.
7:24 p.m. – Jade: You have to admit it was pretty thrilling!
7:24 p.m. – Jay: Hah! Maybe when we realized they weren’t going to melt us inside our cocoons. You were lucky and got captured by the Caterpie, Jade.
7:25 p.m. – Hannah: Yeah, they even brought us berries for snacks.
7:25 p.m. – Rhea: They cut you guys down and fed you?
7:25 p.m. – Jade: We had to let them tie us back up after, but yeah, they were nice. I was super worried about Cami, though, but Big Boss Butterfree kept us up to date on how things were going and told Mimi they weren’t hurting Sam, Jay, and my sister.
7:26 p.m. – Cami: It was wild! I’ve seen documentaries where Pokemon suddenly go to war to gain more food, but nothing like this. The Ranger said they’d look into it since it was kind of out of the blue… =)
7:27 p.m. – Jade: Sis! You didn’t!
7:27 p.m. – Hannah: ROFL! Out of the blue. Blue Forest. Nice.
7:28 p.m. – Jay: So, on other news, we’re talking to Rylee, and she seems cool. Cami’s stoked to have someone else that’s into that Samurai show.
7:28 p.m. – Cami: It’s the best! Jade has terrible taste in movies… Ghost Mysteries.
7:29 p.m. – Jade: What’s wrong with the Ghost Mystery sub-genre?! Your action romance is so cringe!
7:29 p.m. – Cami: Like your shrine to Weedle?
7:29: p.m. – Sam: Jade’s what?
7:30 p.m. – Jade: Not cool, Cam! I like how it jumps around and dances… You’ve seen their wiggle wars with me!
7:31 p.m. – Hannah: Mmh. Wiggle wars? Do explain. What kind of wiggling?
7:31 p.m. – Jade: Muk off with your perverted brain!
7:32 p.m. – Jay: Okay, how is that perverted? Explain.
7:32 p.m. – Sam: Yeah, explain, Jade! Wiggle wiggle? What do they do with their little hands that you like?
7:32 p.m. – Jade: Do you see what you did, Cami!
7:33 p.m. – Cami: Isn’t it hilarious! C’mon, lil’ sis, no need to be shy with your friends. Haha.
7:34 p.m. – Jade: Oh? Better than a Bellsprout ‘shrine,’ big sis! I saw those dolls of Tentacool, too, Hannah, so don’t go there with me!
7:34 p.m. – Hannah: You know nothing!
7:34 p.m. – Cami: I do have a fondness for Bellsprout. At least I can admit it 😉
7:35 p.m. – Jay: Can we get back to… Wait. Are all these supposed to be somehow perverted innuendos of some kind? I’m lost.
A stitch broke into Rhea’s side as she laughed, drawing confused smiles from her teammates. It was nice to see more interactions from her friends, and the funniest part was them chatting like this on their private social media pages rather than in person.
Settling into her inflatable bed and tent with Mya resting beside her and Nova taking the first watch, Rhea went to bed; tomorrow morning, they’d reach Saffron City-State with their swift pace. Her Wooloo friends weren’t anywhere near as fast as them, which meant they’d reach the farmsteads in a few more days.
They rose early, cleaning up using the brook that ran alongside the golden wheat; somehow, the machines hadn’t caught up to them after that first day, which meant they were probably doing wide sweeps.
Cutting west as the path veered that direction, they saw the ‘Welcome to Saffron City-State’ sign, marked by many names of people who had graffitied. A person had a ladder, sanding or washing the marks off, which was probably more of a volunteer thing.
The 15th went by like every other day on their path through the fields of gold, spotting Pokemon and training, yet one new prospect sent Butterfrees in her belly upon seeing a team within the top 3,000 Bronze-tier rankings enter their vicinity on the app.
Sadly, they didn’t want to challenge them, and they waved them by on their way up to Meadowview Village; their battle against the Rank 90 team had spread, even if their battle record was far below the group.
She was surprised when Lori spun around and challenged them just before they left earshot—Miky had to gain experience somehow.
Discussing it amongst themselves, the opposing girls chose their blue-haired friend to represent them, and she sent out an Alolan Vulpix named Stacy, making all their hearts melt.
Miky had his work cut out for him, but he caught the first hit with Fake Out, allowing him to close the ranged gap as Stacy fell to her side in a daze. Flatter further caused the Vulpex to stumble around, having a terrible start with the Impidimp in the zone from being on the training grind the last few days.
Rhea clapped after Miky did a different kind of fake out, forming dark energy around his teeth only to release it as Stacy used Disable; Lori had Pokedex open, feeding advice through their bond.
Amira lifted an eyebrow at the unusual tactic. “Nice predict, Lori; I might have to mirror that false Move play at some point.”
“It’s smart,” Ash chuckled, catching the girl’s nervous teammates’ notice on his opposite side; they had fangirled a little before the match on the return once noticing who the man was. “Forming a Move and canceling it before it fully takes shape is a great way to bait out a disruptor or Sucker Punch, as an example,” he said with a smile down at Mya.
Amber, Holly, Gables, Mya, and Nova cheered him on, offering their advice as Pikachu reffed.
Stacy locked Miky out of Flatter, but it had already caused its damage as the Vulpix stumbled away from the rapidly advancing Impidimp; it must have been terrifying from her perspective, seeing several images of the Pokemon’s slimy tongue hanging out as he ran toward her from various angles in her befuddled state.
“C’mon, Stacy,” her teammate whispered. “Hang in there…”
Miky’s dark-infused jaws clamped down on the girl’s tails as she flipped around to defend herself; she performed a swift spin, throwing the Impidimp away. Rhea almost laughed when he landed face first, pointy nose sticking into the dirt and stopping him.
The Impidimp danced to the left as Stacy breathed powder his way, and thanks to his training with Alice helping him not to hesitate or delay, he managed to cartwheel out of the way.
Stacy spat icicle shards at Miky, landing one with her Confusion wearing off, but Miky was already on top of her again, latching onto her back and biting her as the Vuplix tried to roll and kick him off. Miky wouldn’t budge, however, having learned this tactic against four-legged opponents when play-fighting Nova, Amber, and Roxie.
Eventually, her energy matrix fell, and Miky stood over the Alolan Vulpix, exhausted, small chest heaving, but a smile was on his face and tears in his eyes. He’d won his first real battle.
Stacy’s Trainer thanked them for the battle, commenting that they learned a valuable weakness they’d have to watch out for with the fake Bite tactic; they’d been aiming to lock Miky out from his only real damage-dealing Move.
Waving the team off, they returned to the road, camping out just across the bridge that separated the golden wheat fields from an orchard of fragrant barriers; tomorrow evening, Rhea would get her first look at Saffron City, and restock their food because Ash had run out of his own and been borrowing theirs—he went through a ton of food each day.
Sleeping with Nova as Alice took tonight’s watch, Rhea found a chance to be alone with Miky and whispered that she’d get him a treat for his first victory; she knew it would tickle the Wily Pokemon to feel like he was doing something secret.
The night went by without a problem, and they packed up around 6:30 a.m.—Lori even got up 20 minutes earlier than normal—excited to see the golden city beyond the winding orchard.
At 5:22 p.m. Thursday, July 16th, Rhea had her first look at the gigantic city edge with its colossal skyscrapers and hundreds of wind turbines and solar panel fields just outside its walls. Amira had a sour look on her face when they went by the fields of bright, reflective sheets.
“Why the look?” Rhea chuckled.
Amira huffed, causing Amber to mirror her; they were likely talking about this very subject through their bond. “Saffron has a deep prejudice against my family, and hate the fact we’re rivaling them in the energy market with nuclear power plants, which are far more efficient and totally safe… no thanks to their fear-mongering.”
Ash had a look on his face that said he didn’t want to get in on this discussion, scooting off to help Pikachu coach Miky’s sprints with Alice.
Rhea hummed, considering Amira’s outlook; she hadn’t thought about how the redhead saw Kanto’s most influential City-State. “I forgot Viridian and Saffron have a huge rivalry.”
“What rivalry?” Amira smirked, leering at the gleaming buildings. “Saffron is dying while Viridian sees colossal growth year-by-year. My grandfather pulls more businesses away from the city by the month, offering them more than Saffron ever did. Silph is the past; Rocket is the future.”
“Mhm…” Rhea wasn’t so passionate about the subject, but it did open her eyes on a few things. “Viridian certainly was beautiful, and… Huh.”
Amira’s focus went to Rhea’s holographic screen as she pulled out her phone, staring at a message from her mother. “Is it about the Pokemon she’s been teasing us about?”
“Buddy bond friends?!” Lori called over, seemingly overhearing their discussion. “Tomorrow?! Tell me she’s going to be here tomorrow! I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us; Pokemon we can’t battle with until we can properly bond—forever snuggles—please be fluffy like Roxie!”
She giggled as the Rockruff ran over for her Trainer to hold against her chest. “What do you think she’ll give us—oh, you totally know, Ash!”
Their focus shifted to the forced smile of the Legend. “Eh-hehe. What do I say, Pikachu?”
“Pika-pi. Pika pi pikachu!”
“You’re right! They’ll be so thrown off that I bet one will faint. Who’s your food on?”
Rhea’s mouth dropped open in disbelief at the sudden bet. “Huh? No way any of us faint.”
Amira’s eyes narrowed as Pikachu looked at her with a big grin. “No way am I going to faint… I nearly did the other day, but that was due to one too many Moves being used before bedtime.”
Ash snickered. “Amira, huh, bud? Mmh. My food’s on Lori, personally!”
“I would totally faint if I got something amazing!” Mallory laughed, showing not an ounce of shame with her rosy smile. “I can’t wait! Tomorrow, Rhea?”
“Two days,” Amira translated. “Let’s make a bet then, Pikachu; if I don’t faint, you must teach my Pokemon something special.”
Ash nodded with a smirk. “And what if he wins?”
“What do you want from me?” Amira asked, curiosity in her tone as she fidgeted with her collar where her glasses would normally be; Rhea was surprised she didn’t have her typical pair between her bust.
“Pika pika… Pikachu! Pika-pi-pika!” the rat said, giving her a thumbs up.
A thoughtful look crossed Ash’s face. “Oh? You want her to enter the martial arts tournament that is going to be held at the dojo? We did see that promotion back in Meadowview, and Amira has mentioned she took quite a few classes.”
Amira’s face blanked. “You want what?”
“Yes!” Rhea squealed, wanting to see the redhead kick tail. “My brother told me about this boxing thing, too. Is it like that?”
“Mixed martial arts, from what I’m seeing,” Lori said, somehow already having it on her phone and browsing the information. “Looks like registration ends Sunday, and it starts Wednesday. Cool. I’ve kind of wanted to see Amira throwdown.”
“Only if I faint,” Amira corrected, lips drawing in. “I’ve sparred with my mom and done a lot of various martial arts, but… never in a competition format; I don’t even know the rules.”
Rhea giggled. “C’mon, you’re so smart; you could memorize it in an hour tops!”
“Eh-heh… thanks for the confidence… A bet is a bet, I suppose. You’re on, Pikachu. I won’t faint!”
Lori gave Rhea a sly smirk, whispering, “She totally is because fate wants to see Amira taking some girls down!”
Amira rolled her eyes and shook her head, making them laugh; they had some wonderful things to look forward to in the Shining Big City of Kanto.
It took them another hour to reach the entrance facility to check in; there was a two-Pokemon limit without a worker’s license within Saffron, which was fine for them, and Ash suggested that they head to his favorite ramen joint in the City-State—Kyle Hamm’s Noodle Shop—a friend-owned business.
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